Gwangju Blog

Gwangju to Begin ‘Revitalization Program for Art Street’

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The city of Gwangju will reportedly begin a utilization program for the art street in Gwangju as part of its grand-cultural revitalization project of the city upon the opening of the Asian Culture Complex in Gwangju.

The ‘Revitalization of Art Street Program’ will operate every Friday from March 27th to November 6th for a total of 18 times with the cooperation of the city of Gwangju, the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, the Dong-gu Culture Center and Korea and the Honam Promotion Institute.

Various cultural and artistic programs in connection with the project include ‘Reenactment of Famous Artistic Figures in Gwangju’, ‘Gwangju Art and Creation Performance’ as well as an ‘Art School’ that features lectures given on the street by masters of various arts.

Art Street in Gwangju offers a unique chance for visitors to experience Gwangju’s own culture and art through landmark tourist attractions such as galleries, small-scale theatres, handcraft and art stores and culinary restaurants.

Essentials with JD # 179 **GWANGJU TO SEOUL IN 93 MINUTES OR LESS **



There are a couple of long weekends coming up and the start of April sees the opening a new era of accessibility to Gwangju as well faster and more efficient links to the rest of Korea. Good news for those who often travel to Seoul but hate traffic jams that can make your bus journey last between 3.5 hrs up to 4.5 hours in certain cases.

Wednesday, April first sees the opening of the Honam Express Railway which links Gwangju to Seoul in approximately 1 hour and 33 minutes. This down nearly an hour from the previous train that ran from Gwangju Station. The new KTX station is Songjeong which is located to the west of the city and near the airport. The station is also conveniently located on the Gwangju Subway line. Trains between Gwangju and will initially run 16 times daily (with other links to Mokpo and other cities in the province) but these will increase during the Universiade. Links from Incheon Airport to Gwangju during the event will also be increased to accommodate the influx of athletes and visitors to the city in July.

Tickets can be bought at the station but are also available online at with tickets ranging from 46,800 won for standard seats and getting more pricey for the 1st class seats. You can also download the smartphone app Korail – but it is only available in Korean.

Alternatively some flight operators have also slashed their prices for travel from Gwangju Airport to Gimpo to around 42,000 won for the 45 minute journey but is only available Monday – Thursday in off peak seasons.

*** Although the opening ceremony is April 1st, train service will start from April 2nd, 2015


Happy Travelling






Kwangju Foreign School

Kwangju Foreign School Winter 2014. Photo by Joe Wabe

Kwangju Foreign School Winter 2014. Photo by Joe Wabe

Words by Kate Blessing

Robert Holley founded Kwangju Foreign School in 1999 with just 13 elementary students. Gwangju City officials encouraged Holley to start the school as a way of drawing business to the area. Holley is a native of California and first arrived in Korea in 1978. Since that time, he has become a notable entertainer in Korea, appearing in Korean dramas and game shows. He has gone on to found and direct two other schools in Busan and Jeonbuk.

Kwangju Foreign School teaches from an American-based curriculum. Many of the school’s students have parents who are North American nationals, carry North American passports or have studied abroad for a number of years. The Korean government strictly limits the number of Korean natives allowed to attend international schools. Many of these students have family abroad and want to attend North American schools upon graduation. Students from Kwangju Foreign School generally score higher on their PSAT scores than North American students. Also, the school’s Measures of Academic Progress, MAP, scores are higher or comparable to other schools in the area.

Most of the school’s teachers are foreign with the exception of the art teacher. All teachers have teaching credentials from accredited universities and have current teaching certificates. Professors from Gwangju Institute of Science and Technology, GIST, often teach a few science classes and invite students to their labs on the Institute’s campus.

For more information about the school visit the website at:



Weekend of March 27: Jazz Zumba Gallery Edition

Photo courtesy of Daein Night Art Market.

Photo courtesy of Daein Night Art Market.

