Gwangju Blog

Gakhwadong “Urbanization Culture Village”

Wall painting at the 시화문화마을 - Photo by Joe Wabe

Wall painting at the 시화문화마을 – Photo by Joe Wabe


Located in the northern part of Gwangju in the Munhwa-dong area, hidden from the usual popular attractions the 시화문화마을 (or Urbanization Cultural Village), stands as an example of traditional and contemporary urban art.

This art project was created with the idea of creating a model for other similar projects through a cooperative population. Residents, the municipal committee and artists within and outside the community, contributed to bring art into the village.

In 2007 the village received various awards for the project including a national award targeting all other “urbanization of culture villages”. The town is still a benchmark for all other villages of it’s sort and it offers tours throughout the country.

Sadly for the past couple of years it seems as if less and less attention has been given to the project, and therefore less care and maintenance has been done to the different pieces of art located all throughout the village.

For more info: Gwangju, Bukgu Gakhwadong시화문화마을: 062-510-1225

To view more photos of the village please visit:

2014 Gwangju Biennale to Come to an End on November 9th


The 2014 Gwangju Biennale in which it exhibits world-class artworks submitted by highly acclaimed domestic and international artists will come to an end on Sunday, November 9th.

Having been taking place since September 5th with the theme, ‘Burning Down the House’, the ongoing Biennale is one of the five most influential Biennales in the world.

Gwangju Biennale celebrated the 20th year anniversary since its initial establishment this year and takes place once in every two years.

Gwangju Biennale Foundation was firstly created to inherit so called ‘Gwangju Spirit’ that defines and identified Gwangju as a pro-democratic city since the 1980 May 18th Democratization Movement.

As with the previously held Gwangju Biennales, this year’s Biennale showcased artworks that engaged with historical and political context of Gwangju with unique and creative artworks.

A total of 413 artworks turned in by 111 artists from 38 different countries are currently on display and the exhibition will last until this Sunday, November 9th.

Various different artworks currently on display at Gwangju Biennale go beyond the conventional artistic boundaries through performance, movie, theatre art, music, installation, construction and media art aimed at expressing challenges against the established institutions and customs and traditions.

This is your last chance to take advantage of world-class artworks at home in Gwangju so make sure to check the exhibitions out before it ends on November 9th.

What to do this Weekend: Scary Pumpkins Edition


Photo courtesy of Yujin Lee of Gatsby.

Photo courtesy of Yujin Lee of Gatsby.

The 2014 Gwangju Design Week starts on Oct. 30 and runs for 30 days at the Gwangju Design Center and will feature the participation of local design associations, universities, and business corporations. Starting off with the ‘Bitgeul Handicraft Fair’, the event will be divided into 9 categories of design exhibitions, contests, and design academic forums, as well as design workshops, which will be held throughout the Gwangju Design Week. The main exhibition includes ‘2014 Bitgoeul Handicraft Fair’, set to be held from Oct, 30 to Nov. 2, and the ‘2014 Korea Design Culture Exhibition’ that will be hosted from Nov. 24-28. For more information check out the venue website.

The First Alleyway is kicking off their weekend Oct. 31 with Friday Sangria Night and Trick or Taco. Come enjoy a chill evening with a pitcher of sangria for 18,000 won, made with their South African wine on tap. Treat yourself to any 3 tacos for 10,000. There will be other drink specials throughout the evening and all day Saturday Nov. 1 as well. For more information check out their Facebook page.

Photo courtesy of the Dongu District Office.

Photo courtesy of the Dongu District Office.

The Dongu District Office is sponsoring a Halloween party at the Gatsby Cafe (9th floor Sky lounge) in downtown Oct. 31 from 5 P.M.-9 P.M on the patio. There will be Halloween cookies, art, Free tarot card readings, a costume contest with prizes, and special performances. For more information or for directions, check out the event poster or call Josh at 010-4807-5612.

There will be a free concert on Oct. 31 at 7 P.M. to celebrate the achievements of the East Asian Cultural City. The city of Gwangju, along with the Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism, and the East Asia Cultural Committee, will be hosting the event at the Gwangju Culture and Art Center in Unnam dong with the theme, “Gwangju’s Dream.” There will be Traditional Chinese hand puppet performances by the Chinese Intangible Cultural Asset and piano performance by Xiamen University in Quanzhou. Gwangju’s East Asian partnering city in China, Quanzhou will showcase China’s traditional hand puppet show by the Yokohama city in Japan will stage modern dance and musical performance. Gwangju will put up various musical performances of Korea’s traditional percussion sound mixed with media art and choir stage by Gwangju Municipal Choir.

Photo courtesy of Club Nevermind.

Photo courtesy of Club Nevermind.

Club Nevermind near Daein Market downtown will be hosting a hip-hop competition Do the Right Rap on Oct. 31 starting at 8 P.M. Featured acts include Mild Beats, Avantgarde Vak, High Flies, Jay Kidman, and Code Kunst. There is a cover, which the staff and organizers will donate to charity. For more information check out the venue website.

Tequilaz downtown will be running Halloween food and drink specials this weekend. From 9 P.M.-12 A.M. on Oct. 31 and Nov. 1 there will offering up special happy hours prices on tacos, beer, margaritas and more. Bring cash to take advantage of these specials. Check out the Facebook event page for more details.

Club Panfic downtown is having a Halloween party Oct. 31 from 10 P.M.-7 A.M. Call 1899-5514 for reservations and check out the club’s website.

Photo courtesy of GFOG.

Photo courtesy of GFOG.

The Global Families of Gwangju Group is having a kid’s Halloween party on Nov. 1 from 1-5 P.M. at the Kwangju Foreign School. There will be games, a haunted house, a monster mash dance party, crafts, snacks and a booth selling baked goods. For more information about admission and foods that can be purchased during the event, check out this price list and the Facebook event page.

