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Syracuse Stage Writer and Director to Receive Medal of Arts from President Obama

By Staff


pingTheatre artist, writer, and director Ping Chong will be awarded the National Medal of Arts by President Obama at the White House, Thursday, Sept. 10.

Obama will present the 2014 National medals of Arts, in conjunction with the National Humanities Medals, in an East Room ceremony at the White House.

Chong has been a writer and director for two world premieres at Syracuse Stage: Tales from the Salt City (2008), and Cry for Peace: Voices from the Congo (2012), a work co-written by Kyle Bass which transferred to New York City’s La Mama Theatre.

According to theatre officials, the works have connected Syracuse Stage to the Central New York community, by featuring stories of immigrants and refugees who called Syracuse home.

Chong partnered with Syracuse University, and other organizations, in order to create dialogue for the productions.

“Over the last 24 years, I have known Ping to be a great friend, mentor, and an exceptional artist and collaborator,” Timothy Bond, producing artistic director of Syracuse Stage, stated. “There is no one more deserving of this honor.”

According to Bond, Tales from the Salt City, and Cry for Peace: Voices from the Congo, were part of Chong’s Undesirable Elements series, a series which he’d produced during a residency at Artist Space, in New York City.

Since 1992, Chong has created over 40 productions in the series, in communities around the U.S., and abroad. According to officials, real people, not actors, tell their own stories in the series, using a script based on interviews with the writers.

In addition, Chong recently described Undesirable Elements as being “about what it means to be different, something we have all experienced at one time or another.”

“It’s about giving voice to people whose voices are not heard,” he stated.

The White House event will be streamed live at WH.gov.Live. In addition, interested individuals may visit http://arts.gov/news/2015/president-obama-award-2014-national-medals-arts for additional information regarding the ceremony.