S. Korea to bring together major art festivals under unified brand

South Korea will launch an umbrella art festival this autumn for major international art exhibitions and fairs regularly held in three metropolitan cities, the culture ministry announced Monday. The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism said it will kick off the inaugural event tentatively called "Korea art festival" in September in partnership with the metropolitan cities of Gwangju, Busan and Seoul. The festival aims to greatly expand the scale of existing art fairs and festivals, including Gwangju and Busan biennales as well as Frieze Seoul and Kiaf Seoul, by closely connecting their schedules and programs, and launching a unified promotional campaign, the ministry said. The Gwangju Biennale and Busan Biennale of this year are scheduled to run from Sept. 7-Dec. 1 and Sept. 17-Oct. 20, respectively. The Seoul Art Week centered on the international art fair Frieze Seoul and Kiaf Seoul, the nation's largest annual art fair, is slated for Sept. 2-8. Previously, the government's efforts to promote these events were confined to hosting Korea Art Week, during which a unified promotional campaign was implemented along with providing visitor discounts. However, the government now plans to collaborate more closely with relevant institutions to expand the campaign globally. Additionally, the events' schedules will be coordinated to partially overlap during the September to November period, aiming to enhance convenience for foreign visitors interested in experiencing Korean art, according to the ministry. For this, Culture Minister Yu In-chon, Mayors Kang Gi-jung of Gwangju and Park Heong-joon of Busan, and Kim Sang-han, acting first administrative deputy mayor of Seoul, pledged to work closely to ensure the success of the festival during a joint declaration ceremony in Seoul on Monday. "We are here today to jointly organize a nationwide art festival that will bring together many art festivals held across the country under one banner," Yu said during the ceremony. "I'd like to say this marks the first step towa rd increasing global awareness of Korean art. We'll work with all relevant organizations, including the Korea Tourism Organization, Korea Airports Corp. and Korail, to create an environment where visitors from both Korea and abroad can easily travel down to Gwangju and Busan when they come to visit Kiaf." During the festival, the government will also introduce unified ticketing systems for the two biennales and new tourism packages that include bullet train tickets and event admissions to enhance visitor convenience. Additionally, various art exhibitions will be timed with the festival period at both public and private art museums and galleries around the country. Attendees holding tickets for the biennales will receive discounts or free admission to select paid exhibitions at those institutions. Yu said the government will decide whether to hold the Korea art festival on a regular basis, based on the results of the inaugural event. Source: Yonhap News Agency