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Artists in Residence: the Center for the Promotion of Arts & Culture, Chiang Mai University

Pictures of the Center for the Promotion of Arts and Culture, Chiang Mai University, Thailand.The Center for the Promotion of Arts & Culture, Chiang Mai University welcomes visitors of all nationalities. The location of center is opposite to Tohn Payom market. Though it is a university agency, it is open daily for visitors to view the collection of eight vintage buildings dating back 100 years. Perhaps visitors will choose to receive the treatment benefits of the model spa and study center. Artists in residence offer daily classes in paper cutting for festive decorations, batik design and cards making using handmade paper. Two small gift shops offer rare, unusual one of a kind items appealing to shoppers.

Prof. Amnuay Gunta-in is currently the director of the center. The mission he envisions galvanizes the strength of Lanna culture for the climate of ongoing study, research, treatment with the support of local and government organizations.

A four year plan is devoted to future improvement of the 20 year old site. Since then the unit has not had improvement in the facilities. Now is the time to improve and move in a unified direction to become individual and have its own identity. The results will benefit the academic and public community. The center should be self reliant and self sustaining by following a modern organization plan calling for clear, transparent transactions and team work.

The management mechanism to be instituted is "MISS" calling for : Modern organization, Identify objectives and excellence, Service knowledge, and Self reliant. "Miss" emphasizes the qualities found in the woman of today.

The Center for the Promotion of Arts & Culture was started in 1988 (2528). (The editor remembers the activities when first opened such as folk arts bazaar, folk wisdom, jazz concert and the worldwide sacred music festival. By the way, we can look forward to the four country Buddhism music festival next planned for Dec 2007)

The Center receives input from eight northern provinces with the goal to improve the environment. CMU was appointed as advisor to the group in 2536.

As a facilitator of culture, the list of successful activities that have taken place since 2004 is impressive such as: Greater Mekong music festival, Three country folk dance and music, Indochina puppet festival, Mr. Saxman and Autoban jazz festival, Vietnam University exchange, Hanoi Classic orchestra, Children's education for Queen's birthday, Japanese puppet festival, and Taiwan modern art exhibition. Art exhibition of artist from Stockholm whose goal is to bring Westerners to understand Buddhism through his sculpture inspired by his walks through Thailand. Annually organized event is the "Children's Awareness of Environment" for Kru Bar Srivichai to clean up. Doi Suthep. Participating in the most recent event were 100 youth from city wide schools and 70 students from CMU. Other wholly Thai participation is the "Follow the path of artists from the past", Candle festival presentation for Khao Paansa and the Songkran Parade.

The Study Center goal is proving to be intellectual focus as well as creative. It offers Lanna language teaching for 2 hours in evening Monday, Wednesday and Friday. The folk music heritage theory and practice is taught by Ajarn Sunan who has won award from the Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn. The arts center teaches the public to make new year cards and other products on weekends. The students donate 50% of their finished work to the center to sell and raise money. Two Thai fonts were designed at the Study Center, namely, "Mangrai" and Lanna Tilok "LNTilok", both are copyrighted can be downloaded from internet.

The most recent results of the program assessment of The Center for the Promotion of Arts & Culture was "Dee Marg". The assessment team included professors both within and experts outside of CMU.
There are several buildings at the center's site. The Colonial House is the first house to be seen. It was built by Mr. Arthur Lionel Queripel, an Englishman but a naturalized Thai citizenship who loved Siam, art and sport. The government bought his land and house while his children were living due to the construction of the university. Other five northern style, "Lanna", houses date from 65 to 110 years. Some houses were donated by the great grandchildren of the former owners Paya Ponglangka and Luang Anusarn. Some sources are known art and culture lovers - Ajarn Sirichai, Ajarn Withee, Mr. Harry Wong (Singaporean). Other supporters were foundations - Jumpot & Pantip, Yakasaki of Kyoto Zaika University, and Dr.Vinit and Khunying Pannee Vinit-Chaipaak.

Two artists as living culture makers produce their art every day. One artist is a batik specialist and the other artist is a paper cutting folk artist. Both offer lessons to the public.

The most recent establishment is the model spa study center. Producing quality therapists and research for old knowledge of herbs massage and aromatherapy documents. The support came from the Thin Thai Ngarm Rotary Club.

Additional scheduled activities: The Lanna Artists exhibition featuring live demonstrations organized November 2006 and the Lanna music concert set for Dec 2006. The Four country Buddhism music is next planned for Dec 2007.

Visitors will have a guide to explain the history of the buildings and the ongoing activities. For deeper knowledge the public are invited to use the library. The area is open for khantoke dinners or events by the public. The Lanna Study Center welcomes those to study. Contact for information, or to reserve vintage homes for private parties Monday to Friday business hours at 053-943624.

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