Pomona College Museum of Art Receives Grant

The Pomona College Museum of Art has been awarded a grant worth $10,000 from the National Endowment of the Arts (NEA) for its spring 2011 exhibition “China: Insights.” The grant is intended to help provide educational supplements to the exhibition, which will study China’s cultural and economic shift from agrarianism to industry.

“China: Insights” will run from Jan. 22 through Apr. 17, 2011. The exhibit will display the work of artists including Chen Yuan Zhong, Hua Er, Jia Yu Chuan, Li Nan, Yang Yan Kang, Yu Haibo, and Zhang Xinmin.

In a memo issued to The Student Life, the exhibit was described as documentary-themed, entirely photographic, and explorative of themes that include but are not limited to “rural Catholicism, matrilineal culture in an agrarian setting, the population shift from country to city, prostitution, gender, and identity, [and] typologies of urban citizenry.”

The upcoming exhibit is a departure from the exhibits currently on display, which feature heavily abstract collections from Los Angeles artist Ginny Bishton and former Claremont Graduate University professor of art Steve Roden.

Jessica Wimbley, Program Coordinator for the museum, said that the primary function of the exhibit is “to foster intercultural dialogue and broaden perspectives about the contemporary Chinese experience both inside and outside of China.”

The NEA’s grant will fund all education events that complement and reinforce the messages of the collection. The aim of the artwork and educational programming is to facilitate a better understanding of Chinese culture that is not geographically restricted.

The art will be supplemented by various informational events, including “lectures, panel discussions, and film screenings of documentary films from China.” In tandem with these events, there will be an interactive component that Wimbley described as a “cultural activity excursion.” Students will get to collaborate with one of the curators and a visiting photographer on an exploration of major places of Chinese cultural heritage in Los Angeles, including Chinatown and surrounding suburbs. Completed documentary films and photographs will be exhibited here at the 5Cs.

With the backing from the NEA grant, the museum intends to capitalize fully on the chance to gain cultural understanding through images.

“Having students able to contribute, respond, and interact with the exhibitions through programming is an important element in the programming design … we look forward to connecting with student groups, providing a space in which students are encouraged to think, make, and problem-solve creatively,” Wimbley said.

The objective of the exhibition is for students to be able to think proactively about China’s cultural transition as well as its effects on the rest of the world, Wimbley said.

The exhibit is curated by Gu Zheng, a professor in the Department of Visual Culture at Fudan University in Shanghai, and A.D. Goldman. In addition to working with the Pacific Basin Institute, the museum will be collaborating with the Oldenborg International Center at Pomona, the Asian American Resource Center and the Department of Asian Studies as well as various faculty from across the 5Cs.

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