K-State Confucius Institute: Cultural Arts Engagement in the Manhattan Community
On Thursday April 20th, the K-State Confucius Institute invited community members to fly Chinese kites together at City Park to increase understanding of Chinese kite culture. The Confucius Institute teachers provided 20 kites that were made in Chinese Styles and printed with goldfish, swallows, butterflies, peacocks, dragons and other patterns, shapes and patterns. It was a sunny afternoon and the breeze was perfect for getting the kites into the air. Before long, the lawn was filled with families and children picking up their kites and running through the lawn. Eventually, everyone was able to get their kite off of the ground, though sometimes a little help was needed from friends or the staff at the Confucius Institute. Everyone was excited to watch the kites climb higher into the sky, and many onlookers stopped by to look at the beautiful display. The expected outcome was 36 people, but over 60 people ended up attending the event because many participants invited family and friends. There were also others in the park who, after seeing the kites in the air, came over to take a turn kite-flying. The event had been scheduled to last 2 hours, but because of the large number of participants and how much fun everyone was having, the activity lasted for much longer. The whole event was warmly received and participants gave positive feedback of their experiences. Many participants inquired about the next event and hoped that they would be able to join in.
This is just one of many cultural events put on by the Confucius Institute at K-State. The Confucius Institute was jointly established in 2015 by K-State and its Chinese partner-Jilin University, which is a top university located in the Northeast China. The Institute is a non-profit for teaching Chinese language and disseminating Chinese culture as well as promoting collaborations between the Chinese and U.S. academic institutes and communities. The Confucius Institute is deeply engaged into local communities with its Chinese language teaching and culture events. It featured many activities such as the Chinese Culture Fair, weekly cultural workshops, acrobats and the Chinese Language Show that partnered with the university’s Chinese language department to give students a chance to perform and practice Chinese language skills.
A practical and meaningful project that the Confucius Institute plans to kick start beginning this May is the “Chinese Culinary Class.” This series of cooking workshop, which will feature Chinese chefs and food safety officials from the Kansas Department of Agriculture (KDA), will invite community members to learn how make authentic Chinese food while at the same time learning about basic food safety procedures. Eventually, these classes could turn into a research project and provide internship opportunities to undergraduate and graduate students at K-State. The Confucius Institute has other projects and activities in the works that are sure to be fun and engaging for the Manhattan community.