OVER 100 cultural events will take center stage as the curtain is raised for the annual Suzhou Creek Culture and Arts Festival in Putuo District.
Calligraphy, paintings, traditional operas, and intangible cultural heritages are just a few of the activities available for the public at the month-long event between October 12 and November 12.
But the carnival isn’t just for the locals. Expats and those from outside of Shanghai are welcome to take part in the festival’s singing contest.
Hosted by Putuo District, this year’s cultural festival is targeted to become “a feast of culture and arts for all.
“The festival aims to enrich the residents’ lives, enhance their cultural confidence and increase the public cultural quality,” said Gu Yihong, deputy director with the district culture bureau. The festival this year is themed on the “revival of the glory along Suzhou Creek,” where many of the city’s earliest industries are based on the riverbank.
A highlight of the festival is to teach seal cutting, paper stick painting, shadow play, traditional Chinese instruments and other intangible cultural heritage activities to students at Putuo schools.
During the festival, the bureau will cooperate with Haishang Seal Engraver’s Society to establish two seal engrave bases at the Zichang Middle School and the No.4 Middle School Affiliated to East China Normal University. The traditional art of seal engrave will become one of the courses available to the students.
In October last year, the bureau signed a strategic cooperation agreement with the society. The district announced that it will provide cultural space and support to the art center. Both parties will collaborate to boost the convergence of the district’s cultural undertakings and industries to create new characteristics and highlights.
Younger students at Huimin and Xunyang elementary schools will be able to experience the paper stick painting, shadow play, Jiangnan sizhu (a form of instrumental music popular in southern regions of the Yangtze River) and other cultural heritages during the festival.
Traditional art classes
Liu Haisu Art Gallery’s Putuo branch will open arts classes on traditional Chinese painting, calligraphy, seal engraving, photography and traditional arts to children and youth.
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 training base, for instance, has been established in Putuo Youth Center for master craftsman He Keming and his art of lantern making, which is listed as an intangible cultural heritage by the city government.
Various arts education centers have been set up in schools in Yichuan Subdistrict of Putuo to teach Peking, Kunqu, Huju, Yueju and Huaiyang operas to students. The cooperation with local traditional opera troupes have cultivated a batch of opera talents.
Apart from these traditional arts, the festival also focuses on innovation and creativity.
Many outstanding designing works, selected from an art creativity competition of the 2017 Shanghai Citizenship Culture Festival, will be displayed at Putuo culture gallery in December. During the competition, which was launched on March 25, over 600 innovative artworks created by citizens have been collected through social organizations and the Internet. The winning artworks will be announced by October 31.
The district culture bureau will also hold a photo and visual arts exhibition as part of the city’s international arts festival. Citizens and young artists will be able to exchange ideas at the exhibition.
The events are designed not only to entertain residents but also to give them a stage to showcase their own talents.
The out-of-towners living, studying and working in Shanghai are invited to take part in a singing competition during the festival. Foreigners over 18 years old are also welcome to take part in the contest. Professional singers and teachers from music institutes are excluded.
The citywide singing contest is co-organized by Shanghai Musician Association, Shanghai Mass Art Center, Putuo Culture Bureau and Changfeng Subdistrict.
Participants can apply to take part in the contest at Changfeng Community Culture and Activity Center or send a singing video to an application page on Sina.com. A qualifying competition will be held on October 15 and the final contest will be staged on November 12 at the Putuo District Library. The final competition will also be broadcasted live on Sina.com.
Around 3,000 qualified singers, known as the New Shanghainese, have applied to take part in the contest, said Yang Caiyang, deputy director with the Changfeng Subdistrict.
A family reciting competition was held in Changzheng Town in August. At least two family members organize a team to recite poems about the family loves.
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, said Dong Shanshan, the training department director with the district culture gallery.