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November 19, 2019

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A stage to showcase cultural activities

How can a city be built for the people? The Pudong New Area recently revealed the answer at the Pudong Public Cultural Service Products Procurement Conference last week at the silo of Minsheng Wharf, where 1,638 cultural products were displayed.

The wharf, with its 80,000-ton silo, is believed to be the largest in East Asia.

The once rust-belt area has witnessed some ups and downs in its history but is now a popular cultural venue hosting a wide variety of events and exhibitions, which attract large crowds.

The three-day Pudong Public Cultural Service Products Procurement Conference offered companies and organizations a stage to showcase their cultural products or performances.

From government and companies to local residents, everyone who came to the conference turned the event into a grand auction.

“They could openly communicate and negotiate with one another. A local opera troupe may thus earn a chance to perform in other cities,” said an official from the conference.

“With the conference we hope to promote more cultural exchanges in the Yangtze River Delta region,” the official added.

This year, the conference proposed many new features to introduce more public culture to local residents.

More than 20 tourist companies and organizations, including Shanghai Wild Animal Park and Shanghai Haichang Ocean Park, joined the conference for the first time to encourage people to experience the wonderful charm of Pudong.

Residents could buy a one-day tour ticket at the conference for only 99 yuan (US$14).

The tour visited several of Pudong’s eye-catching landmarks, including the Minsheng Wharf silo, the British Xiangsheng Shipyard built in 1862 and the Lujiazui pedestrian overpass.

Visitors could choose from one of the city’s four iconic skyscrapers — Shanghai Tower, Oriental Pearl TV Tower, Jin Mao Tower and Shanghai World Financial Center — as the end of the journey.

Wang Xiaoying, who is in charge of Huamu Subdistrict’s cultural affairs, said the subdistrict has introduced over 700 shows to residents in recent years.

“Each day, we have two shows staged in the subdistrict hall,” said Wang. “Many of them were spotted here at the conference.”

Unlike previous conferences, this year, Pudong asked grassroots cultural groups and facilities to bring their arts with them.

Troupes and cultural facilities from local communities, towns and villages in Pudong actively engaged in the fair. Liu Lina was one of them. The millennial woman from Shuyuan Town, who runs a nail salon, formed a dance team in her spare time five years ago.

“None of the 15 dancers in our team is professional but we all like to perform,” said Liu, who revealed the team practices twice a week and puts on a show in the town at least once a month.

Liu said the conference opened a door for her team to bring the art out of Shuyuan Town to other districts and cities in the Yangtze River Delta region.

New faces were also among the audience. This year, Pudong invited local residents to the conference as “observers.”

Chen Meizhen, a 69-year-old retiree, was one of them.

Chen’s job was simple: watch as many performances as she could and pick 20 as her favorites.

“The 20 shows, products or artworks we choose help Pudong officials decide which shows, arts or productions to book when they do their purchase budget on public culture next year,” Chen said.

Chen chose painting, weaving and Huju Opera as her favorites. She said she would like to see more cultural events come to her neighbourhood in the future.

Aside from the many auctions on show, the conference also issued awards to 14 public spaces in Pudong that have helped to promote public culture. One of them was the Duoyun Books on the 52nd floor of Shanghai Tower. It is the tallest bookstore in Shanghai.

Its designer, Yu Ting, told Shanghai Daily he was more than glad that his work is now appreciated by the public.

“A good public cultural space is like a magnet,” said Yu. “It should be both functionally and visually a pleasure for people to go to.”


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