China Great Wall Society to Sign Agreement with Utah State Parks State Hosts Chinese Artists and Salt Lake City Exhibition

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Salt Lake City – A 16-member delegation from the China Great Wall Society will visit Utah to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Division of Utah State Parks and Recreation in November. The MOU is part of an international exchange program that will create a sister relationship between the Division of Utah State Parks and Recreation, Antelope Island State Park, and the Jinshanling section of the Great Wall. Entertainment begins at 12:30 p.m. on Thursday, November 1, at the Visitor Center on Antelope Island. The signing ceremony will take place at 1 p.m. Prior to the signing ceremony, Utah will host Chinese artists from the China Great Wall Academy of Painting and Calligraphy for a plein air painting excursion on Antelope Island at 9 a.m. as part of the exchange program.

“Antelope Island State Park is pleased to enter into this cooperative relationship with the China Great Wall Society,” said Fred Hayes, director of the Division of Utah State Parks and Recreation.  “We share the Society’s mission of protecting and showcasing natural landscapes for visitors, and providing hiking, photography and other recreation opportunities.”

The Utah Office of Tourism, an agency of the Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED), met with the China Great Wall Society last spring at the China Outbound Travel Mart (COTTM) in Beijing to initiate the exchange.  The Society visited Utah in June and selected Antelope Island State Park for its first MOU with an organization in the United States.  To complete this partnership, on April 6, 2013, a MOU will be signed in China with the Jinshanling Great Wall Management Office during a Utah Office of Tourism Sales Mission to China.

“We are delighted to play a role in the development of this sister relationship between Antelope Island and the China Great Wall Society because it will foster relationships with this emerging tourism market and encourage more Chinese travelers to experience Utah’s outdoor activities,” said Leigh von der Esch, managing director of the Utah Office of Tourism.  “Utah’s rugged landscapes have many similarities with the rocky terrain in Mainland China.” 

To celebrate the sister relationship, GOED, the Utah Office of Tourism, and China Great Wall Society will host a Chinese art exhibition featuring 40 works of art.  It will be held at the Joseph Smith Memorial Building, located at 15 E. South Temple in downtown Salt Lake City, on Friday, November 2 from 11 a.m. until 7 p.m.  Remarks from invited guests will be offered at 11 a.m.  The cultural art exchange will be held in the Jade, Gold, and Presidents’ Rooms on the Mezzanine Level.  It is free and open to the public. 

The China Great Wall Society was founded in 1987 under the leadership of the State Cultural Relic Bureau and specializes in exploring, studying, promoting and protecting the Great Wall.  The goal of the Society is to share the Great Wall with the world and to preserve it for future generations.  Its task is to foster traditional Chinese cultures, carry forward the Great Wall spirit and to have the Wall function as a bridge between governments and society.

In recent years, the China Great Wall Society has developed various international exchange programs. Memorandums of Understanding (MOU) concerning the protection of world heritage sites and sustainable tourism development have been signed with Egypt, Norway, Argentina, Italy, Greece, Peru, Spain, France and Scotland. 

The China Great Wall Academy of Paining and Calligraphy is an arm of the China Great Wall Society and the China Administration of Cultural Heritage.  Established in 2006, the Academy is a non-profit organization focusing on art research, communication and exhibitions. The goal of the Academy is to promote the culture of the Great Wall, often illustrated in traditional Chinese paintings and calligraphy, and to strengthen the understanding of painting and calligraphy at home and abroad.

The Academy’s membership includes more than 200 artists and members of the China Calligraphers Association and the China Artists Association.  The Academy has become an important base for the creation of Chinese painting and calligraphy art. 

Antelope Island is a serene desert island on Great Salt Lake and home to one of the largest free roaming bison herds in the United States, as well as bighorn sheep, pronghorn, mule deer and a wide variety of birds.  Island visitors may tour miles of backcountry trails on foot or mountain bike, or drive along scenic roadways to spectacular viewpoints overlooking Great Salt Lake.  Antelope Island provides access to the briny waters of Great Salt Lake, which are two to seven times saltier than the ocean. Visitors may wade and swim from island beaches, and sail and kayak from the island marina. The island hosts many other adventures, including horseback riding, kite flying festivals, trail running races, concerts, history and biology lectures, campfire programs, and guided tours. 

For more information on visiting Antelope Island State Park, contact the Davis Area Convention & Visitors Bureau at or State Parks at  or (801) 538-7220.  To contact the Utah Office of Tourism, click on or call (801) 538-1900.