MI Chinese Association partners with library for vibrant cultural programming

Next up is Traditional Chinese Etiquette on May 7.

Seven years ago, a group of passionate community members banded together to form the Mercer Island Chinese Association (MICA).

Today, the inclusive organization — which digs deep into the Chinese roots on the Island and the Eastside — is thriving more than ever while presenting vital community events like the Chinese New Year celebration that drew 1,500 people to the Island in January.

Fan Yuan, who is one of eight MICA board members, said that popular event was an immense testimony to the association’s cause of unification amongst people of myriad cultural backgrounds.

There are more activities on the way as MICA has entered a groundbreaking partnership with King County Library System’s (KCLS) Mercer Island Library to introduce a series of enriching cultural and arts programs to the local community, reads a press release.

The first event of this series, “How to Conduct a Tea Ceremony,” sponsored by Teafairy Culture and Art Center, occurred on April 17 at the Mercer Island Library (4400 88th Ave. SE). Other events will include: Traditional Chinese Etiquette (5:30 p.m. on May 7) and Su Embroidery (12:30 p.m. on June 14). Times and dates will be determined for Chinese Watercolor (Sumi) Painting, Calligraphy and Flower Arrangements. All programs are free to the public and offered in both English and Mandarin Chinese.

“I feel there is so much potential to this. I feel MICA cannot only unite the Chinese community together, but it could also use art and culture and all kinds of new means to actually bring the whole community together,” Yuan said of the immersive and interactive experiences.

Added KCLS Adult Services librarian David Dawson: “We are pleased to participate in this exciting new partnership with the Mercer Island Chinese Association. MICA’s programming, Chinese arts and cultural presentations — which are open to all — enrich our community.”

It’s been an organic process collaborating up with the library, said Yuan, noting that MICA has helped bring back ESL classes and Talk Time from 10 a.m. to noon on Mondays at the library. Dawson was further on board with additional cultural and art programs, and now they’re rolling out the series of events.

“I feel the community wants to do it and now we’re here to offer this opportunity. I am so excited and I feel so passionate about this cause and just bringing people together,” said Yuan, who was born and raised in China and has lived with her family on the Island for the past five years.

Thirty people attended the kick-off event, which featured a tea ceremony performance, presentation and a tasting of 12 different teas that had recently been shipped in from China. During the last portion of the event, attendees discussed the taste and expressed their feelings upon sipping the teas.

Yuan said that art and cultural elements deliver some magic, adding that she wanted to launch the series with something familiar to people and then have them explore some new experiences with subsequent events.

Two of MICA’s founding board members, Hao Linhui and Wu Caifeng, are still involved with the association as it reaches out to the local Chinese community and beyond.

“The Chinese community on the Island is strong and it’s growing even stronger just because people are moving in to the Island,” Yuan said. “I wanted to create a greater bond between all Chinese neighbors and all the other neighbors by presenting our art and culture.”

For more information, visit: https://www.facebook.com/mercerislandchinese/ and https://kcls.org/locations/mercer-island/

Teas aplenty at the event. Photo courtesy of Fan Yuan

Teas aplenty at the event. Photo courtesy of Fan Yuan