A zealous Chinese culture promoter in US

( China Daily ) Updated: 2017-04-08 10:10:28

A zealous Chinese culture promoter in US

Chinese Ceramics: From the Paleolithic Period through the Qing Dynasty. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Palm Beach museum curator manages to infuse a love of Chinese art in an all-American town.

Laurie Barnes is one of the few people who get to do what they love, and get paid for it. She has worked for decades as a curator to promote Chinese art in Palm Beach, a southern Florida town where not so many Chinese people live. And yet Barnes, in her 60s now, feels rewarded for helping American people understand China a little more every day.

"I tell people that the 20th century is the American century, the 19th century was the British century, but the 21st century is going to be the Chinese century. So I think everyone in the world should be interested in Chinese culture because it's China's time," said Barnes.

In love with Chinese culture

When she was a kid, Barnes would go for six weeks in the summer time to her grandparents' house in the Washington D.C. area. She loved visiting museums, including her favorite Freer Gallery of Art then.

"There was just something magical about Chinese art that really spoke to me," she said. Later she decided to make it a career to learn about the objects she knew little about when she was a child and help other people appreciate them.

She started working for the Norton Museum of Art in Palm Beach in 2006 as Elizabeth B. Mcgraw curator of Chinese art, hoping to help expand the museum's Chinese collection and make them more accessible to the public.

The museum has had a Chinese collection for over half a century. Over the years, the collection grew from the initial 125 objects to about 600, ranging from delicately-carved jade, paintings, Buddha statues, and a few porcelain pieces.

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