Photo: ChinaFest 2019

Cost: Free. Reservations Preferred

Virtual Family Day – ChinaFest: Year of the Metal Ox

Celebrate throughout the month of February

Welcome to VMFA’s
ChinaFest: Year of the Metal Ox

Thank you for joining the Chinese Lunar New Year celebration at VMFA’s Virtual ChinaFest Family Day! Learn about the Chinese New Year through activities inspired by works of art in VMFA’s collection, performances, virtual gallery exploration, and more!

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Exploring Our Virtual Event

Welcome to our VIRTUAL Family Day! While we wish we could celebrate with you in person, we are delighted that you have joined us online!

Now it’s time to explore. On the event page below, you will find four buttons that will lead you to a variety of activities, performances, demonstrations, and resources. Take your time and check out everything. These activities and presentations will be available to access through the month of February.

Maybe you would like to watch performances and presentations, or maybe you would like to create your own work of art? These activities, resources, and more are listed below. Have fun, explore, and let your imagination roam!

Performances and Demonstrations

Art Activities

Virtual Gallery Activities

Explore More

Download the Agenda for the Event!

Download Here!

Are you interested in winning a VMFA Family Membership?
Follow the instructions below to enter! The survey will be open until midnight, Monday, February 15. One winner will be selected and notified on February 16.

How to Enter:
Fill out the survey on the link below after exploring our Virtual Family Day event. Make sure to include your email address. The survey will be open through midnight, Monday, February 15. One winner will be selected and notified on February 16.

Access the Survey

Performances, Presentations, and Demonstrations

Sit back and watch incredible performances and demonstrations! Follow the links provided below to view all presentations.

Yu Dance Arts

Directed by Yu Xiao, Yu Dance Arts is a Richmond-based youth dance troupe that focuses on creating and producing intercultural dances that combine Chinese traditional dances with Western modern aesthetics. This fusion dance style presents an innovative look of Chinese dances. The mission of the Yu Dance Arts is to enrich the Richmond community by presenting Chinese-American identity, preserving and increasing awareness of Chinese heritage, and sharing Chinese culture and traditions as well as valuing other cultures and communities in the surrounding area.

Enjoy dance presentations and a behind-the-scenes look into dance classes at Yu Dance Arts studio. You will also hear from some Yu Dance Arts students and parents as they share their perspectives about the difference between Chinese dance and Western-style dances and their experience with Yu Dance Arts.

See the Behind the Scenes Video!

The Hundred Family Surnames
Directed by: Yu Xiao
Performed by: Junior Class

Click to see the performance!

The Hundred Family Surnames, Bǎijiāxìng, is a classic Chinese text composed of common surnames in ancient China. The book was composed in the early Song Dynasty. It originally contained 411 surnames but was later expanded to 504. The text is arranged in a poetic manner–lines of eight characters–to facilitate memorization by school children. The first four surnames– zhao, qian, sun li–are believed to represent the most important families in the empire at that time. This dance is inspired by this book–watch as a group of students learn the Hundred Family Surnames in a very fun way.

Torch Festival in July (2016)
Directed by: Yu Xiao
Performed by: Yu Dance Arts

Click to see the performance!

Yi minority is one of the 56 chinese ethnic groups. Yi people live mainly in the mountain areas southwest of China. The Yi people love singing and dancing. The Torch Festival is one of the main holidays of the Yi ethnic group. It is celebrated on the 24th or 25th day of the sixth month of the lunar calendar.

In the Torch Festival, Yi people have a torch parade to drive away bad lucks and pray for a good harvest. People will gather around torches, play musical instruments, and sing and dance throughout the night. Please enjoy a group of Yi girls using cheerful dance movements to express their happiness, and to celebrate their biggest event, the Torch Festival.

Little China Dolls (2016)
Choreographed and directed by: Yu Xiao
Performed by: Yu Dance Arts

Click to see the performance!

In China, the color red is always associated with “happiness and good fortune.” It is symbolic of fire and wards off evil spirits. If you do not know what to wear to attend a Chinese celebration, something red is always the right choice on such occasions. Chinese people wear clothes mainly featuring the color red throughout the Chinese New Year because it is believed that red will scare away evil spirits and bad fortune. In this dance, you will see a group of little China Dolls, dressed in red costumes, celebrate the New Year. Performed by our youngest dancers, please welcome a group of cute little China Dolls.

