Culture Day program set to expand

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Culture Day program set to expand

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President Park Geun-hye examines a painting from the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910) at an exhibition June 25 at the Dongdaemun Design Plaza in Seoul. Her visit was to promote the government-led Culture Day program. [Blue House Press Corps]

The “Culture Day” program, the first of its kind in Korea, will not only continue this year, but will also expand and diversify, the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism announced on Jan. 23.

Under the program, free or discounted cultural programs are available on the final Wednesday of each month, which the government has designated as Culture Day.

The rates apply to admission to galleries, museums, musical performances, movies and sporting events.

“Although we believe the program has helped raise awareness of culture among the Korean people,” Won Yonggi, deputy minister of the ministry’s culture and arts policy bureau said, “we realized many people find it hard to take advantage of the program due to a lack of time and money.”

Part of it, the ministry officials added, is because it takes place on a weekday.

So this year, the ministry will work with private institutions to arrange performances at venues with higher traffic, like train stations, public squares and book stores. It also said it will encourage offices and schools to introduce cultural programs in their organizations, like art classes or musical performances.

As the program comes into its second year, the Ministry of Culture has secured the money and personnel to better operate Culture Day, according to officials.

It has acquired a separate budget for the program, 9 billion won ($8.3 million), and launched a special task force within the ministry to oversee its management.

The program was first initiated in January 2014, about two months after the idea was first proposed by the Presidential Committee for Cultural Enrichment. The committee, launched in July 2013 by President Park Geun-hye, is responsible for coming up with ways to enrich Koreans’ lives through the arts.

Officials said 883 cultural institutions took part in the Culture Day program in January 2013. That figure increased to 1,574 in November.

BY KIM HYUNG-EUN [hkim@joongang.co.kr]



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