Beloved characters, toys and more: Children’s Day fun for all

Kid-friendly exhibits and events promise to be interactive and creative

May 03,2019
“The Art of Disney: The Magic of Animation” brings Disney’s Animation Research Library to Korea to introduce visitors to the evolution of Disney animation beginning with the creation of Mickey Mouse. [SEOUL DESIGN FOUNDATION]
With this year’s annual Children’s Day holiday falling on a Sunday, families will get an extra day off on Monday to celebrate the special holiday. But figuring out how to make the most out of this rare three-day weekend is no easy task. Luckily, there are plenty of activities and events throughout Seoul that are sure to be fun for the whole family.

Just in time for what is known in Korea as Family Month, galleries across the city have opened up family-friendly and hands-on exhibits about topics ranging from the history of Disney animation to Lego and children’s book. Each exhibit provides something that is sure to entertain both kids and the young at heart.

The exhibit shows every step of the animation process, including sculptures, right, of “Lion King” characters. [SEOUL DESIGN FOUNDATION]
The magical world of Disney

With the release of “Dumbo” earlier this year and the upcoming live-action versions of “Aladdin” and “The Lion King,” as well as the highly-anticipated “Frozen 2,” all coming out this year, some in the movie industry are saying that 2019 is the year of Disney.

Fans looking to add even more of the House of Mouse into their lives are in luck as “The Art of Disney: The Magic of Animation” has arrived in Korea and will run until August 18. Featuring hundreds of original drawings from the studio, the displays are sure to delight Disney fans and young artists alike. The largest exhibition that Disney has ever presented in Korea features 100 years of work, from the early days of Mickey Mouse to today. Visitors to the exhibition will even get a sneak peek at “Frozen 2,” which is set to hit theaters this winter.

“All of these drawings came from the Animation Research Library itself, [where] anyone who works at Disney studios [is] welcome to wonder around to find inspiration for their work,” Mary Walsh, the supervisor of the exhibition said during a press conference in mid-April. Walsh added that she wanted Disney fans to get the chance to look into the vast history at the heart of the storied animation studio.

Throughout the exhibit, there are video clips showing how illustrators began drawing on paper and how the industry has evolved to 3-D technologies that preserve artists’ works stroke by stroke.

The exhibition is taking place at Dongdaemun Design Plaza (DDP) located at Dongdaemun History & Culture Park Station, line no. 2, exit 1. For those under 6 and above 65, tickets cost 6,000 won ($5). Tickets for children from age 7 to 12 cost 11,000 won. For teenagers up to 18, tickets are 13,000 won, and for those 19 and older, tickets cost 15,000 won. Tickets may be purchased at the exhibit or online through Interpark, Tmon, and Naver.

Meet a new Alice

Disney’s version of Alice - with long golden hair and wearing blue dress with a white apron - is what immediately pops into most people’s minds when they think of Alice in Wonderland. Yet what if there were generations of Alice who came before or after the one we all know?

“My Favorite Alice: Alice, we’ve never met yet around the world” introduces other Alices that were overshadowed by the Disney umbrella. When the novel “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” came out in 1866, the popularity of the book was equivalent to that of Harry Potter. It was an all-time children’s favorite, arousing imaginations and taking kids to Wonderlands of their own. Therefore, it’s hardly a surprise that the story became a source of inspiration for many artists and writers in the world who have made their own versions of the tale.

Beginning from the original illustration that was printed in the 1866 by John Tenniel, the gallery introduces decades-worth of Alices who represent the social and political issues of their times. Beautiful vintage picture books and artworks - including a black-haired, bobbed Alice by Charles Robinson in the early 1900s - are laid out to break the image of the golden-haired girl.

The exhibition is largely divided into three parts: “Before 1910, The Birth of Alice,” “1910-50: Recession,” and lastly, “After 1960s: New Attempts.” Additional sections are titled “Bobbed Alice,” “Alice by women illustrators,” “Pop-up books and rarities” and “International Alice & Korea’s Alice.”

The exhibition will be held at Lotte Gallery Cheongnyangni branch through May 26, from 10:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. on weekdays and until 8:30 p.m. from Friday to Sunday. The gallery is right by Cheongnyangni Station. Admission is free.