Speakeasy is holding their annual Halloween party on Nov. 1 from 7 P.M.-3:30 A.M. Everybody’s favorite Gwangju band, Malarkey, will be tearing up the joint, followed by the musical stylings of DJ Travvi G from GFN. There will be a costume contest with prizes at 10:30, and drink specials throughout the night. Check out the Facebook event for more information.

Photo coutesy of the Gwangju Culture and Art Center.

Photo coutesy of the Gwangju Culture and Art Center.

The Gwangju Museum of Dance is performing Don Quixote at the Gwangju Culture and Art Center Nov. 6 and 7 at 7:30 P.M. Suggested age for the performance is 7 and up, and tickets are priced at 30,000, 20,000, and 10,000 won depending on your seat selection. Call 062-522-8716 for more information or to reserve tickets, or check out the venue website.

Meet Korean Tradition in Yangrim-dong, Gwangju at the Choi Seung-hyo House

Believed to have been belonged to Gwangju-native local wealthy man, Choi Sang-hyun during the late Joseon dynasty that lasted until the early 19th century, the Choi Seung-hyo House still exists in Namgu’s Yangrim-dong, inviting visitors to take a look and experience Korea’s modern history.

Built in the Korean traditional method for Hanok housing equipped with glazed red roof tiles, the house is known to have served as a main place of refuge for independence activists during the Japanese occupation of Korea in the 1920s.

Originally built by Mr. Choi Sang-hyun, the house used to be called Yangrim-dong the Wealthy Man Choi’s House until the 1920s, and hid a number of regional independence activists in its loft.

However, with the industrialization of modern Gwangju, Choi’s family fortune declined and Mr. Choi Seung-hyo bought out the house in 1965.

Mr. Choi Seung-hyo, who was one of the establishing members of Gwangju MBC, a local broadcasting station, bought out the house in 1965 and turned it into a municipal heritage site where everyone could come and watch the traditional beauty of Korean housing known as Hanok.

Now entitled the ‘Choi Seung-hyo’ House, the house was designated as Gwangju’s Municipal Folk Cultural Heritage no. 2, and it also features various different artworks produced by the third son of Mr. Choi Seung-hyo inside and outside of the house.

The house is also situated on a large amount land, stretching out some 300 square kilometers along with vast hiking path, bamboo garden, and art gallery, as well as the Mt. Mudeung observatory area.

News of the Week: October 30, 2014

Former LG Twins Manager Kim Gi-tae Appointed as New Kia Tigers Manager

Gwangju’s professional baseball team, Kia Tigers, signed a three-year deal with the former LG Twins manager Kim Gi-tae after its formerly re-approved manager, Sun Dong-yeol, resigned last week.

The Kia Tigers explained that Kim has agreed to a three-year term as manager of the Tigers team with an annual salary of 250 million won.

Kim previously managed the LG Twins, taking the team to their first postseason in 11 years last year.

However, as the team began the 2014 season with poor records earlier this year, Kim resigned in April.

A Gwangju native, the new manager is expected to rebuild the team’s overall atmosphere and improve its record following a disappointing rank of 8th among the nine Korean professional baseball teams for two years in a row.

Kim never played for the Tigers team in his 15 seasons in Korean baseball, but is one of the biggest baseball stars to hail from Gwangju as he led the league in home runs in 1994 and won the batting title in 1997.


Gwangju Education Office Reviewing Abolishment of Placement Test for Middle and High schools

The Educational Office in Gwangju is reportedly reviewing the abolishment of the placement test at local middle and high schools.

According to the office, various measures to improve the educational environment in Gwangju are under review right now and removing placement tests, originally aimed at evenly assigning students in all ranges of academic ability to all classes in the curriculum, has been suggested.

Educational authorities in Gwangju insist that the placement test has been one of the major causes of burdening students and parents with private education fees for supplemental learning.

In addition, authorities pointed out that placement tests create unnecessary competition among students and that the level of difficulty for the exams is too high, causing students to lose interest in studying even before the start of the semester.

However, those opposing the abolishment of the test argue that there are positive functions of the placement test, such as the equal distribution of students in each class in terms of academic records and so there could be confusion in educational surroundings upon the sudden removal of the test.


Gwangju to Prepare Integrative Plans to Reduce Traffic Accidents

The city of Gwangju has announced a recent set of measures and plans to minimize traffic accidents in an effort to improve the traffic environment in the city.

Aimed at reducing the total number of traffic accidents by 20 percent, from 129 cases per 10,000 cars in the city this year to 103 cases in 2018, the city will encourage citizens to voluntarily take part in a protection of life movement and conduct analysis on measures necessary for improving transportation infrastructure.

12 detailed plans for minimizing traffic accidents, including protecting those at risk in traffic accidents, reinforcing the safe management of automobiles, and improving emergency rescue operations, have been prepared.

In Gwangju, a total of 8,036 cases of traffic accidents occurred last year alone, resulting in 111 deaths and 14,000 injured.


Gwangju to Install Outdoor Skate Rink in City Hall Culture Square

The city of Gwangju will install an outdoor skating rink just outside the city hall culture square following last year’s success in the operation of the first outdoor skating rink in Gwangju.

The city has explained it will complete the selection process for the main operator of the rink by the end of this month and begin construction in November, with completion scheduled for December.

Stretching out some 1,800 square meters, the rink will be equipped with safety poles and handrails as well as safety guards for the convenience of visitors.

Last year alone, an outdoor skate rink was opened for a total of 65 days and some 95,000 citizens in Gwangju made a visit to the rink.

The skate rink will be opened for public use on December 24th.