Boro Art Crawl celebrates Chinese New Year with Dragon Dance, Chinese Art

Photo and story by Jessica Knoble / Contributing Writer

A crowd of curious locals surrounded the Murfreesboro courthouse Friday night, eager to encounter Chinese culture. You guessed it; February’s Murfreesboro Art Crawl focused on celebrating the Chinese New Year, and in doing so it featured a team of Dragon Dancers and intimate Chinese art. With 2018 being the year of the dog, many of the local talents were pet-related artists, scattered amongst a multitude of stores on Murfreesboro Square. These talents were provided with help from the MTSU Center for Chinese Music and Culture.

The night began with a short intro of traditional Chinese percussion music and a Dragon Dance routine. The Dragon Dance team consisted of nine people — all of different background — using coordination of large poles to manipulate a dragon that formed different positions and actions. After one performance, the crowd applauded for more, which resulted in an encore from the team.

“We are very appreciative that people love these performances,” said Maoyu Ming, a member of the Dragon Dance team and professor at the University of Memphis.

Amber Johnson, a two-year student who studied under Ming at the University of Memphis, is a member of the Dragon Dance team as well. She became involved on the team to further learn about the Chinese culture.

“(University of Memphis) announced it in my class, and they thought it would be a good way to participate and engage in the culture,” Johnson said. “We do a lot of events on campus.”

Alongside the performance, the Murfreesboro Center for the Arts featured the art of Nan Liu and Yang Jianhua. Liu is an associate professor at Florida A&M University, while Jianhua is director of the SCA Institute of Qingdao University of Science and Technology in China.

Being displayed in China, Japan,and Korea, Jianhua’s art attempts to envoke enviromental protection. It stresses the idea that the natural beauty of the world is more powerful than any made from man. Jianhua uses traditional Chinese painting techniques, while experimenting with brighter colors of Western culture.

Liu’s art has been displayed across the United States, and has a simplistic approach that still centers around the basics of nature. Among his accomplishments includes the Best of Show Calligraphy in 2013 and Best of Show in Painting in 2016 by Sumi-e Society of America’s Annual Juried Exhibition.

Olyvia Norton is a freshman majoring in Nutrition Science at MTSU, and she was amazed by the precision of the art displayed.

“It’s incredible how calming the art can be,” Norton said. “It’s hard to remember that real people actually did this by hand.”

Norton said she is often intrigued by the components of different cultures and was anticipating the educational and eye-opening aspects of the night.

Murfreesboro is proud to be a source of education regarding culture, and the February Art Crawl was a prime example that brought a unique experience to many.  

To contact Lifestyles Editor Tayhlor Stephenson, email

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  1. […] Boro Art Crawl celebrates Chinese New Year with Dragon Dance, Chinese Art […]

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