The Getty Center
Family festival at the Getty Center

Family festivals offer a day of celebration and discovery inspired by exhibitions at the Getty Center. Each unique festival features performances by local dance and music groups, storytelling, art-making workshops, and gallery activities.

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Family Festival celebrating
Cave Temples of Dunhuang and Traversing the Globe through Illuminated Manuscripts

Date: Saturday, June 11, 2016
Time: 10:00 a.m.–6:00 p.m.
Admission: Free; no ticket required.

Navigate the myriad cultures of the Silk Road and beyond in this family festival inspired by the exhibitions Cave Temples of Dunhuang: Buddhist Art on China's Silk Road and Traversing the Globe Through Illuminated Manuscripts. With hands-on workshops and interactive events, you can make your own book, learn how to write a couple of Chinese characters, witness the beauty of calligraphy from the Middle Kingdom, be entranced by stories of Buddha in animal forms, and feel the world's interconnectedness through music and dance from China to Peru.


Tzvetanka and Ivan Varimezovi with Ivanka Paunova
10:30–11:15 a.m. and 3:15–4:00 p.m.

Come hear traditional Bulgarian folk music, and if you're brave enough, learn some folk dances with this world-renowned trio of Bulgarian folk musicians. Ivan and Tzvetanka Varimezovi, widely regarded as living masters of the Bulgarian folk tradition, will be joined by Ivanka Paunova, one of the preeminent choral conductors in Bulgaria. Known for their complex, polyphonic vocal arrangements, and their expertise in Bulgarian folk instruments from the bagpipes to the gadulka, this group will introduce you to a side of Bulgarian culture you never knew existed.

Spring Thunder Music Association
Noon–1:00 p.m.

This Monterey Park-based ensemble was founded in 1980 with hopes of bringing the sounds of traditional Chinese music to Southern California. Their mission was a success, spawning an ensemble consisting of more than 30 accomplished musicians from Mainland China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong. Their musical styles are pulled from all parts of China, employing traditional Chinese instruments, and comprising both solo and ensemble performances. If you ever wanted to hear the dizi (flute), pipa (lute), huqins (fiddle), yangqin (dulcimer), and ancient guqin (zither) all at the same time, then this is your chance.

Raices Peruanas
1:45–2:30 p.m and 4:45–5:45 p.m.

Feel free to dance along as this group takes you on a tour of their native Peru. Raices Peruanas is a cultural institution dedicated to spreading the Peruvian culture through song and dance. The group's members include native-born Peruvians, as well as American performers of Peruvian descent, creating a rich, all-encompassing blend of their shared culture. The performance includes two traditional Peruvian dances that originated in the Andes mountains, as well as Marinera Norteña, the national dance of Peru. In between, musicians will be performing traditional Peruvian folk songs.


Music of China Ensemble
11:15 a.m.–12:00 p.m. and 2:45–3:30 p.m.

Playing with traditional Chinese wind and string instruments, this group performs pieces all across the Chinese tradition–from Kun opera of the 15th century to modern compositions to traditional silk-and-bamboo music from Shanghai. Led by Li Chi, one of the world's most accomplished erhu (two-string bowed fiddle) players and adjunct professor of ethnomusicology at UCLA, this ensemble is committed to honoring every aspect of Chinese music's past and present.

Stories of the Cave Temples
1:15–2:00 p.m. and 4:15–5:00 p.m.

Inspired by the very stories stunningly rendered on the cave temple walls, dancers and musicians from UCLA's Department of World Arts and Cultures will take viewers on a journey through three stages of the Buddha's existence: his past life as a wise and kindhearted multicolored deer, his path to Enlightenment, and his teachings as portrayed in the cave paintings and the Buddhist scriptures. Just as the cave paintings showcase artistry from across Eurasia, this presentation combines the song, movement, and images from China, India, and the Middle East in a unique Los Angeles context. Children and adults alike are invited to participate in the interactive portions of the performance. Presented in collaboration with the UCLA Confucius Institute.


Artist Demonstration with Tang Qingnian: The Virtue of Brush and Ink
11:00 a.m.–1:00 p.m. and 2:00–4:00 p.m.

