Where is Tony?
Don't worry, second year Folk Studies graduate student Tony Liang is still very much active in the program. This semester he is working as an intern for the Houston Arts Alliance in Houston, Texas.
The Houston Arts Alliance (HAA) is a non-profit arts organization that exists to enhance the quality of life and tourism in the Houston region by supporting and promoting the arts through programs, initiatives and alliances. They distribute over $3 million in grants to about 220 non-profit arts organizations and individual artists. They also manage the city's civic art collection of 450 artworks and new acquisitions.
-Houston Arts Alliance
What is he doing?
Tony works with the Folklife and Traditional Arts Program. He is most involved with the Asian community, especially the Chinese community. Houston is home to over 50, 000 Chinese, and they play an integral role there. HAA commissioned Tony to study the local Chinese community and how to better serve them.
Current Projects and Partnerships:
Tony is working on the Chinese Traditional Music and Opera Project, which studies Chinese music and opera. Professor Kang from Sun Yat-San University is a famous Chinese folklorist with a particular interest in Chinese Folk Music, and he will be joining the HAA at the end of the year. At this point, Tony is the only one working on the project, and the HAA had no prior knowledge of the Chinese music scene in the Houston Metro area. This effort is Tony's biggest challenge because he is starting it from the ground up by himself.
A Day in the Life of Tony:
Tony's responsibilities include searching for and identifying local performers and musical groups. He seeks these individuals out, contacts them for interviews, visits their rehearsals and practices, and identifies their works. Within one week alone, Tony found 7 traditional music or opera groups and learned that there are over 80 Chinese people participating in those groups. He plans to construct a database with these items for future use. Tony is also barnstorming about organizing a final product or show to culminate the Chinese Traditional Music and Opera Project. Tony employs his language and cultural background to build relationships between the Folklife and Traditional Arts Program and major Asian societies or organizations, such as the Chinese Community Center, the Chinese Civic Center, the Chinese Culture Center, the Asian Society of Texas, the Asian Pacific American Heritage Center, and the Asian American Studies program at the University of Houston.
Tony is also involved in discussions about "Working the Port," a collaboration between the Houston Arts Alliance and the American Works Project of the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. He will likely have some responsibilities for this project later on.