City of cul­ture

Shanghai strength­ens its soft power with new batch of mu­se­ums, li­braries and art fes­ti­vals

Global Times – Metro Shanghai - - FRONT PAGE - By Qi Xi­jia

From the ground­break­ing of the new east branch of Shanghai Mu­seum and the new east branch of Shanghai Li­brary in Pudong New Area, to the open­ing of the new Shanghai Orches­tra Mu­sic Mu­seum in Oc­to­ber, 2017 has wit­nessed the launch of a batch of new cul­tural fa­cil­i­ties as Shanghai con­tin­ues to strive to strengthen its soft power.

“In the past five years, great progress has been made in the con­struc­tion of cul­tural fa­cil­i­ties at all lev­els in Shanghai,” Yu Xi­ufen, di­rec­tor of Shanghai Mu­nic­i­pal Ad­min­is­tra­tion of Cul­ture, Ra­dio, Film & TV said Mon­day. “The lay­out of a public cul­tural in­fra­struc­ture has been laid in place, thus lay­ing a strong foun­da­tion for the con­struc­tion of an in­ter­na­tional cul­tural me­trop­o­lis.”

Yu said that Shanghai is im­prov­ing the con­struc­tion of a “fif­teen-minute cul­tural cir­cle,” a concept that aims to en­gage the public in cul­tural ac­tiv­i­ties within a mere 15 min­utes’ walk from their home or work. Thus far, Shanghai boasts 77 art galleries, 125 mu­se­ums and 240 li­braries, a large number of them with free ad­mis­sion.

In terms of art galleries, the past five years have also seen a number of newly con­structed gallery open­ings across the city, in­clud­ing China Art Mu­seum, Power Sta­tion of Art, Liu Haisu Art Mu­seum, Long Mu­seum and Yuz Mu­seum Shanghai.

“Shanghai puts on around 500 art ex­hi­bi­tions each year, dou­ble the number five years ago. At­ten­dance has also tripled from five years ago, reach­ing 5 mil­lion vis­its ev­ery year,” Yu said, adding that the next pro­ject in Shanghai’s pipe­line is the Cheng Shifa art mu­seum, which is ex­pected to open in 2019.

Re­lo­cat­ing to the sub­urbs

Over 80 per­cent of Shanghai’s 125 mu­se­ums in the city are free to the public. On av­er­age, ev­ery 200,000 res­i­dents can share a mu­seum. There are also 240 li­braries in the city, with an av­er­age of 100,000 res­i­dents per li­brary.

In terms of cin­e­matic and the­atri­cal per­for­mances, Shanghai boasts the most cine­mas and film screens na­tion­wide. By Au­gust of this year, Shanghai had 293 cine­mas and 1,672 film screens in op­er­a­tion, a 40 per­cent and 52 per­cent in­crease re­spec­tively compared with five years ago.

In re­cent years, Shanghai con­structed over 20 new the­aters, in­clud­ing Shanghai Cul­ture Square, Shanghai Sym­phony Hall and other small­er­scale the­aters. In 2016, Shanghai’s 50 ma­jor pro­fes­sional the­aters pro­duce over 9,000 per­for­mances that were viewed by nearly 6 mil­lion peo­ple.

However, a char­ac­ter­is­tic of the next round of de­vel­op­ment is to re­lo­cate Shanghai’s the­ater re­sources to the out­skirts of the city in or­der to lay a solid foun­da­tion for sub­ur­ban res­i­dents to en­joy the 20th China Art Fes­ti­val in 2019.

Clouds of cul­ture

Be­sides the con­struc­tion of cul­tural fa­cil­i­ties, Shanghai is also build­ing an on­line cul­tural ser­vice plat­form. In 2016, the city launched an app named Cul­ture Cloud, China’s very first pro­vin­cial-level dig­i­tal plat­form for cul­ture ser­vice.

So far, the app has up­loaded over 223,000 pieces of cul­tural ac­tiv­ity in­for­ma­tion cov­er­ing over 500 galleries, li­braries, ex­hi­bi­tions and com­mu­nity cul­ture cen­ters. Over 1.7 mil­lion users have reg­is­tered with the app to re­ceive con­ve­nient and up-to­date in­for­ma­tion about local cul­tural and art ac­tiv­i­ties.

With Cul­ture Cloud in ser­vice for over one year, Yu con­cluded its function with three words: “ac­cu­racy, con­ve­nience and sat­is­fac­tion.”

Yu added that, based on big data collection, the app can de­tect any de­fi­cien­cies or needs of the public while help­ing re­lated au­thor­i­ties pin­point public de­mand through the de­sign, or­ga­niz­ing and pro­mot­ing of cul­tural ac­tiv­i­ties.

The 19th China Shanghai In­ter­na­tional Arts Fes­ti­val (CSIAF) will re­turn to the city in Oc­to­ber. Speak­ing about high­lights of this year’s fes­ti­val, Yu said “peo­ple­cen­tered” will still be the concept of the fes­ti­val.

At­tract­ing younger au­di­ence

Es­tab­lished in 1999, the an­nual CSIAF has grown into a sig­nif­i­cant plat­form for cul­tural ex­change and one of the world’s lead­ing arts fes­ti­vals.

“Break­ing the fences of the­aters and walk­ing to the public ar­eas has been an important com­po­nent and char­ac­ter­is­tic of CSIAF,” Yu said.

To at­tract younger au­di­ence and cul­ti­vate the artis­tic and crit­i­cal think­ing of the next gen­er­a­tion, the arts fes­ti­val will es­tab­lish a the­ater view­ing del­e­ga­tion com­prised of univer­sity and high school stu­dents who will be able to par­tic­i­pate and select their fa­vorite art works while sub­mit­ting their feed­back to the or­ga­niz­ers.

“In the fu­ture we will con­tinue to up­hold and deepen this ini­tia­tive. In the long run it will not only cul­ti­vate a new gen­er­a­tion of young art au­di­ence for Shanghai, but also make us know more about younger au­di­ence and the gen­eral public with their rec­om­men­da­tions and re­quire­ments, in or­der to carry this fes­ti­val fur­ther,”

Yu said.

Photo: CFP

Vis­i­tors en­ter Shanghai Mu­seum.

Pho­tos: CFP

(Top) A wo­man brows­ing an art gallery in Shanghai; Chil­dren visit Shanghai Ori­en­tal Art Cen­ter in Au­gust.

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