Baseball the last couple of weeks brought a lot of national attention to the Kansas City area. Now it’s the arts’ turn with the start Thursday of the 16th Biennial Edgar Snow Symposium.
The symposium is bringing Chinese and American diplomats and dignitaries to town and will put Kansas City’s arts, education and entrepreneurship on display. Attendees will learn more about what’s taking place in China. Snow, born in Kansas City in 1905, traveled throughout China in the 1930s and gained remarkable access to the country’s revolutionary leaders, including Mao Zedong.
From his experiences, Snow wrote the classic “Red Star Over China.” He helped open the door of the communist country to improved relations with the United States and to then-President Richard Nixon’s visit in 1972. It’s largely because of Snow that Kansas City and the University of Missouri-Kansas City enjoy a good relationship with China, and Chinese students pick UMKC for college.
The events this week will include a reception from 2 to 3 p.m. Thursday at City Hall. A town hall meeting at 6 p.m. on China at the InterContinental Hotel will follow, led by former President Jimmy Carter in a closed-circuit TV connection from Atlanta. People then will enjoy a banquet at 7 p.m. with a theme of “The Vital Role of the Arts in the U.S.-China Relationship.
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Audiences will get a chance on Friday to visit the Ewing and Marion Kauffman Foundation for a town hall on “Arts & Entrepreneurship in Action in Kansas City.” Events on commerce and the arts will take place at the Bloch School at UMKC and Union Station.
The symposium alternates between Kansas City and Beijing. Its presence here gives the community an opportunity to strengthen ties with China and advance business and cultural relationships.