Written by: Mina Jung | Featured Image: Heyri Art Village (Photo by Jinho Jung)
Seoul has established itself as one of South Korea’s major cultural centers. Its global influence and steadfast footing is assuredly to the credit of the people who have made significant bounds in growth in a short period of time in their modern history. Adding to this cultural position is Heyri Art Village. About an hour north of Seoul, Heyri is an experimental cultural art village with a strategic goal of sustainability, fellowship, and establishing creative value . It is centered around writers, painters, film producers, architects, musicians – artists from various fields who have joined together to create a space where culture, harmony, and design thinking are fundamental building blocks of the community. Today, there are over 380 members who have each purchased and designed their own space resulting in a dazzling mix of museums, art galleries, performance spaces, art shops, bookstores, artist studios, and residential buildings.
Located in Paju, Heyri Art Village was established in 1995 with a master plan and collective vision to be the central force of cultural vitality. This ecological village was designed to preserve and maximize the natural surroundings. No building may be higher than three stories so that the village remains at a human scale. Every aesthetic entity within Heyri – from the buildings to the bridges and even each pavement block – is carefully considered before put into place. With over 800,000 visitors each year, the master plan also mandates that every space must be open to the public in some way. With its wide array of exhibitions, performances, and educational programs such as photography, ceramic and metalworking classes, Heyri is an attractive destination location for tourists, couples, and families with small children.
The cultural and creative value that Heyri brings to the Korean community is substantial. Three main points can illustrate the significance of the vision of this experimental project. First, the educational and engaging positions help to promote a creative economy by creating a symbiotic relationship between the residents and visitors. With so many artists living and working in close proximity, the creativity and vision is palpable in every aspect of this vibrant and nature-friendly art village. Innovation and tradition can be advanced with the interplay of collaborations and commerce and visitors will leave Heyri having experienced the creative energy that pulses throughout the community. Second, it reaffirms the cultural standing nationally and globally . Economies constantly pursue the balance of economic growth and cultural sustainability and according to chief architect Kim Jun-Sung , Heyri serves as a template of how future developments embedded in design thinking can achieve this mission.
And last, its location and reputation is key. Heyri, is a community in progress and continually evolving its history of book printing and publishing to modern creatives. The infrastructure for a creative economy has existed there for many years and its proximity to Seoul has helped to develop its identity. As Heyri continues to grow and evolve, it will not lose sight of its founding mission to support and enhance the arts by creating artistic and creative values so economic growth can be generated for the community.
About the Author
Mina was born and raised in Seoul, Korea. She has an adventurous spirit, which has led her to many different experiences in her life. She majored in biology in college and then became a financial analyst at Samsung Corporation. For seven years, she researched and analyzed stock markets and made investment recommendations to clients. She left her job to be a stay-at-home mother after having her son. During this time, she rediscovered her passion for contemporary visual art. She nurtured her passion for the arts and eventually became the Director at Gallery Simon in 2007. After five years at Gallery Simon, Mina left Korea for New York City. She is currently a student at Pratt Institute in the Arts and Cultural Management program. She is enjoying this newest challenge in her life and hopes to gain a wider perspective about the arts world.