SAN FRANCISCO, Feb. 23 (Xinhua) -- Schoolchildren from 15 U.S. public and private schools will have an opportunity this year to experience China's profound culture through the works of Chinese artists, said the organizer of an education group.
At the opening ceremony of the Chinese New Year in Schools Program, Luo Ping, founder of the local education group in the United States, the Able2Shine Foundation, told an audience that the event will connect Chinese artists more closely with American teachers and students for deeper exchanges of Chinese culture and sow a seed of friendship in the heart of the next generation of American young people.
"We wish to raise a generation of citizens who not only are culturally aware, but also appreciate the diversity found in America," she said.
"We help the kids to build up confidence and the leadership and we have the family to grow together and have fun together. We also grow to help the community to engage cross-exchanges and seek mutual understanding," Luo told Xinhua.
She said the event is an important part of the celebrations of the Chinese Lunar New Year, which started on Feb. 16., in the northern California region.
Chinese Consul General in San Francisco Luo Linquan said the Chinese New Year in Schools Program is not only "celebrating our traditional culture but also sharing our best wishes and happiness with the people around us."
"That is why the Chinese Consulate in San Francisco supports the Chinese art group to go into the schools in the Bay Area to celebrate the Chinese New Year with our young friends," he said.
"To some of you, China is a place where your parents or grandparents come from, to others, China is a far-away place where pandas live," he added.
He said the program will allow the audience to experience the fascinating skills of Chinese craftsmanship.
Artists from Beijing Intangible Cultural Heritage Group and Heilongjiang Art Troupe of China put on a magic show and shadow puppet performance featuring a frolic play between a turtle and a white crane at the opening ceremony.
Six kids from the Able2Shine Foundation, aged from six to 10, went onto the stage one after another to share their stories of making facial masks for Peking Opera, woodblock printing and tying a Chinese knot.
A group of the foundation's nine boys and girls sang and danced to the popular song Green Apple Paradise that swept China in the 1990s.
The ongoing program is a second follow-up to a similar Spring Festival event held last year, when 12 American schools took part in activities aimed at bringing Chinese culture and traditions closer to U.S. students.