In Good Company at 798 ICAF

In Good Company at 798 ICAF

Some of my favorite memories from 798 ICAF in Beijing were the times we spent with our ICAF hosts, Hattie, Sasha, and Mariana and the 9 other invited artists.

Group photo from 798 ICAF Butterfly Kisses Booth

Mariana, Nanci, Ellen, Sasha, and Hattie at our Butterfly Kisses booth at 798 ICAF

We had many opportunities to hang together at lunch, coffee breaks, took each other’s workshop when possible, and shared fun night time excursions with Hattie, Sasha, and Mariana, our ICAF hosts.

Our daily lunch at the ICAF office

Our daily lunch at the ICAF office

workshop photo from 798ICAF

Alevtina Sharapova, a painter, tapestry and fiber artist from Russia did felting with the children, and I managed to take her workshop as well. (l)Nanci, Alevtina, Alpana

Jovanka Djorovic is a painter, urban planner and architect from Serbia, currently living and working in Beijing. She and musician, vocalist and performance artist, Geraldine McEwan from England were our favorite coffee buddies.

photo from 798 ICAF coffee shop

Coffee stop with Jovanka (center) and Geraldine (right)

Geraldine and Ellen and I would also continue exploring the 798 Art District after our workshops ended and before the galleries closed. Jovanka did mixed media constructions with the children, and Geraldine’s sound mapping workshops were held next to our Butterfly Kisses Workshops; two very different art activities (think John Cage meets Mary Poppins, ok not quite, but sort of.)

Geraldine McEwan's sound mapping workshop at 798 ICAF

Geraldine McEwan’s sound mapping workshop at 798 ICAF

Artists Arturo Muela, a printmaker, sculptor and architect from Mexico did clay skulls and other figures, Nina Griffee, a make up and body painting artist originally from England gave the children an opportunity to paint wonderful imaginative designs on their arms and faces are also currently living and working in Beijing. As is Kyle Skor, an American from Minnesota whose collaborative ongoing installation with the children and their families was a joy to experience as it grew and changed from day to day.

Photo of artist Kyle Skor on site at 798 ICAF

Kyle Skor on site at 798 ICAF

Amol Saraf, an artist, designer, portrait artist, calligrapher, and mural artist among many things, and his wife Alpana Saini flew in from India and led very popular workshops in Sand Painting.

photo of Amol Saraf at 798 ICAF

Alpana and Amol getting ready for a session of sand painting with the children at 798 ICAF

Amol, Alpana, Geraldine, Ellen and I spent a great deal of time together as we were all staying at Yitel Hotel across the street from the 798 Art District.

International artists at 798 ICAF

Group shot in front of ART at 798 ICAF.
L-R: Amol Saraf, Alpana Saini, Ellen McVicker, Nanci Hersh, Geraldine McEwan

We got on fabulously from our morning breakfast buffets, art chats with Alpana’s Indian Chai tea parties in the hotel late at night and all the wonderful evening jaunts exploring Beijing.

group shot in front of Giant Egg in Beijing

Group shot in front of the National Centre for the Performing Arts (a.k.a. the Giant Egg) in Beijing


  1. liza myers
    October 27, 2015

    Such an amazing experience!!! Thanks for sharing! Lucky you, lucky kids!!!

    • Nanci Hersh
      October 29, 2015

      Thanks for your ongoing support Liza, love having you read and comment here. It was an amazing experience and am grateful to be able to share it with supportive friends.

  2. Laurette Kovary
    October 27, 2015

    Years from now you will be even more amazed at this incredible experience. Youve always been a team player and have encouraged and supported other artists so theres no surprise here that you bonded with the other creatives. Im so happy for you and this adventure. Love seeing the photos and reading about all of it.

    • Nanci Hersh
      October 29, 2015

      Laurette, you know first hand that we are blessed, fortunate, and lucky to be able to share our passion for art whether we are home – or anywhere else in the world. Thanks for reading and commenting, always appreciate your insights.

  3. Allison Hopper
    October 28, 2015

    Love reading about your trip Nanci! Such interesting people and great experience. So glad you got that opportunity. Look forward to seeing you when you return from next fun trip. Xo

  4. Nanci Hersh
    October 29, 2015

    Thanks Allison, love catching up with you, trading stories and adventures. Looking forward to seeing you soon as well. xo

  5. Amol Saraf
    January 26, 2016

    Very dear Nanci

    it was such a great experience where we got to meet great artists like you and enjoy the extraordinary creativity of the kids. It was surely one of the best times as an artist and as a person. Surely look forward to many more such experineces together..Best regards and love


    • Nanci Hersh
      January 28, 2016

      Dear Amol-meeting and getting to know Alpana and you was truly one of the highlights of our time in Beijing. Working along side you was uplifting. Looking forward to sharing more wonderful experiences together in the world. Love to you both.


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