Celebrate the Year of the Snake
with the Chinese Fine Arts Society

January 20th, 2013 by helen No comments »
February 11, 2013
12:00 pm
February 21, 2013
6:00 pmto10:00 pm
February 24, 2013
12:00 pmto5:00 pm

The Chinese Fine Arts Society invites people of all ages to ring in 2013, the Year of the Snake, which begins on February 10. This year, the Chinese Fine Arts Society has a colorful line up of events culminating in a traditional Lantern Festival celebration on the final day of the Chinese New Year:

•            CFAS is presenting a festival of Chinese folk arts including Lion Dance, music and dance at Daley Plaza at noon on February 11.

•            CFAS is partnering with Adler Planetarium on February 21 to present an evening of programming including martial arts, traditional dance, Chinese instruments, and calligraphy from 6-10 PM as part of their Adler After Dark Series. Ring in the New Year in style with cocktails and entertainment against the award-winning view of the Chicago skyline seen only from the Adler.

•            CFAS will also participate in Navy Pier’s “Neighborhoods of the World” weekly performance series honoring Chicago’s cultural diversity. This full afternoon of family-friendly programming on February 24 marks the final day of the Chinese New Year celebrations. This colorful event, the Lantern Festival, also known as the Yuan-Xiao Festival after the traditional sweet treats enjoyed on this day, will include martial arts, Chinese classical music and dance.


Chinese New Year at Daley Plaza
Monday, February 11th, 2013, 12:00 PM

Free admission
Richard J. Daley Center – 118 North Clark Street, Chicago
Performers include:
Chicago Cultural Center Lion Dancers
Ling Ling Pao Dance Studio
Jin Qiu Yue Dance Studio
Bei Dou Kung Fu
Jennifer & Isabelle
Kerry Leung

Adler After Dark Series – Chinese New Year Celebration
Thursday, February 21st, 2012, 6:00 – 10:00 PM

Advance: $12 non-members/$9 Adler members, $17 at the door, free for CFAS Members (must be reserved by emailing info@chinesefinearts.org). All guests must be 21 years and older.
Adler Planetarium – 1300 South Lake Shore Drive, Chicago
Performers include:
Chicago Cultural Center Lion Dancers
Jin Qiu Yue Dance Studio
Illini Wushu Team
Jennifer & Isabelle
CFAS Young Artists Ensemble

Neighborhoods of the World at Navy Pier
Sunday, February 24th, 2013, 12:00 – 5:00 PM

Free Admission
Navy Pier’s Crystal Gardens, 600 E. Grand Avenue, Chicago
Performers include:
Chicago Cultural Center Lion Dancers
Ling Ling Pao Dance Studio
Jin Qiu Yue Dance Studio
Yang Dance Academy
Bei Dou Kung Fu
Championship Martial Arts
Illini Wushu
8 Tones Ensemble
CFAS Young Artists Ensemble
CFAS Chorus

For 29 years, the Chinese Fine Arts Society, a professional, small, fully- independent arts organization has brought together people from diverse backgrounds over a common goal: to celebrate the beauty and majesty of traditional and contemporary Chinese music and art. CFAS is dedicated to promoting the appreciation of Chinese culture, enhancing cultural exchange and pursuing excellence in Chinese music, dance and visual arts. For further information about the Chinese Fine Arts Society contact 312-369-3197 or info@chinesefinearts.org and visit www.ChineseFineArts.org.


Peter McDowell Speaks at APAP/NYC and CMA

January 1st, 2013 by Peter McDowell No comments »
January 13, 2013
3:00 pmto5:00 pm
January 20, 2013
8:00 amto10:15 am

UnknownPeter McDowell is joined by Jodi Kaplan, Founder, Jodi Kaplan & Associates, in leading Career Jumpstart for Performing Artists on Sunday January 13th, 2013 from 3-5pm as part of the Association of Performing Arts Presenters Annual Conference – APAP/NYC. This workshop, part of APAP’s Career and Leadership Sessions, is designed to give musicians, dancers, and other performing artists some simple tools and strategies for booking, marketing and publicizing their careers, their creations and their performances. Topics to be covered include: the importance of a great web site, successful PR practices, and effective strategies for working with agents and presenters (including self-representation as an artist). Participants are encouraged to bring self-promotional materials that they have created for purposes of discussion and feedback.