RYSE Lion Dance at VCU

RYSE Lions (originally known as Lion Dance @ VCU) is a collegiate Futsan-style Chinese Lion Dance team founded by Will Chen in 2014. Over the years, we have had members from a variety of backgrounds–including students studying medicine, physical therapy, art, computer science, political science, and engineering. Although few members have had martial arts training, none of our members have had gymnastics training and all acrobatics executed have been self-taught by our team.

Despite humble beginnings, RYSE Lions’ performances have become a local staple in Richmond for the Chinese New Year–including performing for various festivals, restaurants, weddings, temples, fundraisers, and for the governor. RYSE Lions has also won two East Coast Intercollegiate Lion Dance competitions, and other honorariums.

Click to see the performance!
Video Credit: Video filmed by RYSE Lion Dance, and Edited by Holly Ashton.

Kung Fu Presentations by Richmond Moy Yat

Sights of China

Click to see the video!

See the home of Ving Tsun Kung Fu with the Moy Yat Kung Fu family. Visit Grandmaster Yip Man’s school in Foshan, China. Experience Chinese Lion Dancing at the Ancestral Temple. Take in the great city of Hong Kong from the top of Victoria Peak. Sail the Pearl River, and be delighted by Chinese Opera performed on a riverboat! These wonders are all a part of the rich history of Southern Chinese Kung Fu. You can connect to this tradition by beginning your own journey into the Ving Tsun Kung Fu system!

Young Master Plays Wooden Dummy

Click to see the performance!

Young Master Kofi Burke shows the beginning of the Jong Form, known as the Wooden Dummy. Kofi first began training two years ago after seeing the 2019 ChinaFest demonstration and decided he wanted to get involved. Today, he is able to move his hands with precision, emphasizing good timing, all the while moving in a powerful horse stance. Both kids and adults alike can learn more about this Martial Art at

Kung Fu Workout at Home

Click to see the lesson!

Chinese New Year is a great time to improve your health and create new daily routines. Get started at home with this Kung Fu workout for all ages! In this video, learn the Horse Stance, how to make a Fist, and how to throw Palm Strikes. This short video is great exercise, and shows some of the basics of Chinese Boxing! Contact Richmond Moy Yat Kung Fu on Facebook and visit

Learn More!
Richmond Moy Yat Website
Richmond Moy Yat Facebook

Sitan Taichi Presentation with Confucius Institute at Medgar Evers College, CUNY

Click to see the performance!

Many have heard of Tai Chi, but few know how rich and significant a cultural phenomenon it really is. A Chinese traditional form of exercise for body and mind that dates back more than a thousand years, Tai Chi is an art that requires no extra equipment. It offers an ascetic path to building balance both physically and psychologically by reducing anxiety and aiding in mental focus. Mastered through repeated practice, you can close the door of your room, turn on calming music and in ten to fifteen minutes, you can work up a sweat and feel the cleansing of your soul. You can now learn Taichi via ZOOM from a master, the internationally recognized champion, Professor Sitan Chen, who will lead you through the stages in the comfort of your own room! In affiliation with the Confucius Institute at Medgar Evers College, CUNY, Sitan Taichi will present a series of workshops in 2021 sponsored by the Institute, free of charge to all participants. You are welcome to join us by sending inquiries to CI@MEC.CUNY.EDU.

Interested in learning more? Check out the links below:
Confucius Institute at Medgar Evers College, CUNY Facebook
Nassau County Museum of Art
Sitan Tai Chi and Martial Arts

Calligraphy Demonstration with the William & Mary Confucius Institute

Join the William & Mary Confucius Institute instructor Xin Li as she gives a brief introduction of the history, styles, and basic techniques of Chinese Calligraphy in video 1. In video 2, watch as Xin Li demonstrates how to write Chinese characters 永 (forever), 福 (blessing), and 春 (Spring). The William & Mary Confucius Institute (WMCI) is a collaborative educational and service partnership between William & Mary and Beijing Normal University. It aims to promote the study of Chinese language and culture, support the teaching of Chinese at both the host institution (W&M) and in local communities, and facilitate US-China cultural exchanges on various levels.

