The 13th annual "Shanghai International Art Festival" has concluded. This year’s month-long festival included performing and visual artists from fifty foreign countries. They gathered to present the best of world culture, Chinese ethical arts, and Sino-Foreign cultural exchange. Shanghai serves as one of China’s most important economic and cultural centers. Unique for it’s western flare and influence, the city created the Arts Festival to preserve local heritage while promoting multiculturalism. The first festival was in 1999, and has since become one of the nation’s biggest platforms for the arts. Each year the program showcases local and foreign music, dance and theatre in varying styles. While performances are the highlight, the festival also hosts forums and performing arts fair. Special exhibits were held for the public, with subjects ranging from ’The China Picasso Exhibition’ to contemporary Chinese calligraphy and ink-wash painting. Liu Wenguo, art director and vice exec. of Sec’y of Art Festival Committee, said, "To make an international event like this even better, and to truly become a festival of the people, we shouldn’t rely on government investment alone. We need to promote ourselves more to attract investments from private enterprises. We could help more citizens enjoy international art at an affordable price." Original Chinese works played a big role this year. One highlight was the Henan opera. Two original Chinese performances "The Nutcracker and the Dream on the Sea" and the musical "The Broken Bridge" held their world premiere. This year’s festival saw more than 10-thousand artists in 50 programs.