Contemporary artist, art critic, and international curator Tang Qingnian will give an introduction to the art of Chinese calligraphy and ink painting. The artist will share some of his recent ink-based artwork, including traditional calligraphy and more avant-garde mixed-media works, and introduce the art form's key aesthetic and conceptual elements. Presented in collaboration with the UCLA Confucius Institute.

10:00 a.m.–5:30 p.m.

Whirlwind Binding (Xuanfeng Zhuang) with Erin Zamrzla
The Whirlwind Binding is one of the unique bindings discovered among the Dunhuang treasures. The pages are bound together and then rolled up, resembling a scroll. With a few simple materials, you can create your very own Whirlwind-Bound Book. The handmade papers are a great place to stamp the date or practice your calligraphy.

Calligraphy Exploration Station
Try your hand at shufa, the Chinese art of calligraphy. For centuries, Chinese artists and literati have used three simple tools—the maobi brush, black ink, and rice paper—to create dazzling works of art employing a wide range of forms and techniques. Museum goers of all ages are invited to freely experiment and explore with real Chinese maobi brushes and ink at this open calligraphy workshop. Volunteers from UCLA will help those interested in learning traditional brushstrokes and simple Chinese characters. Presented in collaboration with the UCLA Confucius Institute.

Postcard Workshop
Using colorful markers and stamps create a one-of-a-kind postcard to send to friends and family from Los Angeles to China. We supply the stamps and mail it for you!


Singing Bowls in the Garden
11 a.m.–4:00 p.m.

In celebration of the Cave Temples of Dunhuang, sound therapy practitioners from Los Angeles's Seicho Foundation will activate several areas in the lower Getty garden with singing bowls. Practitioners will play bowls while individuals and families wander in and out of the circles, sitting, standing, or lying amongst the bowls to experience their resonance and vibrations. Additionally, hands-on experiences will be offered and visitors will be invited to try their hands coaxing melodic tones from the bowls.

The Family Festival is produced for the J. Paul Getty Museum by Community Arts Resources.

Most recently in the series

Family Festival celebrating In Focus: Animalia
October 4, 2015
Explore your animal nature at this daylong family festival celebrating the exhibition In Focus: Animalia. Transform yourself with painted whiskers and spots and build a headdress based on your favorite creature. Embrace your wild side through storytelling, games, and workshops at this free, interactive event.

Family Festival celebrating In Focus: Play
March 28, 2015
We're turning the Getty Center into a gigantic playground for this daylong festival celebrating the simple act of play in all of its forms. From hula hoops to dance workshops, and from chess masters to checkers, there's something for everyone in this fun-filled day. Storytelling and music mix with circus acts, board games, pick-up sticks, and the Getty's first ping-pong party. Get your game face on!

Family Festival celebrating Chivalry in the Middle Ages
September 20, 2014
Travel with your imagination to the age of chivalry in this daylong festival celebrating knights in armor, ladies of the court and all things noble, inspired by the exhibition Chivalry in the Middle Ages. Listen to tales of Arthur's Round Table and deeds of great bravery through age-old stories and myths. Watch as a master blacksmith demonstrates how to forge a suit of armor, design a family coat of arms, and decorate a goblet for your own royal feast.

Family Festival celebrating A Royal Passion: Queen Victoria and Photography
April 12, 2014
Hear ye! Hear ye! Her royal majesty Queen Victoria invites young and old alike to journey to her 19th-century realm via the magical world of photography and the excitement of a family festival. Visitors can enjoy the majestic bagpipe sounds of the Queen's beloved Scotland, sing along to boisterous English music hall tunes, revel in the topsy-turvy world of Gilbert and Sullivan operas, and have pictures taken to create a personal "carte de visite." Girls and boys can even make their own royal crown at a hands-on workshop. Kids of all ages can remember the day for the rest of his or her reign with a photo album of this royal visit to the Getty Center.

Family Festival celebrating Canterbury and St. Albans: Treasures from Church and Cloister
October 19, 2013
Make the pilgrimage to Canterbury at this day-long immersive festival and be transported back to the medieval world. Experience the music and dance of Chaucer's time with LA-based Capella-Cordina, Brigid's Daughters and Ciaramella. Discover the richness of the Canterbury Tales through acclaimed performers We Tell Stories and David Prather, and create your own 21st-century version of a stained-glass window at one of the hands-on workshops.

