K’san Performing Arts headed to China for cultural exchange

The K’san Performing Arts has been invited to participate and perform in a Cultural Exchange Project in Chengdu China with Mosuo Communities in Lu Gu Lake and Li Jiang in June of this year. Organizer Shirley Muldon said they are seeking funding as this invitation is one to amazing to pass by.

The K’san Performing Arts has been invited to participate and perform in a Cultural Exchange Project in Chengdu China with Mosuo Communities in Lu Gu Lake and Li Jiang in June of this year.

Organizer Shirley Muldon said they are seeking funding as this invitation is one to amazing to pass by.

“When we received the invitation I saw it as an opportunity to have fun as well as a unique and excellent opportunity to work collaboratively with the indigenous people of China,” she said. “The performers and artists will have an opportunity to share our cultural heritage and to learn from the Chinese indigenous peoples, as well as the international delegations, and two artists will also have an opportunity to demonstrate their skills and to market their work.”

The only thing standing in the group’s way is the high cost associated with traveling there and back. However, Muldon and the group are working hard to make it happen and have applied the BC Arts Council for a grant for $20,000 to cover the costs.

“We had agreed at the start to pay our own way if need be,” Muldon said.  “So those of us that could have put up a thousand each.  Performing Arts will match that.  However, there are some that can’t come up with the thousand. We have also sent an application to New Relations Trust in Vancouver but have not heard back from them.”

Locally the group is also getting a good amount of support with donations from the Village of Hazelton, Beertemas, the BC Heritage Cafe, Darlene Simpson at Tsetsuat Ventures Lte, and the Hazelton Bulkley Valley Credit Union. In addition they are holding an All Clans Fun Feast and Gwee ii Ya on May 7th at the Skeena Ice Arena and have invited people from Prince George to Haida Gwaii.

“The Hazelton Schools are involved in the Feast as well as Kispiox Elementary, Gwes &  the Northwest Community College,” she said. “Everyone is needed to transform the Skeena Ice Arena into a Feast Hall.”

If they are successful in getting the grant, Muldon added that any additional money raised will be donated to the Skeena Ice Arena Association.

The K’san Performing Arts have been performing nationally and internationally since 1972. Muldon explained that the organization not only provides a service to others, it is also an asset to the community.

“This is a good opportunity to establish links with the Chinese tourist agencies to bring more Chinese visitors to our community and the Northwest,” she added. “We will give our prints out as part of our welcome and scarves for Hee ii a (Old Lady).”

While the actual International Festival is only four days, Muldon said they are going to make the most of it and will be leaving on May 23rd and returning on June 9th.

“We will arrive in Beijing on the 25th of May and spend a couple days there to see The Great Wall of China and the Forbidden City,” she said.  “We arrive in Chengdu on the 28th, head for Li Jiang on the 4th of June, bus to Lu Gu Lake  and meet another aboriginal matriarchal society, the Mosuo, there on the 5th. We will have a Cultural Exchange with them, then back to Li Jiang on the 6th, meet with the Mosuo there  for another Cultural Exchange. ”

The estimated budget for the trip is more than $63,500 for the 20 performers, their gear and additional luggage. A large portion of the cost is associated with the flights as they amount to more than $2,000 per person. However, the BC Arts Council grant would take care of  a large piece of that and they are hoping to continue to raise money on their own as well.

“We are excited at this opportunity and we are committed to making the trip to China a reality,” she said.

Anyone with questions, interested in supporting the trip or finding out other ways to help should contact Muldon at 250-842-5527 or email smuldon@bulkley.net.