Jing’an cultural development in Shanghai includes museums and theatre

Jing’an cultural development in Shanghai aims to rival Broadway and the West End, with programme of renovation and cultural investment.

One planned project is the transformation of Jiangning Road into a performance hub to rival London’s West End or New York’s Broadway.

In a report in Shine , Shi Yu, an urban planner from the Jing’an Culture Bureau, says:

“We will expand our customer base by introducing more shows for the senior citizens in the area. Also, within five years, we will restore historic buildings near Shanghai Art Theater and turn them into new cultural landmarks.”

Yuanli Pawnshop museum

As part of the area’s restoration, the historic 97-year-old Yuanli Pawnshop will open to the public as a museum later this year.

In 1943, it was Shanghai’s biggest pawnshop, with a 10 square metre vault fitted with steel doors that were 50 cm thick, needing the combined efforts of two men to open them. After closing in 1945, the building was divided into flats.

In 2011, the district government declared the building to be a historical and cultural relic, and as such it survived demolition during a programme of urban renewal.

Renovation is in progress, and includes restoration of the building’s carved façade and Western-inspired Roman pillars.

Inside, modern water and electricity systems will be put in place, and the Yuanli Pawnshop’s interior will be recreated, demonstrating the shop’s part in the city’s financial industry.

Further museums, galleries and ‘red revolutionary’ memorials are planned, cultural officials report.

Additionally, historic buildings in the shikumen (stone-gate) neighborhood, Junyili, will be renovated and given a new purpose. Details are still being discussed, but plans include turning the former home of celebrated artist Wu Changshuo into a memorial museum, and a reimagining of the Marie’s paint factory workshops to showcase the Mini brand.

“Red Tourism” is a growing trend in China. In December Wanda Group announced plans for a 12 billion yuan (US$1.74 billion) theme park in the Communist Party’s revolutionary birthplace, Yan’an.

Image: Haluk Comertel

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