When American philosopher John Dewey lectured at Peking University in 1919 he was impressed by both the size of his audience and its understanding of the West. He wondered if a lecture in Chinese at Columbia University, where he taught, would be understood by more than a handful of experts.

To begin rectifying this imbalance in cross-cultural understanding, Dewey and colleagues founded the China Institute in 1926. Today it remains the only institution in New York to focus solely on Chinese art, civilization and culture. It presents shows of Chinese painting, calligraphy, architecture, decorative art, folk art, photography and textile work from all periods, curated by internationally known scholars. The institute's close relationship with Chinese museums has meant that it's been able to borrow outstanding works never before seen in the West.

Also offered are guided tours to other museums and private collections containing important holdings, such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art as well as lectures on art, culture and society; Chinese-language classes; studio courses; concerts; and children's workshops.  The institute's special access to China's film archives has permitted it to screen films never distributed in the country where they were made.

Foreign-Language Programs
The institute offers language classes for Pre-K to elementary students, teens and adults. Private tutoring is also available. The Sinomateque Film Series screens Chinese-language films with subtitles.


Mandarin Chinese classes for children: The language is taught through an entertaining combination of games, songs, hands-on activities and a "whole language" approach, which enables children to learn the language as they gain familiarity with the culture. During classes, Chinese artists expose children to opera, paper folding, calligraphy and folk music.

Cultural workshops offer both parents and their children an exciting glimpse into Chinese culture and society. Activities range from hands-on crafts workshops and dance lessons to exciting musical performances and story-telling sessions.

For more information and registration, please contact Crystal Elmore at 212-744-8181, x 110 or


Discover China Through Art (DCTA), is the gallery’s innovative three-part art education program that introduces audiences to Chinese art and culture through interactive gallery tour and workshops in conjunction with gallery exhibitions. 

DCTA is specially designed to accommodate all age groups, attracting school groups ranging from pre-K to college level, as well as adult organizations.