Tag Archives: Artist Community

696 weihai lu | in remembrance


696 Talk - IMAGE 2

fellow artists and old friends, susanne junker (founder of stageBACK project space), barbara anna hussar and zwolf schnifis are giving a talk at the bavarian riviera tonight – doing their part to keep 696 immortal by focusing their discussion on this special community, formerly located in an abandoned gun factory in shanghai’s busy city center.

to touch on the good memories that still abound for so many people, i’m including below a few images and highlights from an article “shape of the city,” [originally published in 2011] which i discovered today while perusing the talk’s itinerary [thanks to barbara anna husar].

“initially, one may mistake the weihai lu 696 artists community for a government-sanctioned ‘creative cluster,’ like m50, red town [shanghai sculpture space], tianzifang, or beijing’s 798 arts district… what these creative clusters lack, however, is the real sense of danger, experimentation, and freedom that is still present at artist communities such as weihai lu, not to mention the lower rents that allow working artists to afford studio space in the center of the city.”

well put.

artists were evacuated from the area by, ahem, the you-know-what around 3 years ago … about the time this article was written. it is still touching though to see this place referenced fondly by people that used to work in its much-loved walls, as in the case of the former 696 artists speaking in bavaria this evening.

696 Talk - Image 4


696 Talk - Image 3

this space, now vacated for some time, still remains an iconic testament for me to both the transformative power of creativity and its ability to unite and inspire communities that choose to work together. the 80 something foreign and local artists that used to make up this community are now scattered all over the city/country/world, each making their work somewhere else now. it was special, but too good to last it seems.

missed but not forgotten: RIP, 696.

696 Talk - Image 5






111 LIYANG LU | creative hunt


we’ve been spotted! 111 liyang lu has been the focus of this online article featured on creative hunt’s website this month.

some great photos of this new creative area and its artists – along with their work and studio spaces – are included. well done to the team at creative hunt [cheers to the talented francis arnold].


see the full article on the creative hunt website here.


ai-yah weihai


shocking how one minute its there and the next it completely disappears. where did it go? [time, that is]

696 weihai lu is currently in its last month of being inhabited by its artists and their ideas and works in progress / messes / masterpieces… and what a shame.

definitely make a point to go to the big final open studio event 30 april, if only to say goodbye to a special place that was a host of beautiful minds and beautiful work for a significant chunk of a while in shanghai.

goodbye  696 – you will be sorely and hugely missed.

[unexpected goodbyes are by far the worst kind.]



696 weihai lu | updates


696 seems to be getting loads of publicity about its hopefully-not-emminent-but-more-than-likely-emminent shutdown at the end of march.


maybe the publicity will get its demolition avoided compeletely by the ones behind the decision.

[from cnngo.com:]

“with their leases expiring at the end of march, this could be the beginning of the end for weihai 696’s artistic identity…   696 weihai lu [known by its residents as weihai 696] is a shallow nongtang that’s home to dozens of artist studios, small galleries and creative enterprises. with news that the buildings are being sold, artists and art fans are bracing for the possibility that the area will be cleared out, perhaps as soon as march … while many suspect that they will have to leave when their leases expire they don’t know that for sure. the jing’an district government hasn’t divulged any information about what it intends to do with weihai 696…   if that happens, it’s unclear what new chapter will be added to the history of an address that has purportedly been an opium and fabric trader’s residence, a factory for radio parts, a cluster of car parts dealerships and, most recently, a wonderful artists’ enclave…”

read more on cnn’s website here.



696 weihai lu | another threat of extinction


spreading this around of behalf of a friend. our beloved 696 weihai lu community of artists in shanghai may be in danger of disappearing…


正如你们有些人可能听到这个消息,现居于威海路696的艺术家们现在正遭遇一项来自当局驱逐的威胁。我们正计划以艺术家朋友的名义写一篇短文来支持他们向 有关各方请愿。当然支持的声音越多,获得成功的机会也就越大。威 海路696路,一个废弃的波希米亚飞地如同又一个被低估的并且伴随着中国快速现代化而逐渐消失的宝库。它所保持的现代上海所剩无几的传统文化的真 正根源一 旦被剥离,那么它将只是另一个商业化的赚钱机器。我们已经在过去的几年里看到许多类似的现象,诸如许多古老的建筑被改建为时尚豪华的供那些暴发户 和富豪喝 香槟和吃早午餐的咖啡馆和餐馆.那么还有多少我们没有看见的呢?也许,我离题了. 言归正传,艺术对每个人都极具亲和力,而威海路正是这样一 个为数不多的正宗的地方,也许你只是刚好充满好奇心路过这里.除了那些友好的会像对待多年失散的朋友一样邀请你去他们工作室的艺术家们,这里的另 外一个魅 力就是它自身有的元素.徜徉其间,摇摇欲坠的楼梯和油漆剥落的墙壁会把你带入另一个时空.这也许就是给让一个地方产生灵魂的东西,但是我们大多 数人都错 过或者有时候甚至忽略.开始了解上海威海路696正如饮没有泡沫的啤酒. 请将此信尽转发给尽可能多的朋友.如果可能的话,请写个简短的有关支持保存这个宝藏的理由的回复[英文或普通话]并发送到: chen chao | jim zhou。感谢您的时间。”

[chch47@yahoo.cn | zhoujinfudan@yahoo.com.cn]

“dear friends, 

as some of you might have heard the news, the artists currently residing in 696 weihai lu are now under another threat of eviction from the authorities. we are writing on behalf of our artist friends to write a short paragraph in order to help them petition to the relevant parties. the more voices heard, the more chances that it will likely be considered. 696 weihai lu, a bohemian derelict enclave is just another under-rated treasure that is fast disappearing under the modernisation of china. in keeping with the real roots of tradition and culture that is difficult to be found in shanghai, when stripped, will just be another commercialization for the money-making machine. we have seen many of these over the last few years, old restored buildings being converted into hip and trendy, over-charged cafes and restaurants. haven’t we seen enough of this? another charming aspect of 696 besides the friendly artists who invite you into their studios like long lost friends is actually the compound itself. walking through it with it’s unlit, creaky staircases and peeling paints walls, one becomes transported to another time. this is perhaps the quality that gives this place its soul. please forward this to as many people as you can and possibly write a short paragraph [in english or mandarin] and send it to: chen chao or jim Zhou to help their cause in saving a treasure. thank you for your time.”

[chch47@yahoo.cn | zhoujinfudan@yahoo.com.cn]