In a cultural twist to Throw Back Thursdays, a year ago today on October 10, 2018 we were celebrating a pre-opening reception at PACE Gallery Beijing for Susan’s show at the Central Academy of Fine Arts Museum in China (CAFA) that ran from October 11-November 4, 2018.
The PACE Beijing reception featured works Susan would be premiering for the very first time the next day at CAFA, and was attended by influencers such as Chinese media mogul Lang Yan and representatives from the Utah Trade Mission to China including: Utah's Speaker of the House, Greg Hughes; Miles Hansen, CEO of Utah's World Trade Center; and Scott Anderson, President and CEO of Zions Bank. Dignitaries from the US Embassy in Beijing were also in attendance.
Last year Utah Governor Gary R. Herbert proclaimed October 11, 2018 Utah-China Cultural Friendship day. The announcement of Herbert's proclamation occurred in honor of the opening of Susan's solo exhibition at CAFA on October 11th. Mary Anne Huntsman - pianist and daughter of the former Chinese Ambassador and Utah's former Governor, Jon Huntsman - performed a stunning recital at the opening with famed Chinese violinist Gao Can. The proclamation was read from the stage by Governor Herbert's son, Brad Herbert. An official with Zions Bank, Brad was there with the Utah Trade Mission and won over the crowd of Chinese art figures including CAFA's President Fan Di'an.
In the days that followed during her visit to China, Susan participated in a panel discussion for current students at CAFA entitled "Is Abstract Art Universal?"
She was also honored at an October 12th luncheon with US Ambassador to China Terry Branstad, where Scott Anderson gifted the US Embassy in China through the Art in Embassies program with one of Susan's paintings (Shimmering Light, Acrylic on linen, 48x48” 2016) on behalf of Zions Bank and the State of Utah. On a side note, Ambassador Bradstad was in Utah this summer for the Western Governors Association meetings and shared with an audience during a luncheon presentation that he adores Shimmering Light and hung it in his personal office so that he would be able to enjoy it daily.
Last November we were pleased to be able to reciprocate in showing hospitality to the Chinese Embassy in DC by welcoming a delegation to Susan Swartz Studios for a tour and special luncheon. The Chinese delegation were in Utah to participate in the World Trade Center’s Utah Global Forum conference at the Grand America in Salt Lake City.
A year later we see much has transpired between the US and China from a trade perspective but the cultural ties between Utah and China remain with the Utah Museums paying tribute last winter to the Spike 150 Celebrations across the state. We hope art and culture can continue to provide a platform to encourage further dialogue and we were thrilled to play a part last year.