'Soft power' 

Long Story Short

This week, the BBC reported that China is in the midst of a museum boom. Last year, one new museum opened almost every day, and things have hardly slowed down in 2014.

Some museums are devoted to your usuals: history, art, etc. But others are more ... kitschy, devoted to subjects like watermelons, socks, tobacco and, at the one the BBC reporter visited, roast duck.

The point remains, China has come to appreciate the value of culture, and — surprise! — that it makes the country look good.

"The government has realized that economic success is not enough. It realizes that soft power and the creative industries must play an important role," says one Chinese curator.

Back in the Western Hemisphere, that's an old song, but an important one nonetheless. In our annual Fall Arts Preview starting here, you'll see many mentions of art are delivered with an accompanying mention of how it contributes to economic vitality. These are the days we live in.

That said, you can still enjoy what the city has to offer, no strings attached. And we invite you to do just that, either by way of our snapshot article on the Chamber Orchestra of the Springs, or our theater critic's preview of the upcoming stage season, or the listings themselves.

Sorry there's no roast duck or socks back there.

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