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``Changing Hearts by Passion``

Posted October. 12, 2001 08:25,   


The 9th annual Street Art Festival (open until October 13) hosted by Hongik University is a huge art experiment in which 600 artists in their 20s will be using university buildings and campus streets as their canvas. Mr. Noh and 35 Hongik University students organized the event, from planning to actually setting up for the event. All of the participants are amateur artists, but not even professional artists can match their passion.

The planning for this year`s Street Art Festival started as soon as the last year`s festival ended. It took four months just to assess last year`s event and organizing the works. Mr. Noh and the vice-chairperson of the planning committee, Ms. Choi Jung-Min (24, senior, studio art major) were responsible for fundraising and reserving exhibit space.

``The hardest thing was getting people to see the point of the festival. We emphasized that this was not a talent show put on by a couple of college kids, but a composite art festival that will breathe life into the Hong-dae streets and bring residents and students together in appreciating art.``

They traveled from Seoul to Mapo and finally persuaded public officials to give financial support, and they convinced many café and video show rooms to offer space for exhibiting art works. Building owners generously donated money, moral support, and offered building walls as canvases.

``We are going to put a model of Tae-Kwon V in front of Hongik U playground and transform these dull street furniture into beautiful art works.``

Mr. Noh and others selected the mascot of the Korean animation world, robot `Tae-Kwon V` as this year`s festival highlight. They hope that this can be a springboard for a booming growth in the animation industry. Plastic arts majors were busy for two weeks building the 3m tall Tae-Kwon V model.

Street lights, telephone poles, benches and other `street furniture` will be turned into `facility art works` during the festival.

``Although our predecessors left us this wonderful legacy called `street art festival` we will never do things the same way that they did. As young people, shouldn`t we challenge ourselves and embrace change and strive for newness?`` The enthusiastic participants are thinking about trying another `experiment` once the festival ends – to make the plastic model of Tae-Kwon V into a bronze statue and keeping it on Hong-dae street as a permanent, local spectacle. Mr. Noh, who is currently negotiating copyrights with a movie studio, showed his confidence and said, ``If we use our experience and persuasive know-how, getting the necessary support and resources will only be a matter of time.``

Cha Ji-Wan maruduk@donga.com