One week later, on Sunday, January 20th at 9am, Peter appears on a panel led by Angela Myles Beeching at Chamber Music America’s National Conference. The panel, which features McDowell, Beeching, Justin Kolb, and Michael Drapkin, will focus on Career Diagnostics.

Session Description: Is there a “correct” career path for you and your ensemble? In this interactive session, veteran managers, career advisors, and performers answer questions and offer expert advice on clarifying your career goals, avoiding common pitfalls, and taking positive steps to raise your professional profile.



Lesson for 2013: Kindness to Self

January 1st, 2013 by Peter McDowell No comments »

flowersI was recently asked by my friend, the excellent Chicago-based Fundraising Consultant Mark Warner (MDW Consulting), to write a guest column for his January newsletter. I decided that I would share with readers a short list that changed my life in 2012, taken from Howard Schubiner’s excellent book, Unlearn your Pain. Nominally the book is about back pain, but the words below can be used effectively in work and career situations to unblock situations and to help move forward with projects and goals in a positive, healthy way. I have used these with my clients and will continue to do so in 2013. Schubiner’s words are simple, yet powerful, as quoted below:

“One of the most important aspects of…improving your psychological health is to be kind to yourself. I cannot emphasize this enough. It is very easy to develop and maintain a self-critical attitude. I urge you to take time each day to be kind to yourself. You can do this…by catching yourself in self-critical thoughts, and by doing some things for yourself. If you forget a task or don’t finish all the work or errands on your list, be kind to yourself.

Here are some examples of what I mean by being kind to yourself.

  1. Accepting that you are human and that you cannot be everything to everyone.
  2. Accepting your faults and realizing that you are a good person.
  3. Forgiving yourself for your mistakes, just as you would forgive others whom you love.
  4. Learning to say “no” to certain requests.
  5. Sending positive and caring messages to yourself.
  6. Recognizing that many others have been in your situation and have survived and thrived.
  7. Accepting your feeling as being normal.
  8. Catching yourself when you send critical messages to yourself and replacing those with kind and understanding messages.
  9. Figuring out what you need and not being shy about asking for it or taking steps to attain it.
  10. Taking time for yourself to do things just for you or just to allow you to relax and enjoy life.
  11. Standing up for yourself.
  12. Realizing that you are an important person on this earth and that you deserve to be happy and healthy.”

Read this list everyday, and you will find that certain burdens, fears, or concerns will dissipate, freeing your mind and your energy for active pursuit of your goals and happiness. My best wishes to you for a happy, healthy and productive 2013!

Blair Thomas: MOBY-DICK (excerpt) at Storefront Theater

December 21st, 2012 by Peter McDowell No comments »
January 20, 2013
2:00 pm

1W8A3200Blair Thomas & Company, a national and international touring puppet theater company founded in 2002 by puppeteer and director/designer Blair Thomas, presents work-in-progress excerpts from its future production of Moby-Dick on Sunday, January 20th, 2013, at 2pm at Storefront Theater, 66 E. Randolph, Chicago. Admission is free – for reservations visit www.blairthomas.org or email blair@blairthomas.org

Narrator Ishmael recounts his journey on the Pequod as Captain Ahab’s relentless pursuit of the White Whale leads the entire crew to the depths of the ocean’s great unknown.  The words of this great American novel are brought to life on the stage through bunraku puppets and rolling paper scrolls.

