The Korea Herald


Art and culture festival for the disabled to take place at former presidential house

By Park Ga-young

Published : Aug. 31, 2023 - 13:50

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"The Secret of Mountain" (2021) by Kim Tae-min (MCST)

A culture and art festival to celebrate the achievements of disabled people will take place at the former presidential office in central Seoul starting Friday, the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism announced on Thursday.

Titled A+ Festival, the event will run from Sept. 1 to Sept. 15 at Cheong Wa Dae venues including Chunchugwan, the former press center for the presidential office, and the helicopter landing pad.

The 15-day event will kick off with the opening ceremony on Friday, with actor Ha Ji-seong, the first disabled person to win the best actor award at this year's Baeksang Arts Awards, and vocalist Seo Jeong-min reciting the Declaration of Disabled Artists to mark the start of the festival.

The festival will also offer a variety of performances including one by disabled dancers Saturday, a musical also Saturday, an orchestra concert Sunday by Hanbit Art Group composed of visually impaired individuals and a hanbok fashion show that gathers people with and without disabilities, also on Sunday.

From Friday to Sunday, exhibitions of Braille publications and an international calligraphy exhibition involving South Korea, Japan and China, a documentary screening, and hands-on experiences will take place, with all of the events aiming to improve awareness of disabilities.

From Sept. 1 to 15, a curated exhibition will showcase the artworks of 49 chosen disabled artists, while an additional 19 artists whose works were not selected will be featured in media art exhibitions displayed on a large screen.

A+ Festival is the third time that the former presidential office has been offered for disabled people to showcase their talents, following the disabled artists special exhibition in August of last year and the orchestra performance by the disabled musicians at the Chunchugwan in April of this year.

Artists with disabilities pose for a photo at the opening ceremony of a group exhibition held at Cheong Wa Dae's Chunchugwan in Seoul, on Aug. 31, 2022. (MCST) Artists with disabilities pose for a photo at the opening ceremony of a group exhibition held at Cheong Wa Dae's Chunchugwan in Seoul, on Aug. 31, 2022. (MCST)

The ministry said that this event had taken measures to create an accessible viewing environment for everyone. Specifically for visually impaired visitors to the exhibition, audio guides and promotional materials in text file format that can be converted into audio on mobile phones will be provided.

Hearing-impaired individuals can receive exhibition guidance from sign language interpreters. Additionally, for individuals with developmental disabilities, a "Relax Performance" viewing environment, an inclusive viewing culture that encourages understanding among viewers regarding sounds or noticeable movements caused by disabilities, will be created, according to the ministry.

"In the future, we will continue to provide well-organized support so that disabled artists can demonstrate their imagination and artistic talent in a better environment, and the public can enjoy arts by disabled people more closely," Culture Minister Park Bo-gyun said.

As part of President Yoon Suk Yeol's election pledge, Cheong Wa Dae was opened to the public in May last year and has become a multicultural complex, hosting cultural events and exhibitions.