Curtains go up for the annual cultural and art fest

Over 200 cultural events, including concerts, exhibitions and public lectures, are taking center stage for the annual Suzhou Creek Culture and Arts Festival in Putuo District.
Ti Gong

A concert on September 6 kicks off this year’s Suzhou Creek Culture and Arts Festival, an annual cultural feast in Putuo.

Over 200 cultural events, including concerts, exhibitions and public lectures, are taking center stage for the annual Suzhou Creek Culture and Arts Festival in Putuo District.

Seal engraving, paintings, traditional operas and intangible cultural heritages are among the activities available for the public at the month-long event from September 6 to October 11.

The carnival will be held along Suzhou Creek, 14 kilometers of which run through Putuo and which was the center of early industrial development in the area.

This year’s cultural festival will showcase the charms of the Suzhou Creek section of Putuo and bring traditional cultural feasts to communities as well as celebrate the 40th anniversary of China’s reform and opening-up.

A “Suzhou Creek Study” project has been established to encourage residents to read and offer a number of reading spaces and services. The Putuo government aims to create a brick-and-mortar reading space along with several community libraries by 2020.

The district has invited Wu Chao, a noted calligrapher and the great grandson of renowned painter Wu Changshuo (1844-1927), to the study to give a lecture on painting and calligraphy. Leading Peking Opera performer Hu Xuan was also invited to speak.

A cluster of museums along the creek will hold various cultural activities.

A junior creative calligraphy and painting competition, an exhibition about the brocade of China’s ethnic minorities, as well as a bronze badges exhibition to commemorate the reform and opening up are being held at riverside museums.

They include the Shanghai Textiles Museum, Shanghai Yuan Dynasty Water Gate Museum, Shanghai Mint Co and the privately-owned Suning Art Museum.

Several tours and visits among these museums will be organized.

Putuo has a long tradition of placing a high premium on improving the cultural soft power of its residents, according to the district government.

In recent years, the district has strengthened public cultural services, especially the building of community cultural facilities, branding and the protection of cultural heritage.

A highlight of the festival will be lessons on seal carving, paper stick painting, shadow play, traditional Chinese instruments and other intangible cultural heritage activities for students at Putuo schools. The second batch of seal cutting centers on campuses are being unveiled during the festival this year.

Two seal engraving centers at the Zichang Middle School and the No. 4 Middle School Affiliated with the East China Normal University have been established. The traditional art of seal engraving has become one of the courses available to the students.

Cultural activities are also being promoted at commercial complexes, campuses, office buildings, communities and neighborhoods.

Winning singers of a singing competition among out-of-towners and expats living, studying and working in Shanghai will perform at Putuo communities. Traditional Chinese opera festival and reciting competitions will be held to encourage locals to take more active part in the cultural activities.

Various concerts, including some from famous bands from abroad such as a female chorus from Latvia and a jazz band from Italy will be held in shopping centers.

Citizens are invited to take part in a singing competition to celebrate the nation’s achievements during the four decades of reform and opening up. The winners and participants will sing together at the closing ceremony of the festival.

A writing contest, co-organized by the Shanghai Writers’ Association and themed on the city’s great changes, is also being held. It has attracted over 3,700 participants, ranging in age from 8 to 98.

As part of the Shanghai International Arts Festival, the Suzhou Creek Culture and Arts Festival has become a popular brand in the city and the Yangtze River Delta region.

The culture and arts feast for the public incorporates performances, competitions, reading activities, cultural forums and exhibitions to showcase the cultural development of the Suzhou Creek as well as enrich the residents’ lives, according to the Putuo government.

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