The Daein Night Art Market in Downtown will be open Mar. 27 and 28, from 7-11 P.M. Over 200 local artists and merchandisers will participate, and visitors can also try some art making activities. For more information check out the event poster.

Speakeasy is back with jazz night on Mar. 27 at 10:30 P.M. Come out and see a special saxophone performance. Check out the Facebook event page for more information.

Cailin Noble has a Saturday Zumba class at the GIC Mar. 28 from 10:30-11:30 A.M. The event is open to the public, and the 5,000 won participation fee goes to the GIC to cover costs for the space. Check out the event page for more details.

Meg the Yoga Yogi has planned a community hike of Mudeung Mountain on Mar. 28 from 11 A.M-2 P.M. The afternoon will include the hike, fun balancing poses at the top of the mountain, followed by lunch near the Mudeung Hotel. For more information check out the event page.

Photo courtesy of Yoga Yogi.

Photo courtesy of Yoga Yogi.

Mariya Haponenko has planned a nude female model drawing class Mar. 28 from 12:30-3 P.M. at the GIC. The cost is 10,000 won. For more information check out the Facebook event page.

This week’s GIC Talk is Mar. 28 at 3 P.M. with Lisa Crone and is titled, “What is your Element?” Check out the event poster for more information.

Jenny Jung and the Language Lounge have another event Mar. 28 from 4-6 P.M. This week’s theme is Got Wisdom? The group will meet at the Mango Six Coffee & Dessert in downtown, followed by dinner and a play. For more information check out the Facebook event page.

Photo courtesy of Mariya Haponenko.

Photo courtesy of Mariya Haponenko.

The Salt Art Gallery will be opening an exhibit on Hanji Works Mar. 28 from 6-9 P.M. The exhibit will continue through Apr. 10. Check out the hot new art space in town! You can read more about the artist on the Facebook event page.

After weeks of workshops, it’s time for the actual production of The Truth About Love, Mar. 28 at 7:30 P.M. Come see the culmination of the work of 25 performers from eight countries. Drinks will be available for purchase. Check out the event page for more information.

The Gwangju Performance Project is holding auditions Mar. 29 at the GIC from 2-4 P.M. for the musical, “The Last Five Years.” An additional weekday audition will be held on Mar. 31 from 7-9 P.M. For more information about what to prepare and to sign up for an audition spot, check out the Facebook event page.

Photo courtesy of the Last 5 Years musical production.

Photo courtesy of the Last 5 Years musical production.

Mar. 29 at 4 P.M. is Salt Art Gallery’s open mic event for experimental music and performance. This is a big event with 10 musicians from Seoul traveling in for the performance. Musicians and performers are asked to arrive one hour prior to the event start. For more information check out the Facebook event page.

Need some time to get fit during the week? Check out the Zumba Tuesday Night Class with Cailin Noble on Mar. 31 at 7 P.M. at the GIC. The cost is a 5,000 won donation to the GIC. All are welcome! For more information check out the Facebook event page.

Tequilaz is hosting an Open Mic Night on April 1 from 9:30 P.M.-12 A.M. Musicians and entertainers of all styles can have fun showing off their talents. For more information, check out the Facebook event page.

Photo courtesy of Salt Art Gallery.

Photo courtesy of Salt Art Gallery.


Where to Eat Wednesday: Cafe J. Brown

Once again, I’d like to apologize for the lack of pictures in this post. Computer issues are the worst. If you’d like to see pictures, please visit the store’s website!

My relationship with desserts is a complicated one, to say in the least. On one hand, I’m not crazy about sweets and prefer to have them in limited in amounts. If I’m going to consume the larger than normal amount of calories that is often found in cake, I do my best to make sure that the cake I’m getting is halfway decent. As a result, I get irrationally angry when one of the rare instances are wasted on bad cake. Unlike pizza, which is good even when bad, cake seems to be really bad when it is bad. What makes it worse is that it can sometimes be hard to tell how good a cake is from just looking at it. Not all cakes taste as good as they look. Luckily, the last time I had cake was lovely time where this was not the case.

