Lonely Planet Writer

Seoul is transforming a small neighbourhood with a street art festival this weekend

One small Seoul neighbourhood is celebrating its artistic makeover this weekend by the Street Museum public art initiative.

An exhibition by Sonseonhyeong.
An exhibition by Sonseonhyeong. Image by Street Museum Korea

The neighbourhood of Pil-dong in the Jung district will be transformed into a giant canvas for temporary paintings, installations and multimedia as part of the Street Arts Festival from Friday 19 to Sunday 21 May. Visual art won’t be the only medium to get a spotlight however. Visitors can enjoy DJs, classical and traditional Korean music playing both in venues and on the streets. There’ll be talks on wine, art and psychology to dip into as well as food carts throughout the area.

Choi Jung-yoon's pottery art have been part of the museum.
Choi Jung-yoon’s pottery art have been part of the museum. Image by Street Museum Korea

The festival is as a result of a partnership between advertising agency Hands BTL and local residents and is part of a three-year long initiative to bring art and culture back to revitalise the neighbourhood. Pil-dong was previously one of the main cultural hubs in South Korea for theatres and movie studios, while today it’s still home to the many printing shops.

Lee, Jung - Yoon's elephant doll.
Lee, Jung – Yoon’s elephant doll. Image by Street Museum Korea

Park Dong-hoon, the CEO of Hands BTL, told the Korea Herald that “everyone has the right to enjoy art. I wanted to build a museum that has no barriers to the public, a space where anyone can view and enjoy art whenever they want.” The festival is on this weekend, the outdoor art pieces are there to stay. They will be on display in several outdoor museums and the displays will change every three months.

Gangbyeongin's Calligraphy project is on display now.
Gangbyeongin’s Calligraphy project is on display now. Image by Street Museum Korea

The Street Museum’s festival comes at a time when other unique aspects of Seoul districts are being highlighted by the local government’s new night markets.  Interested in exploring this weekend? Check out behind the Chungmuro Station for the heart of the action.