A Walk Alogn Gwangju Art Street
By Um So-min, Tribune Reporter
Ye-hyang, which means homeland of arts, is one of many nick-names of Gwangju Metropolitan City. In the middle of the city, there is an avenue filled with arts. It is Yesurui Geori, the Street of Arts, which is located near Geumnam-ro 4 ga has been formed since 1998, introducing arts and culture to Gwangju citizens. This street is now a place quite famous for not only the artists but also ordinary citizens, for its unique sight and mood.
It was about dusk when this Tribune reporter visited the Street of Arts. As I passed below the sign saying the Street of Arts, I realized the roadbed is somewhat different, decorated with board stones. Then I looked up, there were small stores on both sides of the street, showing all different kinds of crafts. Colorful posters hanging on the street pillars also were very stylish, saying some galleries are holding small exhibitions and other preparing events for visitors. Murals, paintings with harmonious combination of colors were there too on the red wall along the street. Hwa-rang, galleries all emitted their own mood and charm, one with handmade crafts and another with scrimshaws.
As it was getting dark the luminaries lighted up, the cafés on the street looked just bright and gracious. Some students came out from one of many art academies the street has. They entered a shop which is also dealing artist goods. From brush to canvas, frame to paper, any artist goods you want are here. There was even a bookstore for art books only. The street was not only about fine arts but about various cultural stuffs. Han-ji, Korean traditional paper craft, handmade art center, woodcraft gallery were all attracting people’s eyes. There was also a small theater, Mindeulle Theater. The street had some unordinary stores, such as translation offices, religious places, and a bookstore for foreign books only. These various shops gathering together are the source of the distinctive mood the street emitting.
It was almost about night and was raining slightly, but visitors on the street did not seem to mind at all. A mother went on a walk with her children, a couple selecting handmade accessories and, a reporter with big camera too. People freely wandered around the street, showing themselves that the art is never isolated from ordinary life.
Gotten credit for its specificity and beauty, this charming street has designated as the Asia Exclusive Culture Zone last year, and various vitalization projects including artist creative studio, public art design project have started. Besides, many experience programs and performances such as jazz, play and craft are being ready. Yet now, the Street of Art is already a place for various street art events and festivals, though I could not see any of them because of rainy weather. However, judging from the posters on the street, there seems to be small exhibitions or events almost every day. Now, if you think art is something different and difficult, then what about visiting this special avenue, a cultural space where the art is naturally coexisting with our everyday life?