Family Festival Celebrating Gardens of the Renaissance
June 8, 2013
Celebrate the Gardens of the Renaissance in this free daylong family festival. Create a garden of your very own or fashion a floral wreath at one the interactive workshops. Delight in the sounds of madrigals from the 15th and 16th centuries or listen to tales of distant kingdoms with renowned storytellers.

Family Festival Celebrating Looking East: Rubens's Encounter with Asia
April 13, 2013
Experience Korean culture in this family festival inspired by the exhibition Looking East: Rubens's Encounter with Asia. Master choreographers Kim Eung Hwa, Kwan Gyu Lim, and Don Kim present their world-class dance companies. Make your own charm, propeller, or Korean headdress at interactive workshops led by the Paper Culture Foundation.

Family Festival Celebrating Herb Ritts: L.A. Style and Portraits of Renown: Photography and the Cult of Celebrity
June 9, 2012
Delve into the world of celebrity, image, photography, and Los Angeles at this free daylong family festival inspired by the exhibitions Herb Ritts: L.A. Style and Portraits of Renown: Photography and the Cult of Celebrity. Participants designed a magazine cover with a photo of themself as the featured celebrity, learned how to vogue like Madonna, and danced to the sounds of Los Angeles at the close of the 20th century.

Pacific Standard Time Family Festival
October 22, 2011
Inspired by art in L.A., this daylong festival invited a new generation of local artists to reinterpret the creative legacy of artists featured in the Pacific Standard Time initiative. Guests discovered special performances and unexpected installations by Machine Project, Kim Ye, and other local artists, made their own mail art, helped to recreate a version of Di Suvero's Peace Tower with Becca Lofchie, and so much more at this only-in-Los Angeles event! This event was part of Pacific Standard Time at the Getty Center.

Family Festival Celebrating Gods of Angkor: Bronzes from the National Museum of Cambodia
June 4, 2011
Visitors experienced the beauty and wonder of Cambodia in this daylong celebration complementing the exhibition Gods of Angkor: Bronzes from the National Museum of Cambodia. This festival featured traditional Cambodian music and dance performances, hands-on workshops, storytelling with Sheetal Gandhi, and a fashion show featuring traditional Cambodian clothing.

Family Festival Celebrating Photography from the New China and Felice Beato: A Photographer on the Eastern Road
March 19, 2011
Visitors discovered the richness and beauty of the ancient empires of India, Japan, and China as well as recent explosions in artistic creativity. This festival featured traditional Chinese opera, Chinese folktales told by a master storyteller, and the amazing music and dance of these vibrant cultures. Inspired by Felice Beato: A Photographer on the Eastern Road and Photography from the New China.

Family Festival Celebrating Leonardo da Vinci and the Art of Sculpture: Inspiration and Innovation
June 5, 2010
Visitors entered the world of Leonardo da Vinci and Italian culture in this daylong celebration with music, theater, storytelling, and interactive workshops. Featured were the tale of Pinocchio as performed by Will & Company, the timeless magic of commedia dell'arte in The World on the Moon directed by Orlando Pabotoy, folk music by Musicàntica, story teller Carl Weintraub as Leonardo da Vinci, and art-making workshops including making a sketchbook inspired by Leonardo's drawings, creating a maquette of an equestrian monument, making a frame and designing a postcard. Inspired by the exhibition Leonardo da Vinci and the Art of Sculpture: Inspiration and Invention.

Family Festival Celebrating French Art and Culture
September 12, 2009
Vive la France! Visitors enjoyed a day in the Gallic countryside with this Family Festival, which featured the chanteuse Jessica Fichot as well as the cosmopolitan sounds of Jean-Paul Monsché. The event also featured folktales and the giant fantastic creatures by Dragon Knights. Inspired by two exhibitions: Capturing Nature's Beauty: Three Centuries of French Landscapes and Cast in Bronze: French Sculpture from Renaissance to Revolution.

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