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Art of the deal: South Korean millennials swap stocks for art – Al Jazeera English



Incheon, South Korea – Kim, 35, did not explicitly object when his wife started investing in art three years ago – but he had his reservations.

“I told her that I’m fine as long as you want it,” the video game designer, who asked to be identified by his last name only, told Al Jazeera.

“But I was secretly thinking, why not just invest that money into stocks or something?”

But as time passed, Kim began to appreciate how art could offer an escape from the COVID-19 pandemic and the monotony of work. Last year, he joined her in collecting fine art.

Kim is part of a young generation of art collectors who are shaking up South Korea’s art market, which has been long dominated by collectors aged in their 60s and above.

Rise of young collectors

Galleries and auction houses experienced a surge in art collectors in their 30s and 40s during the pandemic, according to a report released last year by Korea Arts Management Service (KAMS).

K-Auction, an auction house in Seoul’s upscale Gangnam district, reported that more than half of winning bidders last year were in their 40s or younger.

Thanks to the influx of younger buyers, South Korea’s art market grew almost three-fold last year, according to KAMS, reaching an estimated value of 920 billion won ($714m).

The sudden growth has been widely attributed to revenge spending after the end of pandemic restrictions, but some young collectors have also found their new hobby to be unexpectedly lucrative.

“One close friend of ours made a nine to ten-fold profit on a single art piece,” Kim said, admitting that hearing such success stories contributed to his decision to start his own collection.

“It is tough to give up collecting after hearing this sort of story, although I started collecting for the love of art.”

Kim said that the growing difficulty of purchasing real estate – traditionally the most popular investment option in South Korea – due to soaring prices and strict lending controls also contributed to his newfound interest in art.

Park June-soo, manager of KIAF Seoul, South Korea’s biggest art fair, sees the generational shift as a natural result of the desire to stand out from the crowd in the age of social media.

“In the beginning, it was a flock of youngsters posting pictures of themselves at hot exhibitions on Instagram in like, 2016 or 2017,” Park told Al Jazeera.

“Then some began to buy art pieces and share the pictures of them on the wall of their house.”

Lim Sang-jin posing in front of a wall filled with paintings.
Lim Sang-jin, who runs an online community of art collectors, says young South Koreans are teaching themselves about art instead of relying on traditional sources of knowledge such as local galleries [Courtesy of Lim Sang-jin]

Lim Sang-jin, the operator of an online community of art collectors, said more people are turning to art in search of something “classy”.

“Purchasing a good piece of art requires much more than having enough money,” Lim told Al Jazeera. “Now people are showing off their taste with art, rather than luxuries.”

Park said the centre of gravity in the market began to shift away from high-priced works by celebrated names towards more affordable pieces by young and up-and-coming artists about three years ago.

“There is even a saying that it is better to buy six artworks worth five million won each than a single 30 million won piece,” he said.

For some younger collectors, part of the appeal is being able to identify with artists that are around their own age.

“The works of the masters are great indeed, but I found that I relate more to the works of the artists of my contemporaries,” Noh Jae-myung, a 31-year-old collector, told Al Jazeera.

Noh, who works in the education sector, is a prime example of how the new generation of art collectors differs from those who came before.

“There were already too many experts on conventional modern art,” Noh said. “I thought it was kind of a losing game even before the beginning. So I wanted to be different.”

Right from the beginning of his art collection seven years ago, Noh focused on urban art, which was unfamiliar in the South Korean art market at the time.

“Other collectors often told me, ‘Why spend that much on those artists? You should buy these artists,’ when I first started,” Noh said.

Noh’s determination appears to have paid off. Urban art is now one of the most popular genres in the market, and some items in his collection have seen their value rise as much as 20 times.

As it has in other areas of life, the rise of social media has also affected how many young collectors navigate the vast world of art.

“Most young collectors study art collecting via Instagram and YouTube,” art educator Lee So-young told Al Jazeera.

