Reports

    New York's Lincoln Center To Advise New Performing Arts Venue In Tianjin

    At the new arts center, which is due to open in 2015, Lincoln Center will recommend artistic programming, propose an economic model for the center's operations, establish a design and construction process, and provide staff training.
    Jing DailyAuthor
      Published   in Lifestyle

    Performing Arts Initiatives Increasing Along With Viewing Appetite Of Cultured Audiences, New Collectors#

    Artist rendering of the Yujiapu area

    Artinfo reports today that New York's famed Lincoln Center has signed a three-year binding agreement to serve as a paid consultant for a new performing arts center to be built in Tianjin, China's fifth largest city. The arts center, which is due to be built in Yujiapu, the financial center of the Binhai New Area of Tianjin, will open in 2015. According to the New York Times, Lincoln Center will recommend artistic programming, propose an economic model for the center's operations, establish a design and construction process, and provide staff training.

    While the binding agreement has not yet been formally agreed upon, Lincoln Center and the state-owned Tianjin Innovative Finance Investment Company signed a memorandum of understanding at a ceremony last week that included performances by pianist Emanuel Ax and Jie Yuan, a Chinese pianist currently enrolled in Julliard's masters program.

    In recent years, Tianjin has been on a mission to increase its cultural infrastructure, boosting investment in the arts as it builds new upscale malls and real estate in an attempt to transform its image from one of a "backwater Beijing" to a key northern Chinese financial and trade hub. Last year, the China National Academy of Painting in Tianjin broke ground on China’s largest art training center for Chinese painting, and, indicating the city's attempt to go upmarket, the Chinese winemaker Dynasty opened a sprawling chateau as the Tianjin debuted China's largest polo club and announced plans to become the country's top home port for yachts and international cruise lines. Wealthier Tianjin residents have shown a budding interest in Chinese art and art collecting as well, with the city launching a pilot program offering shares in Chinese art and more Tianjin-based collectors showing up at auctions for traditional and contemporary Chinese art in recent years.

    If it formally goes through, the agreement between Lincoln Center and the Tianjin Innovative Finance Investment Company could be the first of many such partnerships that could see Tianjin rival Beijing as a cultural hub in northern China. Considering the speed with which Beijing continues to demolish or threaten its more avant-garde arts districts, it wouldn't be absurd to assume more artists and arts organizations could seek opportunity in nearby Tianjin. (Which is only around 45 minutes from Beijing via high-speed train.)

    However, it will be interesting to see how Lincoln Center navigates the tighter artistic environment currently prevailing in China. As Artinfo notes, in the midst of China's current environment, the German museum that loaned items for the "Art of the Enlightenment" exhibition at the National Museum of China has faced criticism at home, and the Beijing Independent Documentary Film Festival was canceled. Could Lincoln Center expect similar controversy in New York?

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