The art village in Chang-dong, was built to help revitalize the area after the downturn in popularity and industry. Per this ChosunIlbo article, "the city spent W2.3 billion (US$1=W1,168) to lease 50 empty store spaces and offered them free of charge to 50 artists for a two-year period. It also cleaned up the urban landscape by burying electrical cables, repaving back streets and refurbishing stores. It set up new street lights and created outdoor exhibition zones and rest areas to give the neighborhood an artsy feel."
As it has now been more than a year since the village opened, I feel it is safe to say that the project is a wild success. I spent a pleasant Sunday afternoon there, and even on a weekend evening, you were able to stroll along though some of the art studios and see the artists working, as well as visit many unique shops that have popped up in the area (can you say AMAZING gourmet chocolate anyone?). The show stoppers, however, are the murals and street art peppered along the walls and ground of nearly every nook, street, and corner you can find.
Even on an overcast day, similar to when I was there to photograph, the bold colors are enough to brighten any mood (the coffee and chocolates didn't hurt either!) This is truly a new treasure of a town with such a tumultuous history.
(click on photos to enlarge)
Let's hope that Chang-dong's art district will not only help to invigorate Masan's economy while supporting the creative arts, but will also be used as a guide for future developments in other struggling communities.
Keep Korea quirky.
Hugs & Kisses,