Shandong Special: Arts 'by the people and for the people'
The 10th China Arts Festival has set an example for how to stage a national-level event in a down-to-earth way, said a senior cultural official during the festival's closing ceremony on Oct 26 in Qingdao, Shandong province.
"The festival enabled as many people as possible to enjoy artistic efforts. It also provided rare opportunities for art groups to find markets," said Culture Minister Cai Wu.
More than 600 arts companies attended the Performing Arts Products Fair held during the 16-day festival, when contracts for 86 programs valued at 900 million yuan ($147 million) were signed.
Yu Jian from the Shandong Performing Arts Group noted that "more art programs are being staged to wider markets as China's cultural reform deepens".
"Meanwhile, more art companies have been established providing professional services for art groups."
Guo Shuqing, governor of Shandong, said the festival was "made by the people and for the people". A total of 150 exhibitions were staged for free.
The most popular was the European Classics Exhibition that received 13,000 visits every day on average since its opening on Oct 15.
The exhibition featured the Lucan self-portrait by Leonardo da Vinci and more than 350 works by other renowned artists including Michelangelo Schiavoni, Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dali. Its run was extended to Nov 16 to cater to the huge number of visitors.
The event also presented 2,000 performances that ranged from symphonies and orchestras to dances, musicals, operas and ballets.
Tickets for these performances were as low as 20 yuan ($3.29). More than 20,000 tickets were distributed for free to migrant workers, senior citizens, students and those with physical disabilities.
Among the performances, 87 competed for the 14th Wenhua Awards, the top arts award granted to professional performers by the Ministry of Culture.
Fourteen shows including the Peking opera Ruifuxiang, the Kunqu opera Dream of the Red Chamber and the Qinqiang opera The Story of Xijing won overall awards.
Created by the Shandong Peking Opera Theater, Ruifuxiang tells the story of how a time-honored cloth brand survived the hard times of the late Qing Dynasty (1644-1911).
On the last day of the festival, 21 artists including Yin Xiumei, Zhang Jian and Ruan Yuqun announced the winners of the Wenhua performance awards.
The next China Arts Festival will be held in Shaanxi province in 2016.
Wenhua Award winner Children Hoping to Fly, a drama by Beijing Children's Art Troupe. Wu Siqiang / for China Daily
(China Daily 10/30/2013 page12)