‘Culture Day’ kicks off tomorrow at 900 venues

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‘Culture Day’ kicks off tomorrow at 900 venues

테스트

Starting tomorrow, the last Wednesday of each month is “Culture Day,” a day when you can get discounts on admission to all sorts of cultural events across the country.

The government announced last year that it wanted to create a day dedicated to culture, lowering prices on a range of activities. And although some groups have yet to join the project, there are already about 900 cultural entities involved, providing plenty of options for people looking to enrich and enjoy themselves while saving a few won.

“It’s up to private companies whether they’ll participate, but we’re trying to draw them in as actively as we can,” said a spokesman at the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism. “We will start with the fields that can start first, and then expand the project to various cultural fields step by step, because it is harder for private companies than public organizations to come up with plans to be a part of the project.”

Entry to major public museums, which usually cost as much as 7,000 won, or $6.45, will be free tomorrow, including both branches of the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Samcheong-dong, central Seoul, and in Gwacheon, Gyeonggi, the Seoul Olympic Museum of Art in Songpa, southeastern Seoul, and Arko Art Center in Jongno, central Seoul.

Other museums that are already free will stay open later until 9 p.m., including the National Museum of Korea and the National Folk Museum of Korea. They are also promising that additional curators will be on hand to help visitors.

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The National Gugak Center in Seocho District will hold a free performance of “Echo of the Blue Horse” for the Lunar New Year holiday tomorrow. Seoul Arts Center, also in Seocho, will offer a 30 percent discount on the most expensive tickets for the musical “Hero.”

However, many private performing arts venues have decided to skip being involved this month, saying they are not ready.

CJ E&M, the nation’s largest entertainment company, said it will arrange for discounts on its plays and musicals for next month’s Culture Day. However, no specific rates or range of shows has been determined yet.

“If we were to give out a discount, we want it to be meaningful enough [so that more people will come for the shows],” said an official at the company, explaining the delay.

Movies are also getting discounted, with all screenings between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. dropping to 5,000 won (although just for 2-D films).

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Left: The National Gugak Center in Seocho District, southern Seoul, presents a free performance of “Echo of the Blue Horse” tomorrow. Right: Seoul Arts Center has a 30 percent discount on the most expensive tickets for the musical “Hero.” Provided by the companies

But even that upset some people, as Wednesday’s movie schedule at many cinema chains had not been announced as of yesterday, preventing people from buying tickets ahead of time.

“Theaters normally choose the times for each movie on Mondays for the week, so it is hard to tell when it will be possible for audiences to make a purchase,” said an official at CGV, the nation’s biggest movie theater chain and part of CJ E&M.

Other organizations are also in talks to be a part of the new cultural project, but it may take a long time until they settle the terms. Kbiz, a rights group representing local small and midsize businesses, said it does not know how much it is going to participate this spring.

“We have arranged cultural performances in April or May in the past years,” said an official at Kbiz, adding they could not add a performance to align with the government’s policy starting this month.

However, the government is not rushing to make private groups to join. “As we are promoting Culture Day more to the public, private groups will naturally join as more of its customers ask if they are also giving out any discounts,” said a culture ministry official. “The project will snowball as times passes.”

Sports venues are getting involved, too, with discounts coming for basketball and, once their seasons start, for baseball and football.


BY LEE SUN-MIN [summerlee@joongang.co.kr]

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