Why does an American-born Chinese philanthropist want to help young Chinese in America reconnect with their roots? Why is that important? What seeded that passion?
Tune into my conversation with Carolyn Hsu-Balcer in Episode #3 “Reconnecting with Your Roots.”
Carolyn Hsu-Balcer is a designer, philanthropist, and art collector based in Los Angeles and New York.
Having lived in Hong Kong, Thailand, and the Philippines, she returned to America (her birthplace) obligingly for college. Her mother told her America is her future because they didn’t have a home in China anymore.
How did Carolyn’s Chinese parents shape her love for country, history, art and culture? Why was Carolyn so inspired by her great-granduncle Dr. Kuo Ping-Wen - the first Chinese to have earned a PhD in America??
Why does Carolyn believe young Chinese in America should become global-minded?
One In a Billion Theme Song by Brad McCarthy Youk Ra Lom Ai Oh by Les Cartes Postales Sonores Lullaby by the Ghost in Your Piano A Yankees Southern Blues by HoliznaCC0 Mountain Monk C by Lobo Loco Driving Through Tunnels by Daniel Birch The Armys March by MMFFF The Things That Connect Us by Independent Music Licensing Collective
Carolyn graduated from Wheaton College (Mass.) with a BA in Economics and a minor in Chinese Language. After working as a financial analyst on Wall Street and as a Retail Product Developer, Carolyn launched SnoPea Inc. in 1997, a baby clothes company based in New York. SnoPea manufactures and markets infantwear for sale online and in specialty stores across the US, Canada and Japan.
Carolyn has worked to foster Sino-American understanding through education and culture. She has organized seminars on Education in China at major universities in the US and China.
She supports educational scholarships at universities in Shanghai, Nanjing and Taiwan, and at rural schools in Yunnan Province in China. In 2008, she received the Blue Cloud Award for outstanding achievement from the China Institute in New York.
Carolyn has co-edited and co-published the historical biographies Kuo Ping Wen Scholar, Reformer, Statesman (2016) and C.T. Wang: Looking Back and Looking Forward (2008); the artbook A Token of Elegance (2015), a historical and photo survey of cigarette holders as objets de vertu; and Chow! Secrets of Chinese Cooking (2020), an updated edition of a timeless classic about Chinese cuisine and culture and winner of a 2021 Gourmand World Cookbook Award.
Carolyn has organized ground-breaking exhibits of Chinese art including Xu Bing Tobacco Project Virginia (2011 VMFA), Light Before Dawn (2013 Asia Society Hong Kong), Blooming in the Shadows (2011 China Institute NY), Ming Cho Lee: A Retrospective (2011 Ningbo Museum), and Oil and Water: Re-Interpreting Ink (2014 MOCA NY).
She has sponsored the publication of a 13-volume catalogue of the works of the Wuming group of Chinese artists, and the publication of “Ai Wei Wei: New York Photographs 1983-1993”.
Carolyn has produced award-winning documentaries on China and Chinese art, including “Above the Drowning Sea”, “The No Name Painting Association” and “Xu Bing Tobacco Project Virginia”.
Carolyn is currently a member of the Board of Overseers at the MFA Boston, the Guggenheim Museum Asian Art Circle, the Board of Directors of the Wolfsonian-FIU, the Arts Council of the Asia Society, the Board of Friends of Channel 13, and honorary trustee of the Ningbo Museum (China) where she has forged ties with American art & cultural institutions to bring curatorial training to the Ningbo Museum.
Carolyn and her husband have assembled important collections of Chinese Contemporary art, Japanese Shin-Hanga, Inuit art and objets de vertu, which have been the subjects of numerous publications and exhibitions worldwide, including at the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, The Louvre (Paris), Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Aldrich Museum, Wellin Museum, Cooper Hewitt, Asia Society Hong Kong, Lenbachhaus Museum Munich, and the Taipei Fine Arts Museum.
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