Click to see the lesson!

Click to see a demonstration of Calligraphy!

Journey to the Chinese New Year (Spring Festival) with Students from the University of Richmond

Click to see the video!

What will Chinese kids do during the Chinese New Year? Three Chinese students from the University of Richmond would like to take you on a journey to the Chinese New Year, where you will wake up one day and find yourself living with a Chinese family. Throughout the journey, you will celebrate the 2021 Chinese New Year with the family and experience various Chinese New Year traditions, such as receiving red packets, lighting fireworks, watching the Spring Festival gala, and having a family reunion dinner. Let’s take off and enjoy it!

Lantern-Making Demonstration with 1708 Gallery

1708 Gallery’s 14th annual InLight will take place in November 2021. InLight is 1708 Gallery’s annual public exhibition of contemporary light-based artworks—video, projection, multimedia and interactive projects, sculpture, installation, and performance. InLight also features the Community Lantern Parade. Each year, InLight moves sites to highlight the unique parts of the city and to connect audiences to the stories that celebrate these diverse neighborhoods. InLight audiences have experienced contemporary art on Broad Street, in Shockoe Slip and historic Tredegar, along the Riverfront Canal Walk, throughout Monroe Park and at VMFA and Chimborazo Park. Since 2008, over 130,000 visitors have experienced InLight. Now it is your turn to create your own lantern as we celebrate the Chinese Lunar New Year. Follow along to create a lantern using supplies you have at home!

See the list of supplies needed for this activity!

See all three videos below!

Video 1: The Bottle Lantern

Video 2: The Tube Lantern

Video 3: The Box Lantern

Cooking Demonstrations with Alexander Tan

Meet Alexander–an eighth grader who enjoys cooking for his family and friends. Alexander started cooking when he was eight years old and has not stopped ever since! Unlike other hobbies he’s had, cooking is one that has stuck. Over the years, he has seen how food brings people together, which drives him to continue cooking. Now that he’s developed a couple of recipes that he loves, he is ready to share them with you! Don’t be afraid to try cooking along at home–with a little bit of patience, anyone can cook delicious food! So, let’s get cooking!

How to cook elevated fried rice!

Learn how to cook duck!

Learn how to make mango sago!

The Asian Valley Garden Tour with Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden

The Asian Valley incorporates the spirit of Asian garden design with dramatic tree forms, cascading water, and the inclusion of boulders as a major design element.

This garden celebrates the sacredness of nature and provides a place for quiet contemplation. Asian Valley displays plants native to Asia which are adaptive to growing conditions in the Mid-Atlantic and Southeastern United States. In addition to many conifers and broad-leaved evergreens, Asian Valley showcases an iris collection and many interesting Japanese maples. Click the video below to explore The Asian Valley gardens.

Explore other incredible presentations, demonstrations, and performances on University of Richmond’s and The Rose Group for Cross-Cultural Understanding’s ChinaFest event pages, linked below.

University of Richmond ChinaFest

The Rose Group for Cross-Cultural Understanding: ChinaFest 2021

Scrolling Down the Creative Paths: A Collection of Chinese heritage arts and crafts, music, food, and more

Art Activities

It’s time to make art! Check out the art activities listed below. Under each art activity title and description, you will find a “how-to” video and an activity resource document with instructions and a list of supplies needed to complete each project.

Create a Paper Pellet Drum

Follow the instructions included below to learn about one of the most traditional toys in China–the drum. Create your own drum inspired by the “Bolang Gu” or the Chinese Pellet Drum.

Download the Instructions See the Instructional Video

Make a Round Folding Fan

Whether it’s used to cool off or write hidden messages on, a round folding fan has many functions! Make your own round folding fan and fill it with your own designs or symbols! Follow the instructions provided here to begin your project.

Download the Instructions See the Instructional Video

Construct a Metal Ox Ornament

Create an ornament inspired by traditional Chinese knot ornaments showcasing the ox in celebration of the Lunar New Year–Year of the Metal Ox. Follow the instructions provided here to begin your project.

Download the Instructions Download the Template See the Instructional Video

Fold a Lucky Money Envelope

Use the printable template provided below to fold a red paper envelope. Learn about the red envelope and how it is used. Follow the instructions provided here to begin your project.

