Return of art and performances

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Return of art and performances

 Lee Seung
The author is the honorary chair of the Seoul Arts Center and Seoul Cyber university.


Cultural and performances are gaining life as the country cautiously returns to normalcy with the government’s “With Corona” policy. Artists and performers who had to go to self-exile are excited to connect back with the audience on live stages. Art is returning to our lives after masks and social restrictions kept us distant from it.

The toll on the art community from Covid-19 had been painfully big. The society also suffered from the deficiency. Art was stripped of its role to comfort, connect and giving joy to the people during hard times under the pandemic for the last two years. The society paid respect and support in silence. Through the return, we hope for the “artistic vaccine” effect to cure and restore the society.

Art normalization in Korean style had been proven successful. The Daegu International Music Festival (DIMF) held 18 out of 21 performances on the live stage during the summer. The audience took 87.8 percent of the seats on average without any infections resulting. The Jeonju International Sound Festival was held at the Sori Arts Center of North Jeolla from Sept. 29.

The Seoul Arts Center was enlightened through a packed October calendar for the Russian Seasons with concerts by Russian conductor and violist Yuri Bashmet, who led the Moscow Soloists Chamber Ensemble, and violinist Vadim Repin, ending the month with the Korean National Ballet premier of “Jewels” of legendary choreographer Balanchine. The concert by Maestro Riccardo Muti and the Vienna Philharmonic in November also has been sold out.

In the wake of tragedy plaguing mankind, art has come to the rescue and healed the world. Giovanni Boccaccio finished his masterpiece “The Decameron” deep in the forest to portray the Black Death in the Middle Ages. Edvard Munch painted his best known work “The Scream” at the height of the Spanish flu outbreak. Johann Sebastian Bach composed the church cantata No. 25 titled “There is Nothing Healthy in My Body” in 1723 to comfort during a plague .

Metaverse has helped overcome the one-sided communication of online media by expanding interconnection and space in the digital platform through a new service that can evolve culture and arts. Infinite space of imagination and arts, the result of creativity, make the perfect recipe. Wondrous creation can be possible when music, literature and performance are leverages on the stage of the metaverse.

A lot of work must be done for the cultural and arts community at the onset of normalization of lives. A survey by the culture ministry showed an artist earns an average 12.81 million won ($10,879) a year. As many as 27.4 percent earn less than 5 million won and 28.8 percent do not have any income. To sustain arts, the culture ministry must come up with assistance programs for arts amid the Covid-19 recovery and earmark funds to support the livelihoods of freelance artists and staff in performance arts.

Participation and contribution can also be important. Credit card spending on culture and arts last year totaled 2.57 trillion won, down 1.1 trillion won from a year earlier. Arts contributions by the Korea Mecenat Association declined 14.6 percent on year to 177.8 billion won.

Michel Lorblanchet said humans are artists as soon as they are born. Life is short, but arts last forever. Covid-19 cannot undermine the sacred value. We would have to keep masks on and hands sanitized. Translation by the Korea JoongAng Daily staff.
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