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Signs

November 30, 2012

起源.qǐyuán.origins.

“We shall not cease from exploration and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.”  – T.S. Elliot

~ 2-years ago:

During the summer of 2010 I crossed-paths with a unique group of individuals. Eventually, this encounter would cultivate into so much more. As a major artery for my China experience, the Lotus Cultural Center, and the people involved, are still present today.

The Lotus Center, located in the heart of Beijing, was a sanctuary for minorities, foreigners and locals alike. Nestled into a quiet, cozy hutong off the busy Nanluoguxiang walking street, this special space was fertile soil for good times.  But not the kind of good times you would find in a local bar, rather a hybrid between home, school, local restaurant, youth hostel, bar and art space. A place where a Canadian rockstar volunteers time teaching an English-language class about pregnancy. A place where, by candlelight, songs of home are performed in Mongolian. On any given day you may learn Japanese, dance to Tibetan music and spin records with a famous Japanese DJ. Meet journalists, insurance brokers, bankers, painters, chefs, Himalayan mountain climbers, musicians, students, politicians, photographers, teachers, business owners and the unemployed. All are welcome, none are turned away, as this kind of place usually finds you for a reason.

Unfortunately, a lack of sufficient funding forced the original Lotus Cultural Center to close its doors as of the Summer of 2011. Still, its essence is far from gone, and its spirit is anything but dead.

~ 3 months ago (Brooklyn, NY): A friend introduces us to a space along the East River–Ran Tea House. “Located in the emerging art center of Brooklyn, RAN SPACE, namely RAN TEA HOUSE, is a platform geared towards promotion and communication of the art in intercultural contexts. With flexible showing room, multimedia stage, pleasant atmosphere, RAN SPACE is looking forward to every possible intersection of art or not-yet art, creating an intellectual community for rising artists, filmmakers, musicians, and culture practitioners, especially the big Asian family.”

~1 month ago: Intimate conversation inspired by the Lotus Cultural Center (Beijing) with the RAN SPACE owner (who goes by the English name…wait for it…LOTUS)  expressing interest to collaborate for cultural exchange events and language-learning programs.

~2 weeks ago: LOTUS CULTURE FOUNDATION is born.

~1 day ago: First date for Chinese language course is set – DECEMBER 15, 2012

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