Visitors gather for Zhuangzi Project’s Opening Ceremony

Over the last year and a half I have been working with conceptual artist Mu Yuming on a community arts initiative and and residency project he started called Zhuangzi Project. Zhuangzi Project, based in the small rural town of Bajie in Yunnan Province, has transformed a former courthouse into a complex for artists of varying levels of experience working across a range of disciplines. The project's local partner is San He Temple, a beautiful Buddhist monastery that includes centers for Daoist and Confucian Thought. Following up on my first visit to the site in December 2018, I returned to Bajie for a three-month residency at the Zhuangzi Project in fall 2019. The project affords both Chinese and non-Chinese artists opportunities to make and present their own work, collaborate with one another on site-specific projects, and lead free arts workshops and events for the local community. While there I had the chance to work with our team of artists on the Zhuangzi Project’s Opening Ceremony, make and display new film and sculptural work, and lead free art programs with groups of children, who naturally taught me more than I taught them.

I recently received a competitive visual arts fellowship from the journalism site Sixth Tone, in partnership with Fudan University, to return to China for conferences in Shanghai and fieldwork in Bajie. I intend to create a multimedia piece about the transformation of the former courthouse into a community arts center, the local community's views on this transformation, and the work of Mu's Zhuangzi Project in this process. This fellowship, initially set to begin in early May, has been postponed due to the global pandemic.

To learn more about Zhuangzi Project and the opportunities it offers for artists, e-mail me at

Zhuangzi Project founder Mu Yuming posing in front of NOT Mu Yuming’s car