Five Colleges Receives $50,000 Grant to Celebrate Taiwanese Arts in Partnership with FAC’s Asian Arts and Culture Program

Sheng Dong (Hong Lo photo)

The Taiwan Ministry of Culture has awarded Five Colleges, Incorporated a $50,000 grant to celebrate traditional Taiwanese culture in a project that will bring three performance troupes to the area. Coordinated by the Fine Arts Center Asian Arts and Culture Program, over the next 18 months a world music ensemble, a puppet theater group and a dance company will visit college campuses and elementary school classrooms, with each visit culminating in a public performance at the FAC.

The project is funded, in part, by Spotlight Taiwan, a multimillion-dollar initiative toshare Taiwanese culture through lectures, workshops, performances and exhibitions. Central to the project are visits by Taiwanese performers to more than 40 campuses worldwide over the next three years.

“Arts are a vehicle for understanding cultures around the globe,” says Willie L. Hill, director of the FAC. “I am thrilled that our exemplary Asian Arts and Culture Program will highlight arts from Taiwan this season in a variety of artistic offerings for our campus, Five Colleges and western Massachusetts communities. We thank theTaiwan Ministry of Culture for the Spotlight Taiwan award.”

Described by National Geographic as “one of the most original outfits working in the world music arena today,” the group Sheng Dong (A Moving Sound) will bring its fusion of traditional Asian and Western pop sounds to the area this September.

In March, the Tai Yuan Puppet Company will come to the area, showcasing the music, wood-carving, embroidery and performance techniques that make Taiwanese puppetry so unique.

In September 2015, Cloud Gate Dance Theatre will stage its performance “Rice,” celebrating traditional rural life in Taiwan.

“Embracing the rich diversity of arts and culture in Asia, the Asian Arts and Culture Program is delighted to have the opportunity to showcase three outstanding artist groups from Taiwan for our audiences this season,” says director Ranjanaa Devi.

Each group of performers will spend time in area schools and campuses leading master classes and other outreach programs. These events come in addition to celebrations of Taiwanese culture that are regularly scheduled in the region, such as an autumn moon festival in September, “10-10” day on Oct. 10, and dragon boat races in June.

“This is an exciting opportunity to strengthen Five College collaborations for faculty members and students in East Asian studies, music, ethnomusicology, dance and theater through interaction with renowned Taiwanese performing groups,” says Neal Abraham, executive director of Five Colleges. “We’re particularly pleased that this project will also engage members of our neighboring communities, especially K-12 students and their teachers, in their explorations of world cultures.”