Home News & Events Dessa in China: An Innovative Exchange

Dessa in China: An Innovative Exchange

In September 2017, I presented on behalf of Arts Midwest at the China-U.S. Cultural Forum in New York City. The event featured speakers from U.S. institutions including the National Endowment for the Arts, the Smithsonian Institution, and Lincoln Center as well as Chinese organizations like the National Museum of China, the National Ballet of China, and China Arts & Entertainment Group.


Attendees at the China-U.S. Cultural Forum in New York City. Photo courtesy of the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in the United States.

The presentation was grounded in years of cultural exchange programs at Arts Midwest. We’ve been working with China since 1999, building a strong network of partners and collaborators. Our work emphasizes interactive, person-to-person connections that create moments of surprise, curiosity, and cross-cultural understanding.

We’ve brought modern dance, orchestras, and traditional music ensembles from China on tours across the United States—reaching places that don’t often host residencies with international artists. You can read stories about Manhu in Flint, Michigan, or Tarim in Charleston, Illinois, or Anda Union in Plymouth, Indiana.

In China, Arts Midwest has toured an exhibition of quilts with residencies by quiltmakers from across the United States, photography and outreach with renowned artist Wing Young Huie, and three residency tours featuring American Indian performers.

Now working with Dessa on an exchange later this month, we’re sharing another unique and innovative voice from the Midwest with audiences across China. Dessa’s work crosses genres and defies expectations—a rapper who has performed with the Minnesota Orchestra, a writer whose third book arrives in fall 2018, and a public speaker who seamlessly connects music, philosophy, neuroscience, and entrepreneurship.

This program continues to build on years of international efforts at Arts Midwest that share authentic voices and create personal connections. We look forward to sharing more during 20 days on the road as part of this Arts Midwest Global Exchange: Dessa in China!


Stay tuned for more from Dessa in China! Photo by Matthew Shaver.