KANSAS CITY, Mo. (Nov. 16, 2009) — This spring the Kansas City Art Institute will introduce a Chinese language and culture course into its curriculum. The course will provide an introduction to Chinese characters, and students will focus on daily conversational skills, including speaking, listening, reading and writing standard Mandarin Chinese. The course also incorporates relevant topics related to Chinese arts and culture from the past to the present. The course is available only to students enrolled in the college’s Bachelor of Fine Arts degree program.
The decision to launch a course in Chinese was prompted in part by the Art Institute’s emphasis on “preparing students for world citizenship” as one of the college's four strategic priorities. Chinese is the second foreign language course to be offered at the college, which last year introduced courses in Japanese language into the curriculum.
“The college recognizes the importance of creating students who are competent global citizens capable of working effectively across cultural and linguistic boundaries,” said Kathleen Collins, president of KCAI.
Valda Hsu, a native Chinese who was born in Taiwan, will teach the course. Hsu earned her B.F.A. degree in illustration design and fine arts through the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, Calif. She teaches Chinese brush painting for adults at KCAI, the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art and the Confucius Institute at the University of Kansas, where she is also special programs instructor for Chinese language and culture. She teaches brush painting in the adult continuing education program for persons with developmental disabilities through the University of Kansas and Longview Community College, and she also teaches Chinese at St. Paul’s Episcopal Day School. Each year she is invited to do a Chinese brush painting demonstration in the Chinese gallery at the Nelson-Atkins Museum during the museum’s Chinese New Year celebration.
Hsu said her frequent visits to China and Taiwan have inspired her to teach Chinese to visual artists “in order to promote the understanding of its culture and its timeless, authentic art form through the language.”
Founded in 1885, the Kansas City Art Institute is a private, independent four-year college of art and design awarding the Bachelor of Fine Arts degree with majors in animation, art history, ceramics, digital filmmaking, fiber, graphic design, interdisciplinary arts, painting, photography, printmaking, sculpture and studio art with an emphasis on creative writing. KCAI also hosts “Current Perspectives,” a free public lecture series; free exhibitions at the H&R Block Artspace gallery; and evening, weekend and summer classes in art, design, multimedia studies and desktop publishing for children, youth and adults. For more information, visit KCAI on the Web at www.kcai.edu
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