Located right under the popular First Nepal, I had walked by Cafe J. Brown on many occasions, often noticing the beautiful macarons that had been used as decoration throughout the small, yet classy looking store. The cakes had always looked good, even from a distance, but I was usually too full or not in the mood for sweets to ever give the place an honest try. It wasn’t until I saw a gorgeous slice of Rainbow Cake, which was my very first sighting in Korea, that I felt compelled to check this place out.

Since I didn’t want to look insane by ordering multiple cakes for myself, I dragged a couple of friends with me to eat some cakes with me after having dinner elsewhere. My heart sank when I saw that the last slice of Rainbow Cake was gone, but we were too hungry for cake at that point to change our minds. It also helped that we were given free samples of chocolate when we entered.

Though looks aren’t everything, the cakes that were available were rather beautiful. We found ourselves having a tough time choosing between cakes like the soft looking New York Cheescake, the complex looking Checkers Cake, and even the Oreo Cheese Brownie. Those of us who weren’t drooling over cakes ended up being distracted by the large selection of macarons that came in ten different flavors like Caramel, Mango, Black Tea, Mint, Chocolate, Raspberry, Green Tea, Coffee, and more. We ended up ordering the Fresh Milk w/ Strawberry Cake, the Earl Grey Cake, the Chocolate Mud Cake, and a couple of macarons (Mint and Black Tea). We also ordered a few drinks off the drink board that offered everything from coffee to smoothies. One person requested a glass of milk, which wasn’t on the board, but was still given to us by the kind lady working the register.

It didn’t take long for us to receive our desserts and drinks. I may have seemed a little too excited, as I was quick to stab my fork into the Fresh Milk w/ Strawberry Cake to give it a taste. You know how cakes tend to either be rich and moist or light and dry? This cake somehow managed to be both light and moist, which was a pleasant surprise. As much as I love my rich cakes, living in Asia has turned me on to lighter, more sponge-like cakes that are a little more forgiving in calories and don’t overwhelm my sweet tooth with just a few bites. This cake was creamy, fluffy, and had a very nice whipped cream to strawberry ratio. It was as tasty as it looked, and reminded me a lot of a Japanese style Christmas cake. The Earl Grey Cake, which was more of a mousse, was also quite lovely. To say that this tasted like earl grey tea would be an understatement, as each bite offered almost concentrated flavors of one of my favorite teas. The mousse was decadent, and the layer of cake was soft, but sturdy enough to hold up against the otherwise creamy dessert. Even the beautiful decorations on top seemed to taste like earl grey tea to some degree.

The Chocolate Mud Cake was close some of the rich cakes I’ve had back in the states. Unlike the other two cakes, this one was significantly heavier was not shy on chocolate. The cake and the frosting that covered it complemented each other quite well, making this a moist and addictive slice of cake. Once we finished inhaling the cakes, I nibbled down on my Black Tea macaron, which was sweet, pleasant, and full of flavor. I had tried a Caramel macaron from this place before as a gift from a friend, and enjoyed it quite a bit back then. It was nice to see that this appeared to be the case for all of the macarons here. The shop probably made a mistake when using their macarons as decoration, as I was left wanting to literally pick them off the walls.

Overall, Cafe J. Brown was a wonderful place for dessert. Due to its size, it wasn’t ideal for my large party and would probably be better suited for couples or take out. It should also be noted that outside of cakes and macarons, the shop sells other items like chocolates, jams, candies, boxed sets, and will sometimes even have eclairs. Considering how I was angrily staring at the table next to mine that just happened to have the last slice of Rainbow Cake, I think it’s safe to say that I will be returning soon to try the rest of the delicious and gorgeous looking desserts.

Address: 주광역시 동구 불로동 109-5 (located in downtown right under First Nepal)
Phone: 070-4122-4955
Hours: 11:00AM to 10:30PM
Average Price Range: 5,000 to 7,000 for cakes and drinks, 2,000 for macarons