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Sampling City’s Arts

Chinese art delegation arrives in Alexandria.

The Alexandria Singers serenaded Chinese guests during a Jan. 13 reception at the Torpedo Factory

The Alexandria Singers serenaded Chinese guests during a Jan. 13 reception at the Torpedo Factory Photo by Montie Martin.

Alexandria welcomed a delegation of Chinese media and artists from Jiangsu Province on Jan. 13, which marked an auspicious start to 2012 and the Year of the Dragon.

The 21-member Chinese delegation focused their fact-finding trip on how the arts are celebrated in the United States, and was impressed with their reception in Alexandria.

"It’s a very wonderful place," said Yongxin Zhu, a spokesman for the Jiangsu Delegation and group translator. "The city is very impressive, not only the art but the activities, the singing and the people."

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Chinese opera singers accompanied the Jiangsu Delegation, and performed A cappella renditions of Jasmine Flower at the Torpedo Factory.

Mayor Bill Euille greeted the Jiangsu Delegation with introductory remarks at City Hall, which resonated with the delegation given mayors are powerful figures in Chinese society.

The Torpedo Factory is a model used internationally, we would love to help and share ideas for them to take away."

— Allisa Carrel, deputy director, Department of Recreation for Parks and Cultural Activities

"We are very pleased you visited us, and pleased to showcase our great historic city," said Euille. "Alexandria values the arts community, our goal is to become the number one art city in the United States."

"The city is very impressive, not only the art but the activities, the singing and the people.e"

— Yongxin Zhu, a spokesman for the Jiangsu Delegation and group translator

After the official greetings at City Hall, the delegation continued to a reception at Alexandria’s Torpedo Factory.

"The Torpedo Factory is one of the city’s cultural anchors, it shows art in action," said Allisa Carrel, deputy director of the department of recreation for parks and cultural activities. "The Torpedo Factory is a model used internationally, we would love to help and share ideas for them to take away."

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Vibrant canals, Confucian temples, and lively street art are hallmarks of the Fuzi Miao district of Nanjing, capital of Jiangsu Province.

Entertainment for the reception was provided by the Alexandria Singers, who showcased yet another aspect of Alexandria’s vibrant art scene.

The Jiangsu Delegation reciprocated the gesture with a professional Chinese opera singer from among the group, who treated the Alexandria hosts to an a cappella rendition of "Jasmine Flower." Although the song is considered a traditional work, in recent months it has garnered controversy for political undertones related to revolution.

As a farewell gift, Alexandria’s poet laureate Amy Young presented her newest poem, "Welcome to the New Year: 2012 and the Year of the Dragon." The poem was presented in English with Chinese translations courtesy of George Mason University.

"This is my favorite thing to do as poet laureate," said Young. "It’s a wonderful gift, giving the gift of words."