Blair Thomas & Company is a national and international touring puppet theater company that was founded in 2002 by puppeteer and director/designer Blair Thomas.  They have made over a dozen original puppet theater pieces including: Cabaret of Desire, a staging of short works by Federico Garcia Lorca; The Ox-herder’s Tale an interpretive staging of the Buddhist parable of 10 painting of enlightenment; A Kite’s Tale a collection of piano pieces staged with silent narratives including Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition and Chopin’s Scherzo in b minor.   They have also toured with the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra and performed with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.  They have made collaboration productions with other companies such as Pierrot Lunaire a staging of Arnold Schoenberg’s song cycle with the chamber music ensemble eighth blackbird; an original adaptation of Oscar Wilde’s The Selfish Giant and an adaptation of Brian Selznick’s The Houdini Box both with the Chicago Children’s Theatre.  Twice Blair Thomas & Company has received the international UNIMA awards for excellence in the art of puppetry.  Twice the company has performed at the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center, once during when Blair was the first artist chosen to fill the Jim Henson Artist-in-Residence position at the University of Maryland.

In the Works is a performance residency program that gives emerging and established performing artists the opportunity to test-drive new work in a public setting. Each residency is tailored to the needs of the artist or company and their project and each showing is a unique opportunity for audiences to get a behind-the-scenes look at new work by Chicago artists. This program is made possible through a grant from The Boeing Company. Admission is either free or low-cost.  Visit www.chicagocultuturalcenter.org for a complete schedule.



Chicago’s Chinese Fine Arts Society Receives NEA Grant

December 13th, 2012 by helen No comments »
December 1, 2012toDecember 31, 2012

The Chinese Fine Arts Society has received an NEA grant to support it’s amibitious “Five Elements Project”.  The grant is one of 832 Art Works grants totaling $23.3 million in funding nationwide.


Chicago, IL – National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Chairman Rocco Landesman announced today that Chicago’s Chinese Fine Arts Society(CFAS) is one of 832 non-profit organizations nationwide to receive an NEA Art Works grant. The Chinese Fine Arts Society is recommended for a $17,500 grant to support the 2013-14 Five Elements Project.

The Five Elements Project, dedicated to the memory of Barbara Tiao, the late founder of the Chinese Fine Arts Society, is a multifaceted, two-year initiative seeking to create several important new pieces of music that will touch on the theme of the traditional Chinese elements, namely Metal, Wood, Water, Fire, and Earth. 2013 is the five-year anniversary of Ms. Tiao’s passing, and 2014 is CFAS’s 30th anniversary, making this a momentous two-year period for the organization. This project engages two of the United States’ most lauded Chinese composersZhou Long (2011 Pulitzer Prize Winner for Music) and Huang Ruo, to create compelling works of music that explore the theme of the Chinese Five Elements, to be premiered in a concert series in 2014. Mr. Long’s composition will be comprised of five movements and scored for clarinet, pipa, piano, violin, viola and cello. Mr. Ruo’s will be a violin piece written for longtime CFAS collaborator and friend, Rachel Barton Pine.

“I’m proud to announce these 832 grants to the American public including The Chinese Fine Arts Society’s Five Elements Project,” said Chairman Landesman. “These projects offer extraordinary examples of creativity in our country, including the creation of new work, innovative ways of engaging audiences, and exemplary education programs.”

“My late mother, Barbara Tiao, would be so pleased” says CFAS Board President Julie Tiao Ma, “She strove for excellence and for creating a new canon of Contemporary Chinese music. To engage the best of today’s composers will be a thrill and an honor for CFAS.”

In March 2012, the NEA received 1,509 eligible applications for Art Works requesting more than $74 million in funding. The 832 recommended NEA grants total $22.3 million, span 13 artistic disciplines and fields, and focus primarily on the creation of work and presentation of both new and existing works for the benefit of American audiences. Applications were reviewed by panels of outside experts convened by NEA staff and each project was judged on its artistic excellence and artistic merit.

For a complete listing of projects recommended for Art Works grant support, please visit the NEA website at www.arts.gov.