NYAA/Shanghai Univ./CAFA 2012 China Residency: Shanghai in Rear View

On May 31 Four Academy students arrived in China to start an 11-week Artist in Residence Program in Shanghai and later Beijing.  Cory Dixon (MFA 2013), Megan Ewert (MFA 2013), Kristy Gordon (MFA 2013), and Nicolas Sanchez (MFA 2013) will share their experiences here throughout the summer.

July 23, 2012 - By Nic Sanchez (MFA 2013)

Arriving in Shanghai, we hit the ground running and kept the momentum going. With cultural excursions, creating a new body of work, and preparing for an exhibition, our residency has been going at an exhilarating pace. We have experienced a lot and have been very productive. Now, with Shanghai and a little over half the residency behind us, we wanted to wrap up our first leg of the residency and fill everyone in on some of what our time in Shanghai was all about…

Nic & Kristy
Expected to learn a great deal about the foreign culture we are visiting, we also learned a little more about each other and ourselves.  A great part of the residency has been creating bonds. With our trusted translator, Academy alumni, and friend Wang Yi, we were ready to get our hands dirty. 
Professor of sculpture and drawing at the Academy, Harvey Citron joined us here a week into the program and quickly meshed with the group. Much like Gandalf leading the fellowship of hobbits, he spent a great deal of his time with us in and outside of the studio.

More team bonding and resourcefulness occurred during complete power outages at the school, late night studio sessions, early morning bike rides, and trying new foods without a translator!


When we weren't in the studio working, we were out in a tour bus visiting outlying towns and in the surrounding countryside. Traditional farming villages, the awesome Yellow Mountain, Venice-like ancient water towns, the great West Lake, and Buddhist temples were just some of our destinations filled with beauty and history. When given the opportunity to stop and stare in wonder, we attempted to capture what we could in our sketchbooks.

Another enriching part of the residency has been getting to know the people of Shanghai and the students of our host school, Shanghai University. We kept an open studio policy and met interesting new people and made new friends. 

As very obvious foreigners walking the scenic campus, we seemed to be people of interest and very often the studio was filled with Chinese students from different backgrounds of studies and occasional professors coming in to ask us questions about our work, our school, and Facebook and QQ information. Of course we fired right back with questions of our own creating multiple lanes of cultural exchange.
Nic working in his studio
Establishing and working in our studio space, traveling to unbelievable sights, making new friends, and carving what we could of our presence in Shanghai was a remarkable experience. 

Megan working in her studio

There is a lot to be digested and will surely come out somewhere through a brush or stick of charcoal as we continue to move forward. Leaving Shanghai was sad, but we definitely left on a high note as we reached the first of our many goals - our exhibition at the 99 Art Center in the renowned M50 district! 
Watch for our next post about the exhibition…

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