798 Art District Beijing

For the last few weeks I have been doing some volunteering at the Saint John Art Centre (link on right) and things are starting to happen! This month will see several awesome art events; a major fund raiser, an opening, and a gallery hop to name a few. It's great to see support and enthusiasm for the visual arts in our community. Public interest and support, however is often a bit of a struggle and many dedicated individuals continue to work very hard at organizing events and showcasing the talents of local artists.

With the return of the season of gallery hops etc., I began thinking about the visits I made to the 798 Art District in Beijing (Wikipedia) when I was working there a few years ago. It was really impressive! One could enjoy an afternoon there surrounded by art. It didn't matter if you were a connoisseur or not - there was something for everyone. No need to feel intimidated about going into a gallery, the art was everywhere! 

The 798 Art District consists of blocks of buildings (.6 sq. kilometers) that house artists' studios, galleries, shops (selling art related items), art association offices, as well as cafes and coffee shops. The streets are fabulous outdoor galleries and when you get a little weary from walking you can stop and enjoy a cupa or grab a cool beer! What's not to like? 

The buildings are actually abandoned munitions factories built during the 1950's. The structures (check the photo above) were actually a German design, with a Bauhaus influence, that features rooftop windows created for the purpose of letting in as much natural light as possible on the factory floor. Perfect for a studio or gallery n'est ce pas? In the photo below (with the umbrellas) you can see how the abandoned machinery becomes part of the outdoor decor.
Hubby and our friend Paul enjoying a cool one and Paul consoles an old woman turned to stone.

Now That's a Transformer! 

Below my husband Ross stands under a sculpture made from the parts of a Jeep. The other photos include an inside view of one of the many galleries looking surprisingly Gothic, and my favorite pic of the woman I caught in an alley way washing some sculptures ..... they look like they are all waiting patiently for their scrub down!

Art is Fun!

This is place is so much fun and a great spot for a photo. I loved how people enjoyed hamming it up for the camera!

From outdoor art to indoor galleries, to little shops with cool stuff, 798 was a definitely a happening place for everyone to enjoy! Wouldn't it be nice to have even one street in our city devoted exclusively to art?


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