Last year Shanghai’s World Expo brought together 190 countries representing the theme "Better city, better life." Carrying the same theme, the city has plans to turn the Expo Garden into an assembly of cultural facilities.
The first under construction is the country’s own expo star, the China pavilion. By next October, the door will open to the public under a new name, The China Art Museum. Exhibition halls will be expanded, some as large as 70,000 square meters. That’s ten times larger than in The Shanghai Art Museum. The building will also include reception, art service, and public education halls.
Shi Dawei, director of China Art Museum Preparation Office, said, "Shanghai is the heart of China’s modern art scene. So when we are preparing The China Art Museum, we want to represent that to nationwide visitors. We will have plenty of artwork on exhibit for people to enjoy."
Across the river, The Pavilion of the Future is also under renovation. High roofs make it ideal for the Shanghai Modern Art Museum.
Li Xiangyang, preparation director of Shanghai Modern Art Museum, said, "The museum will benefit the public. What’s special about the Modern Art Museum is that it features strong interaction between visitors and the museum’s exhibits. Many show pieces involve visitor participation. It will target white-collar workers and trend-setters."
Also on the west bank is the new Expo Museum, providing a global platform of Expo culture and innovation. The General Motors Pavilion, always popular among children, will be transformed into Shanghai Children’s Theatre.
Teng Junjie, art director of Shanghai Culture Administration, said, "Part of the Expo plan is to utilize the garden as a cultural center for local residents and visitors. Shanghai has no beautiful natural scenery; its culture is the highlight. We want to attract people to come and sample the city’s culture, which contributes to our economy."
The transformation of the Expo Garden is part of 16 major cultural projects Shanghai is launching over the next five years.