Magical world of books

This exhibition is fun for the whole family. For children, it is a golden opportunity to see the award-winning illustrations from their favorite bedtime stories. For adults, the exhibition is a gateway through time to the days of their favorite childhood books.

The most well-known picture book illustrations by 110 artists from all over the world are gathered in one room for “Picture Book NOW: Magical World of Contemporary Picture Book Illustrations.” The illustrations on display have won top awards from all around the world.

The Hans Christian Andersen Award, which is given to one writer and one illustrator every year, is given by the International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY).

The Nami Concours held its fourth international contest to provide opportunities for artists from around the world to show off their works.

Last but not least, the Biennial of Illustration Bratislava is a 52-year-old international illustration festival that is held once in every two years in Bratislava, Slovakia, to honor high-quality children’s book illustrations.

Apart from the artworks, picture books from across the world have come together to form a colorful library for families to read, and collaborative media art pieces will be displayed to add a little more zest and movement to the exhibition.

The illustrations will be displayed through July 7 at The Seouliteum from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Ticket prices vary according to age. The gallery is located near Seoul Forest Station, Bundang line, exit 4. For children aged 3 to 12, tickets cost 7,000 won. For adolescents from 13 to 18, tickets cost 11,000 won. For everyone else, tickets cost 13,000 won. There are no shows on Mondays, but the exhibition will be open on May 6. For more information, visit the website https://picturebooknow.modoo.at/

Top left: “Brick for Kids" features toys and characters to stimulate creativity. Below left: SeMA is staging “Peter Rabbit,” middle, for kids of all ages. Top right is part of the decoration for the “Picture Book NOW” exhibition, which displays some of the world’s best children’s book illustrations. Below right, installation artworks by Korean artist Lee Ji-young depict scenes from “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.” [SHAWN HOLDINGS, SEMA, SEOULITEUM, LOTTE GALLERY]
Building a future

If your children are likely to get restless looking through pictures, then “Brick for Kids” may be the place for them. Following the success of last year’s exhibit, the Lego playground is back to offer the perfect place for children and their parents to build whatever they desire.

The space provides various zones for kids to explore: Mixed color blocks and single-color blocks for children to choose from based on their preference, big block zones for younger kids to enjoy and, finally, a coloring zone for kids to draw pictures and stretch their imaginations. Staff will be on hand to help, as well as provide inspiration and models for kids to try to build.

The exhibition will run through June 30 at The Art Gallery at The War Memorial of Korea located near Samgakji Station, exits 11 and 12. It is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. every day, save for Mondays. Tickets cost 15,000 won and can be reserved through Interpark or bought at the gallery. A special discount is being offered through Naver, where admission costs 7,900 won for adults and 11,900 won for children under 13.

Kid-friendly museums

With Children’s Day coming up, museums are also preparing their own events to indulge youngsters for the day.

Families can head to the Peace Plaza of the War Memorial where the museum is holding “Children’s Day Culture Festival” on Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Various booths will be installed for participants to make their own toys, such as paper windmills, Lego bracelets, origami and caricatures. Most of the booths will be free of charge, or very cheap, from 1,000 won to 5,000 won for each activity. Children will also be able to enjoy brass band concerts and skits.

For more information, visit the museum site at http://www.warmemo.or.kr.

Seoul Museum of Art (SeMA) will hold a similar event on Sunday for young visitors. From 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., on the rooftop of Seosomun Main building, SeM Marketers - composed of college and graduate student volunteers - will be hosting an event called “SeM SeM 55,” where kids can participate in word quizzes, make string bracelets and win special pouches decorated with the museum logo.

At the Buk Seoul Museum of Art, there will be children musicals and caricature events on Saturday. A children’s musical called “Peter Rabbit” will be staged at 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. The play is free for the first 300 people to arrive, and the museum will also collaborate with Dongduk Women’s University’s College of Arts to provide free caricatures on a first-come-first-serve basis for 120 children.

SeMA is located near City Hall Station, line no. 2, exit 10. For more information about the events, visit its website sema.seoul.go.kr

Buk Seoul Museum of Art is located at Junggye Station, Line No. 7, exit 3. For more information, visit sema.seoul.go.kr.

BY LEE JAE-LIM [lee.jaelim@joongang.co.kr]

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