Falling into Unique Experiences - The UOS Times
The UOS Times
Falling into Unique Experiences
Hwang Yoon-jeong Reporter  |  mimitoto99@uos.ac.kr
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[0호] 승인 2010.04.06  
트위터 페이스북 네이버 구글
There was a crowd in front of Hongik University on a Saturday afternoon. Why were there so many people? I squeezed myself into the crowd. A woman was writing some letters with a brush on bookmark. It is called calligraphy! As I walked along, there were purses and pouches made of fabric printed with a black haired girl. I looked closely; soon I realized they were all made by hand. On the other side, there was an interesting thing; a man was drawing people in 10 seconds and the price was only 10 won.

This is the Freemarket. It is held on every Saturday afternoon from 13:00~18:00, March to November, in the playground in front of Hongik University. Artists and craftspeople sell their creations here each week; there are many unique products and people. Also, there are many peculiar things. The Freemarket isn’t just a simple market, but it is more like a festival.

Then, I wondered which organization plans and runs the Freemarket. I found out that it is the Living & Art Creative Center(일상예술창작센터)! In this article, I will introduce to you some information about the organization, the Living & Art Creative Center.

I got off at Hongik University Station and went to find the center. I expected the center would be in a conspicuous building with a huge sign. To my surprise, it was located in home with only a small sign identifying its location. Some people gathered and had a discussion in the living room when I went upstairs. They seemed like a family because they huddled around a dinner table. Ms. Lee Sang mi, who is the team leader of planning for the center welcomed me. I followed her into a room and talked about the Freemarket and the center.

At first, the center was organized as a kind of cultural event to commemorate the 2002 FIFA WORLD CUP by the representative of the center. He thought there were a lot of hidden artists and they needed places to show their art work. This is the reason why the center began to hold the Freemarket and have kept it going. According to Ms.Lee, anyone can participate by registering on the website, as long as the products are handmade by them. Presently, the artists are from various areas, such as professional artists, students, workers, and homemakers, and so on. About 100 teams take part in the Freemarket. Then what does the center do to invigorate the market? She said, “In the beginning, we tried to advertise the Freemarket. Thanks to these efforts, many foreigners visit here because some travel brochures included information about the Freemarket. Now, we focus on making it a better art market. We check whether the artists’ activities are going well or not, and plan exhibition programs to spread the joy of our artists’ work for more people.”

The Living & Art Creative Center is also Non-Profit Organization (NPO*). People who work here are from various areas and try to make a culture community composed of artists and citizens who perform many activities to support the organization. In addition, the center manages the space Saekki which offers opportunities for making props for the public. They educated children who were in study room in Nangok-dong a few days ago.

Last year, they completed traditional market projects in the Cheongju International Craft Biennale with props which could spread throughout our life. They offer education programs so that people can experience art work and express their ideas through art. Every Saturday, they hold a Mapo market(마포희망시장), where people sell products which are made of recycled materials. They have also held a ind-Market which is similar to the Freemarket in Doota which is located in Dongdaemun, every Friday since 2009. They have a department of design, so their work includes some design projects from outside sources, for examples, space design, and brochure design and so on.

You may wonder how to join the center. The center recruits volunteers and divide them into three teams; creating, managing, and planning performances. There are about 6~7 volunteers who have worked for several years. If you like this kind of work (planning and implementing some projects), you can also apply as a full-time activist even if you are not an artist. Since the center was selected as a preliminary Social Enterprise** last year, the number of full-time activists was increased from four to fourteen.

I never knew such a small number of people could create, organize and plan such great events until I met her at the Living & Art Creative Center. Anyone who likes art can join the center. How about falling into unique experiences and feeling the joy of creating your own handmade art?

A non-profit organization (abbreviated as NPO, also known as a not-for-profit organization) is an organization that does not distribute its surplus funds to owners or shareholders, but instead uses them to help pursue its goals. Examples of NPOs include charities (i.e. charitable organizations), trade unions, and public arts organizations.

**Social Enterprise
Social enterprises are social mission driven organizations which apply market-based strategies to achieve a social purpose. The movement includes both non-profits that use business models to pursue their mission and for-profits whose primary purposes are social. Their aim - to accomplish targets that are social and or environmental as well as financial - is often referred to as the triple bottom line. Many commercial businesses would consider themselves to have social objectives, but social enterprises are distinctive because their social or environmental purpose remains central to their operation.
Source: Wikipedia

All photos were pictured by Hwang Yoon-jeong
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