Download the Template See the Instructional Video

Virtual Gallery Activities

See works of art from the VMFA’s permanent collection, learn about Chinese art and culture, and participate in activities listed below.

East Asian Gallery Preview
Explore VMFA’s East Asian Galleries virtually by clicking here.

To learn more about this collection and examine a work of art closely – explore our Take a Look Inside resource here.

Write It! Learn Chinese Calligraphy
Calligraphy, or the art of writing, was historically considered the highest visual art form in China. Learn more by exploring this interactive resource.
Explore our Ancient Chinese Art & Culture resource here.

Design it: Create Your Own Chinese Seal
First choose from a selection of icons inspired by VMFA’s collection of Chinese art. Next, add your initials or monogram to your design. Finally, “carve” your seal. You can save it, print it, or share it through social media.
Explore our Ancient Chinese Art & Culture resource here.

Unroll It! Explore Chinese painting
There are a variety of formats used in traditional Chinese painting and calligraphy. Typically, these works are created by artists on sheets of paper or silk laid on a flat surface and then mounted onto similar material with water soluble glue. Because of their fragility, most of these works of art are intended only for occasional display. In this activity, virtually unroll and view works of art that are too delicate to handle in reality.
Explore our Ancient Chinese Art & Culture resource here.

Play it! Make your own music
For thousands of years music has been an important part of Chinese culture, including religious and public ceremonies, scholarly pursuits, and entertainment. Bronze bells, called zhong in Chinese, were cast to produce two distinctly different tones. Hanging together from a wooden frame, the zhong were played by musicians in a seated or kneeling position striking the outside of each bell with a wooden mallet. In this activity, make your own music in the style of ancient Chinese musicians. Touch virtual bells in the center and the side to hear two different sounds.
Explore our Ancient Chinese Art & Culture resource here.

Tangram Puzzle: Horse & Warrior
Follow the link below to access a Tangram Puzzle project. Use the tangram puzzle template provided to create a Horse and Warrior figure and other designs!

Make a Faux Jade Sculpture
Jade is rare, comes in many different beautiful colors, and is very hard, making it difficult to carve. Because of these characteristics, it was one of the most highly prized materials of ancient China. Create your own sculpture using ‘faux’ jade.

What Does Your Dragon Look Like?
Explore images and meanings of the Chinese dragon through writing exercises and art making. Use your imagination and create your own dragon!

Ancient Writing
As early civilizations developed, societies became more complicated. Record keeping and communication demanded something beyond symbols and pictures to represent the spoken word. Explore this resource to learn about the early writing systems of four ancient civilizations: Mesopotamia, Egypt, China, and Mesoamerica.

Explore More

Reading List
Discover China and the Chinese Lunar New Year through children’s books! Check out our recommended book list for exploring more.

See the Reading List!

Accessing VMFA’s Library
The Margaret R. and Robert M. Freeman Library of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts is the oldest and one of the most extensive art resources in Virginia, with visual arts reference material that addresses virtually all the humanities. In addition to serving museum staff, it also acts as a non-circulating library for scholars, students, researchers, writers, and the general public.

To help limit the risks of COVID-19, the Margaret R. and Robert M. Freeman Library space is currently being redesigned to ensure public safety and to maintain physical distancing. The library is open by appointment only. You can explore the library’s digital collections online. For reference assistance, please contact the library at or 804.340.1495

The VMFA Shop searches the world to provide a diverse selection of unique jewelry, home accessories, toys, stationery, and books, focusing on merchandise related to the museum’s collections and exhibitions as well as educational items and work from Virginia artists. Explore VMFA’s Shop here.

VMFA Learn
Click here to explore resources, watch artist videos, and engage with more art from around the world! Here are just a few of the resources you will find on learn:

China: Qing Dynasty Porcelain and Global Exchange
Terracotta Army: Armor
Talks & Lectures: Archaeology Forum

Exploring e-Books
Interested in exploring and assessing free e-books through your local library? Check out apps such as Hoopla and The Libby App (OverDrive) that will connect you with e-books for a virtual reading experience. Please note: you need a library card to access e-books and other resources on these apps.
Hoopla Digital

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