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In with a bang

Published Sep. 26, 2005

(ran PW, PS editions)

For the Chinese new year, the Pasco Art Center will host a festive display.

The special events surrounding the Pasco Art Center's exhibit of works by Chinese artist Er Min Yang culminate on Sunday with a celebration of the Chinese new year, the biggest and most significant holiday of the Chinese year.

The events from 1 to 4 p.m. include a traditional Lion Dance by martial arts students of Bruce Cohen's Wah Lum Kung Fu of Pasco, demonstrations of kung fu and tai chi, a show of Chinese fashions, and Chinese music, food and other entertainment.

"These are big, colorful lions, and we'll have a few firecrackers and some cymbals, too," said Marj Golub, executive director of the center at 5744 Moog Road in Holiday. "To the best of my knowledge, we have the only Chinese new year celebration anywhere close by."

Each event is about 15 minutes long and will be held in various areas in and around the art center. Er Min Yang's watercolors will remain on exhibit until Feb. 26.

The Chinese new year actually starts Feb. 5; celebrations in areas with large Chinese populations last two or more weeks. The holiday is described as similar in spirit to Christmas, with the exchange of presents and big family dinners.

"We're going to have some wonderful Chinese food," said Ms. Golub. "Individuals from the Chinese community are home-making Chinese food." That includes egg rolls, desserts and finger foods, "things you don't get in restaurants, things people make in their homes."

China native Wei Wei Ritzhaupt will narrate the fashion show.

"There will be about a dozen outfits, ranging from items that would be worn by the upper classes to dresses similar to kimonos," Ms. Golub said. "These are vibrantly colored fabrics, and a lot are hand-embroidered, totally handmade, with nothing done on a machine."

The show will include "little snippets of history and what a real Chinese new year would be like," she said.

The show's models will stay in costume and mingle with the center guests throughout the afternoon.

Among the smaller Chinese touches will be examples of the traditional red Lai-See envelopes with small amounts of money in them. Ms. Ritzhaupt is also loaning the art center some of her private art collection.

"These are some of the two-dimensional works," Ms. Golub said. "People can compare these pieces with those by Er Min Yang, who is more avant-garde in Chinese art circles."

Er Min Yang's work is described as "Chinese Neo-Realism," and it fuses the French Impressionist art principles with the highly stylized discipline of centuries-old Chinese art forms.