Backstage Pass with Lia Chang

Metropolitan Museum’s Lunar New Year Festival Celebrating the Year of the Monkey on Feb. 6

Korean Performing Arts Center drummers. Photograph by Don Pollard. Courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Korean Performing Arts Center drummers. Photograph by Don Pollard. Courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art

The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s annual Lunar New Year festival is on Saturday, February 6, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Lunar New Year Festival: Year of the Monkey will feature dozens of programs for visitors of all ages that reflect traditions from across Asia. Dance and music performances, art-making activities, and storytelling will take place throughout the Museum as part of the festival celebration. Related special exhibitions and installations will also be on view in honor of the centennial of the Museum’s Department of Asian Art. All Lunar New Year Festival events are free with Museum admission. The Metropolitan Museum of Art is located at Fifth Avenue and 82nd Street in New York.

Lunar New Year Festival: Year of the Monkey is made possible by the Great Circle Foundation. It is presented in cooperation with Cool Culture.

Visitors will be able to join many of the festival performances, which will take place in various areas within the Museum during the seven-hour celebration. Performances include a puppet show by Sesame Street puppeteers, traditional dances—both Tibetan and Indonesian—by Lotus Music & Dance, a colorful parade through the Museum’s Great Hall led by the Chinese Center on Long Island Lion Troupe, and a concert of regional Chinese music with traditional instruments by students of the Music From China Youth Orchestra. Throughout the day, visitors will be able to activate a display of digital fireworks designed by artists CHiKA and Calli Higgins in the Museum’s Great Hall. These silent fireworks feature flickering light effects that might trigger reactions in people with seizure disorders.

Art Activities and Demonstrations
Several hands-on art programs will be offered throughout the Museum as part of Lunar New Year Festival: Year of the Monkey. Visitors can try their hand at traditional Chinese paper cutting with Master Lu (best for ages 6 and up), create Chinese opera masks based on the story of the Monkey King with the Children’s Museum of Manhattan, draw contemporary calligraphy using the ZenBrush iPad app with the China Institute (best for ages 6 and up), participate in a hand-pulled noodle demonstration by Chef Zheng of Noodle Q, and explore the symbolism of the monkey across different cultures at drawing stations. A martial arts demonstration by the New York Chinese Cultural Center and a Chinese Tea Ceremony station with Ten Ren Tea & Ginseng Co. (best for ages 6 and up) will also be offered as part of the festival. Over the course of the afternoon, visitors will be able to contribute to a collaborative art installation created by the contemporary Beijing artist Wu Jian’an.

In the Ruth and Harold D. Uris Center for Education, author and artist Yangsook Choi will introduce visitors to her imaginative picture books through a special reading (best for ages 6 and up). Also, Bilingual Storytime will be presented throughout the day in gallery 227, Arts of Japan, The Sackler Wing Galleries, in Mandarin, Japanese, American Sign Language, and English (best for ages 3 and up).

A full list of the programs being offered as part of Lunar New Year Festival: Year of the Monkey, along with further details and a schedule of events, is available on the Museum’s website.

The event will also be featured on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter using the hashtag #MetFest.

Exhibitions and Installations
The Museum’s Department of Asian Art marked its 100th anniversary in 2015. As part of the centennial celebration, several exhibitions are being presented over the course of a year that feature the Museum’s formidable holdings of art from across Asia. Spring 2016 offerings include Monkey Business: Celebrating the Year of the Monkey (through July 24) and The Arts of Nepal and Tibet: Recent Gifts (through January 15, 2017).

Related Asian art exhibitions that are currently on view include Korea: 100 Years of Collecting at the Met (through March 27), A Passion for Jade: The Heber Bishop Collection (through June 19), Chinese Textiles: Ten Centuries of Masterpieces from the Met Collection (through June 19), Chinese Lacquer: Treasures from the Irving Collection, 12th-18th Century (through June 19), Asian Art at 100: A History in Photographs (through May 22), Celebrating the Arts of Japan: The Mary Griggs Burke Collection (through January 22, 2017), Masterpieces of Chinese Painting from the Metropolitan Collection (through October 11), and Encountering Vishnu: The Lion Avatar in Indian Temple Drama (through June 5).

More information about special exhibitions, including sponsorship credits, can be found in the online exhibition previews on the Museum’s website.

General Event Information
Lunar New Year Festival: Year of the Monkey program information and directions to events throughout the Museum will be available at the Information Desk inside the main entrance at Fifth Avenue and 82nd Street, and in the Ruth and Harold D. Uris Center for Education, which is located near the ground-floor entrance at Fifth Avenue and 81st Street. All Lunar New Year Festival programs are free with Museum admission. Recommended Museum admission is $25 for adults, $17 for seniors (65 and over), and $12 for students. Children under 12 who are accompanied by an adult are free.

Lunar New Year Festival: Year of the Monkey is organized by the Met’s Department of Education and the Multicultural Audience Development Initiative.

About the Multicultural Audience Development Initiative
The Multicultural Audience Development Initiative began more than 15 years ago at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. It reflects the Museum’s founding mission to educate and inspire by reaching out to all of its constituencies, including the many diverse communities of the New York tristate area. Its objectives are to increase awareness of the Museum’s global collections and programs, to diversify its visitorship and Membership, and to increase participation in its programs.

Visitor Information
*Hours: As of July 1, 2013, the Main Building and The Cloisters are open 7 days a week.
Main Building

10:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.
10:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
The Cloisters museum and gardens

10:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
10:00 a.m. – 4:45 p.m.
Both locations will be closed January 1, Thanksgiving Day, and December 25, and the main building will also be closed the first Monday in May.

Recommended Admission
(Admission at the main building includes same-week admission to The Cloisters)
Adults $25.00, seniors (65 and over) $17.00, students $12.00
Members and children under 12 accompanied by an adult free
Express admission may be purchased in advance at
For More Information (212) 535 – 7710;
No extra charge for any exhibition.

Accommodations for visitors with disabilities, such as Verbal Imaging tours and Sign Language interpretation of any program, are available by request with advance notice.
For more information; (212) 650-2010 or

Click here for the Lia Chang Articles Archive and here for the Lia Chang Photography Website.

Lia Chang. Photo by Garth Kravits

Lia Chang. Photo by Garth Kravits

Lia Chang is an award-winning filmmaker, a Best Actress nominee, a photographer, and an award-winning multi-platform journalist. Lia has appeared in the films Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, The Last Dragon, Taxman and Hide and Seek. She is profiled in Examiner.comJade Magazine and

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