World Art Collections Exhibition
Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts

Chinese New Year marks the start of celebrations of Chinese culture at regional museums during 2008
Sainsbury Centre

Chinese New Year, starting the weekend of 2 and 3 February, marks the beginning of a year celebrating Chinese culture. Museums across the region as well as arts and sports organisations nationwide will be linking their programmes to the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

The East of England Museum Hub which co-ordinates activity for museums across the East of England will be collaborating with the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts on a special events programme in Norwich. They are keen to hear from local Chinese community members and organisations that may be able to help or would like to join in the celebrations.

“We are delighted to be collaborating with the Sainsbury Centre to develop an exciting programme of events linked to Chinese Culture in Norwich. Both the Sainsbury Centre and the Norwich Castle Museum and Art Gallery have works in their collections which have formed the basis for our ideas. We are keen to involve local Chinese communities in helping us with our events and would be very pleased if they would join us in the celebrations”
– Esther Morgan, East of England Museum Hub.

Chinese New Year celebrations at the Sainsbury Centre for children and families have already proved extremely popular – the Sainsbury Centre’s special February half-term workshop to make mobiles using Chinese paper-cut technique has already sold out (spaces are still available on some other half-term workshops and at Easter). It is anticipated the Centre’s First Sunday on 3 February entitled, Chinese Dragons, will also be extremely popular and they are putting in place other creative play for families to do independently in the galleries to prevent disappointment if workshops fill up (booking is not possible – places allocated on a first-come, first-serve basis).

The East of England Museum Hub and the Sainsbury Centre are focusing their plans for the first half of the year on May, which is Museums and Galleries Month. It is a national celebration, organised by The Campaign for Museums, which aims to promote museums and galleries across the UK. Both organisations are planning a special programme of events which include talks, workshops for adults and children, as well other family activities. The theme for 2008 is ‘Ideas and Innovation’ and many museums have linked this to Chinese culture, which has had a huge impact on our way of life.

Look out for lots of free events with a Chinese theme across the region. For instance Norwich Castle Museum and Art Gallery will be offering lots of hands-on activities including china-painting and fan decorating family workshops, talks on the history of porcelain and special behind-the-scenes tours of the conservation lab to see how delicate objects are restored for display.

A major event during Museums and Galleries month is The Night at the Museum (Le Nuit de Musée) when museums across the country will open into the night. In Norwich the Sainsbury Centre will be opening until 10pm on Wednesday 21 May. Entry to the event will be free and will include Chinese performance and dance. There will also be lots of activities for children such as making Chinese lanterns and then exploring the collections to find Chinese objects by lantern light, hearing stories about the objects in the collections, making clothes from Chinese newspapers and Chinese face painting.

“The Sainsbury Centre and the East of England Renaissance Hub are keen to find local Chinese people to help with the Night at the Museum as well as other events. As well as performers and artists, volunteers are needed to help with activities and other opportunities exist such as the chance to have a stall at an event selling traditional Chinese goods”
– Charlotte Peel, Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts.

Chinese Communities interested in being involved or who would like more information about China related activities should contact:

Katherine Leung at the Sainsbury Centre by emailing kat_leung61@hotmail.com or telephoning 01603 591033.