Co-sponsored by China International Culture Association and Smithson Institution, organized by China Arts & Entertainment Group and Smithson Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage, China—Tradition and the Art of Living, as part of 2014 Smithsonian Folklife Festival, was held in National Mall in Washington, D.C., from June 25th to 29th, and from July 2nd to 6th, 2014. It was carried out again in the Chinese Festival in Toronto, Canada, from July 11th to 13th, 2014.
The Smithsonian Folklife Festival, launched in 1967, is an international exhibition of living cultural heritage presented annually in summer in Washington, D.C. in the United States. Usually composed of programs featuring a nation, a region, a US state or a theme, the Festival has featured more than 25,000 musicians, artists, performers, handicraftsmen, chefs and storytellers from more than 90 nations who present unique traditional cultural knowledge, techniques and art with an average annual audience of more than 100 million.. This year, China was invited to be the guest country of the Festival for the first time, to hold the program China—Tradition and the Art of Living in the National Mall, so as to introduce Chinese traditional folk art to the world. Later, the program will be held in Toronto as part of the Chinese Festival there. It is the first time for China to hold Chinese festivals in the two major cities in North America. It is a folk art exchange activity that has the largest scale and the highest level.
With guidance from experts in fields of intangible cultural heritage, folk life, museums and cultural studies, and preparation for over one year, the program selected eight stage performances and sixteen masterful skills from fifteen provinces and cities in China. Performances were organized following the concept of reunion and balance. Based on the concepts, the program consisted of nine sections, Through the Seasons, Nurtured by the Land, Toward the Sky, Ascending to Moon Pavilion, Kitchen with Five Scents, to present China as a whole to people around the world.
By presenting Chinese folk art, the exhibition shows Chinese people's pursuit of peace and brightness to the world, and makes Chinese heritage and characters alive. On one hand, the world can see a more colorful China from various perspectives; on the other hand, exhibition is a way that allows Chinese cultures to join the world and cultural exchanges to happen on a broader range; it also creates opportunities for Chinese folk artists to reach out to the world, and to carry forward Chinese traditional cultures.