Thursday, October 12, 2006


Thursday in Guangzhou was another marvelous and exhausting adventure. We began the day with a breakfast meeting with Daniel K who is an American faculty member at GAFA. He has lived in Guangzhou for almost 20 years and previously worked for the U.S. Consulate in the city. We were unable to meet with current members of the Consulate, but Daniel was gracious enough to meet with us and give us solid advice about the steps we can take to ensure that the 12 GAFA students can get visas from the Chinese government to travel to the USA for the LSC workshop next summer. We have a long checklist of items to provide which should create a mountain of evidence of the value of the trip and to help ensure that the students will in fact return to China.

Next, Wenzhi took us back to the old campus of GAFA where a retired faculty and world renowned Chinese printmaker was having an exhibition and was being honored by the Academy. An unexpected pleasure was getting the opportunity to meet the highest ranking GAFA official (president, I guess) where we had a brief chat and a photo opportunity. She was very enthusiastic about the student exchange program that we are working on and welcomed us warmly to the campus.

Then it was off to Foshan where Wenzhi’s empire is located. Before going to her studio, factory, kiln, and all her other stuff … we had an unbelievable lunch Be Fair Tom Restaurant. Wenzhi introduced us to the man who designed the restaurant, Huang Qiang-Hua. It is an absolutely gorgeous place. Again, his generosity was overwhelming as he went out of his way to welcome us to Foshan. We also enjoyed spending time with “Johnson” who is one of the GAFA students who is hoping to travel to Duluth next summer for the workshop. He is a really terrific guy and a great artist.

After seeing all the stuff that she owns there we decided to rename it to Wenzhitown. OMG! What an amazing lady. The work that she has done there is nothing short of incredible. About a block away from her studio/store is a Ceramics Museum where she created a huge amount of art for both the exterior and the interior. We spent all of the afternoon touring her places and then also went to Foshan’s largest ceramics factory where she introduced us to three more world-renowned artists. On the way back to Guangzhou we had one more incredible meal to finish off the day and our waistlines. This one was Cantonese-style and it was really terrific. Before dropping us off, Wenzhi brought us to her apartment overlooking the Pearl River. Her apartment is basically like an art museum and it also has an incredible view.

Tomorrow we leave Guangzhou and leave behind many new friends. We’ll be in touch though as we have many plans to make and details to iron out for the various exchange opportunities that are now before us. Jim, Rita, and I will catch up tomorrow with AACC delegation in Hong Kong. We have higher education fairs in Hong Kong and Ho Chi Minh City as well as a side trip to Macau before returning home. Wow, I’m tired just thinking about it. Oh well, there’ll be time to sleep when we get home, I mean, when we get old.

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