On January 27, MIT Lobby 10 was filled with the joyous atmosphere of Chinese New Year as 42 students from Global Language’s Chinese calligraphy class showcased their skills in the traditional art of writing spring festival couplets and the character “福” (good fortune).

Dozens of MIT community members stopped to try out writing their own characters, or to watch. The calligraphy students not only taught participants how to write characters with a brush, but also introduced them to the history and cultural significance of Chinese calligraphy.

21G.111 Chinese Calligraphy is taught by Kang Zhou and Panpan Gao. This HASS-A subject is open to all students regardless of language background or study.

Kang Zhou explained that “the purpose of the class is not just to teach the techniques of calligraphy, but to deepen understanding of Chinese culture, express emotions, and connect with others.” The class was designed to go beyond the classroom and into the community, allowing students to share their newfound skills and knowledge with others.

Zhou said that just 17 days ago “many of these students were beginners in calligraphy, with shaky hands on their first day of writing. But through their hard work and dedication, they were now able to confidently write beautiful characters and share their experiences and insights with others. One of the most rewarding aspects of learning an art is being able to share it with others, and students felt immense pride in being able to do so.”

The event was not only a celebration of the Chinese New Year, but also a way of connecting with others and building community through the arts. By writing and sharing their calligraphy, the students were able to bring together community members, visitors, and each other in a joyful and meaningful way.