Written by Yin Xiuqi, narrated by Wu Jia.
The Suzhou Public Culture Center
Children playing, old folk chatting or walking—this is a common after-dinner scene in the parks or squares of many Chinese cities, before the sun sets.
The square we're standing in now is part of a complex called the "Suzhou Municipal Center of Public Culture".
When we approach the group in the square, a man with glasses nods his head.
He identifies himself as Mr. Jiang, and tells us he takes his grandson to play in the complex of the Suzhou public culture center at dusk every day.
The 70-year-old retiree says the public culture center is part of his daily life:
"I have seen the Suzhou Gallery, the Celebrity Museum and other venues here. The facilities are fairly good. The exhibitions in the Suzhou Gallery are free. Before the public culture center had been built, there wasn't really a good place for us residents to hang out and enjoy cultural resources. Now we can easily access the cultural services provided by the public culture center."
Established in 2011, the Suzhou public culture center is a 22-thousand square meter complex and stands at the center of the old town.[Photo: Chinaplus]
Qian Yiying, director of the center, explains why the city has built the facilities:
"In 2011, we established the Suzhou Municipal Center of Public Culture in an effort to integrate free cultural resources and upgrade cultural services in the city. With the center, we can arrange more easily for artists to hold activities such as calligraphy classes and lectures on traditional Chinese painting or oil painting."
The center incorporates three major venues—the Suzhou Gallery, the Suzhou Celebrity Museum and a theatre.
Qian adds that the service the center provides is colorful and mostly free of charge: