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November 02, 2005

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Publication Date: Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Have sketchpads, will travel Have sketchpads, will travel (November 02, 2005)

Art students from Beijing stop by Allied Arts Guild and draw

When 18 art students from Beijing reflect on their recent two-week visit to California, they'll have memories of Menlo Park, including the Allied Arts Guild.

The students did some sketching at Allied Arts on Saturday, August 20, then adjourned to Fremont Park for a picnic lunch.

The visit was arranged by William Lee, a director of the Burlingame-based 1990 Institute, and artist Kim Carlisle, who has a studio at Allied Arts. Mr. Lee also arranged for 15 students from Hillview Middle School to paint a mural at a children's center in Beijing last spring.

At the picnic, the Almanac asked the Chinese students for their impressions.

"You see that the sky is blue and there are many trees (and) many trash cans," said Eva Zhai, 11. She added that she likes American breakfasts, particularly orange juice and toast.

"It's all so quiet and clean," said 17-year-old Lei Zhen, who said he'd like to stay. "We don't have the same kinds of parks in my city, and we don't have parties on the grass. Everybody in Beijing, they work hard, very hard. We don't have free time."

A typical day for Zhen is 11 hours in school, then three to four hours of home study. On weekends, he takes drawing and piano classes.

Asked about the food, Zhen said he didn't like it, and asked: "Do American's like sugar?" He recalled a recent anecdote in which the students said that people considered fat in China would be thin over here.

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