|C.V. Starr East Asian Library|
At a Glance
Scope and Contents
The Center for US-China Arts Exchange records document the activities of the Center's art and music related cultural exchange initiative and projects primarily between the United States and China, dating from 1978 to 2002.
Using the Collection
C. V. Starr East Asian Library
Conditions Governing Access
Collection is in process and is closed until completion, possibly by the end of June 2020. (as of December 2019)
This collection is located off-site. You will need to request this material from the C.V. Starr East Asian Library at least 5 business days in advance to use the collection in the Rare Book and Special Collections reading room.
This collection has no restrictions.
Conditions Governing Use
Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. The C.V. Starr East Asian Library maintains ownership of the physical material only. Copyright remains with the creator and his/her heirs. The responsibility to secure copyright permission rests with the patron.
Identification of specific item; Date (if known); Center for US-China Arts Exchange records; Box and Folder; C. V. Starr East Asian Library, Columbia University Library.
About the Finding Aid / Processing Information
Columbia University Libraries, C. V. Starr East Asian Library
History / Biographical Note
Biographical / Historical
The Center for US-China Arts Exchange (美中艺术交流中心; 美中藝術交流中心) is a not-for-profit organization affiliated with and headquartered at Columbia University in New York City. It was the first organization to focus on the crucial need to connect professional artists and cultural figures from both countries when the United States and China established diplomatic relations on January 1, 1979, following a hiatus of thirty years. The Center was established by composer and Columbia music professor Chou Wen-Chung (Chinese: 周文中; pinyin: Zhou Wenzhong) in the School of the Arts in late 1978, the moment when China re-opened to the west after thirty years of isolation. Initial funding came from the Rockefeller Brothers Fund and the Ford and Luce Foundations. Under the directorship of Chou Wen-Chung, who was Chairman of the Music Division and Schuyler Chapin was the Dean of the School of the Arts, the Center arranged for the filming of Isaac Stern's trip to China in 1979 and the making of the documentary "From Mao to Mozart". The Center also sponsored Arthur Miller's trip to Beijing to direct the first Chinese-language production of "Death of a Salesman" with the People's Arts Theater. Working in both directions, the Center arranged for the eminent playwright Cao Yu to make a lecture tour of the U.S. in 1980 where his visit also inspired two English-language productions of his plays performed by professional groups in his honor. Other participating cultural figures included Susan Sontag, Pavarotti, Alwin Nikolais, sculptor George Segal, designer Ming Cho Lee and the late Michael Bennett, director of "Chorus Line." Educational psychologist Howard Gardner (Multiple Intelligences) supervised a three-year program in Arts Education. The program was truly ground-breaking and had an enormous impact on the development of the arts in China during that era. The Center gradually evolved into an organization that geographically extended beyond its original scope and leaned increasingly toward projects that encompassed broader cultural significance. During the 1990's the Center developed a multi-year, multi-faceted project in China's Yunnan Province for the continuation and development of the arts of minority nationalities. A large-scale Leadership Conference on Conservancy and Development was held in 1999 and resulted in the writing of The Yunnan Initiative, a comprehensive policy statement which adopted five principles: Conservation, Inclusion, Education, Tourism and Collaboration. Over the years countless ground-breaking projects were launched in all the fields of the arts, the impact of which continues until the present day.