798, Beijing's heralded district of art

February 09, 2011 | Posted by Vicky

The 798 Art District in Beijing is one of China's major up and coming artistic hubs.

In the northeast corner of Beijing there is an artistic area known as the 798 Art District, named after factories that populated the area in the 1950s. Originally state-owned electronic factories, since 2000 many workshops and other buildings in the area have been re-zoned to allow for studios. As the 798 Art District is located in Beijing's Dashanzi District, it is also called the Dashanzi Art District.

Beginnings of the 798 Art District

Since 2001, many artists from Beijing and internationally began to gather at 798 factories, and with their special perspective they found unique advantages for working on art. Fully utilizing the former style of the workshops, artists have rebuilt and fitted old quarters into featured space for artistic exhibition and creation. At present the 798 Art District has attracted wide attention from the domestic and international media, becoming a new landmark of Beijing's city culture.

Peeking inside the 798 Art District

A sculpture in the 798 Art District, above.

With an area of more than 600,000 square meters, 798 features many industries, such as design, publishing, exhibition, performance, fashion, catering and many others. The gathering of the artistic companies like studios, bars and restaurants have led to an international SOHO style settlement and a loft lifestyle for its residents, which has produced strong appeal for professionals and general individuals alike.

The influence of 798

Now, more than 300 artists live in 798 directly or make 798 their main producing space, some of them even coming from afar as the US, Europe, Australia and elsewhere in Asia. Because of increasing numbers of artists and celebrities centering upon the district -- including the influence of the Dashazi International Art Festival first held in 2004 -- Beijing's 798 Art District has grown in infuence and international prominence. For example, many tourists coming to Beijing, including visiting world leaders, make it a point to see the district for themselves, and international art and fashion agencies actively seek our partners based there.

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