Nearly 100 students from Beijing, China participated in the inaugural Whittier College Arts Immersion Course that ran from May 23 to May 27. The participants, art students from KEDE College of Capital Normal University in Beijing, participated in a week-long series of lectures and fieldtrips that focused on multicultural art and design in Los Angeles. Some of the excursions included visits to the St. Sophia Greek Orthodox Cathedral, San Gabriel Mission, Olvera Street, Disney Concert Hall, Mayan Theatre, Barnsdall Art Park, The Gamble House, and the Huntington Library among others.
Along with the 96 students, seven administrators, faculty and board members from KEDE College traveled with the group. The distinguished group included the vice dean of the school of art design, the vice director of international exchange and training, the executive vice president of KEDE College, as well as the chairman of the board of directors.
This intensive summer program is part of a developing partnership between Whittier College and KEDE College.
The Whittier College Arts Immersion program also enabled the visiting students to experience some traditional aspects of American Higher Education, including an intramural game of football. The KEDE students also had a chance to learn about the unique legacy of Whittier College's alumnus, Richard M. Nixon '34. Nixon's important role in opening China to the West provided the visiting students with pride at having an opportunity to sit in the same classroom as the 37th President of the United States.
Established seven years ago as an affiliated college of Capital Normal University, KEDE College is well-known for its innovative educational model and interdisciplinary arts program. KEDE College has four schools (Art Design, International Business, Public Communications & Mass Media, and Performing Arts) and 42 areas of study within these programs.
Responding to educational needs and trends, one of KEDE's goals is to become a leader in developing overseas study programs that cultivate international art appreciation and enable their students to cultivate their applied art talents. Partnerships have been developed between KEDE College and universities in Korea, England, Australia, Canada, and the US. Student groups from KEDE College will participate in the Arts Immersion program at Whittier College throughout the 2011-2012 academic year.