Lee So-young posing in front of large paintings.
Art educator Lee So-young says young collectors are using Instagram and YouTube to learn about art [Courtesy of Lee So-young]

Lim, the operator of the online community for art lovers, said that young collectors rely less on local galleries to find promising artists and artworks.

“Now people study on their own a lot,” he told Al Jazeera.

“Some send a DM to other collectors, asking where they bought the artworks and how much they paid.”

Young collectors are also seen as more open to reaching out to galleries overseas due to their greater exposure to Western culture and English.

The art collecting boom at home has given a boost to South Korea’s position in the global art market.

Last year, South Korea overtook Germany as the fifth-biggest contemporary art auction market, according to Art Basel’s Art Market 2022 report.

Seoul is also increasingly vying for the title of Asia’s premier art hub, as Hong Kong’s international stature dwindles amid political censorship and pandemic-related travel restrictions that have no end in sight.

World-renowned galleries including Perrotin and Lehmann Maupin have opened or expanded galleries in Seoul during the last two years, while influential art fair Frieze will launch its first Asian event in Seoul with KIAF Seoul in September.

Park, the manager of KIAF Seoul, expects the event to be a watershed moment for Seoul as Asia’s new art capital.

“South Korea’s art market size is expected to grow beyond one trillion won ($800m) this year,” he said.

“If Seoul manages to eclipse Hong Kong as the hub, the market size of which is estimated to be about four trillion won ($3bn), there will be much more room for future growth.”

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Humboldt Public School collaborative art project complete –



The Humboldt Public school recently finished an art project that utilized every student in the school and now has a colourful fibre art display on the fence along highway 5. 

The school is a pre-k to grade 8 school and has approximately 330 students.  

The project began when a teacher wanted to do a large scale project with the entire student body. 

Teacher Michelle Lafayette applied for a SK Art grant and began contacting the artist who would help lead the school through the project.  

Lafayette explains how it all got started. 

“Well, when COVID happened we had to rethink how we did everything. I wanted to do a school-wide project that we could do around arts. So, I did a quilting project because I am a quilter. Then the kids made a quilt piece out of construction paper and made a huge collaborative quilt. It was a great project. So, I wanted to do something again this year but I didn’t want to do it all by myself so I searched for grants so that I could hire an artist to come in and do this for us. I knew that Monika had done school projects before and community projects. I had seen the work that she did on Broadway (Saskatoon) when they had construction and she had woven fabric onto the fence. I thought it was amazing and something that we could do here also.”  

Every student regardless of abilities was able to contribute to the project.

The project consisted of many different types of fabric and fibres, from old sheets to yarn, with different patterns and colours, it has a wide range of sizes and textures. 

To begin with, the fabric had to be broken down into small manageable sizes. 

“So, what we did was we got donated sheets and materials and the kids came in and ripped the fabric. They loved it! A little cut and then the sound when they ripped it, and some got really physical and used all their strength and showed me how they could rip it. It was amazing,” said Lafayette. 

The fabric was then wrapped around circular things, hula-hoops, ice cream pail lids, plant trays, and even cut-up corrugated plastic signs. Everything was recycled materials as after it has been out in the weather it will likely be trash.  

The artist Monika Kinner, who is from Saskatoon, was so happy with the results. 

“The end result is what we hoped for, how we got there was completely not what I had expected it was far beyond what I expected. I am really appreciative of my own creativity and ideas because of all the rain we had to completely change what we were doing. That was fun for me, so I have to say I appreciate the opportunity to be so creative and fly by the seat of my pants.” 

The display will likely be up until sometime in October, however with the weather it could change. 

The students involved really enjoyed the time and effort that was put in and now can be proud of their work displayed outside the school. 

SK Art was also impressed by the project and encouraged all schools to bring in artists and allow them to work with students on different projects. 

“Bring artists into schools!” stated SK Art program consultant for Art in Schools Projects, Jody Greenman-Barber.

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Winners announced for BC-wide art, writing contest for Indigenous youth – Trail Daily Times – Trail Times



The winners have been announced in a provincewide children’s art/writing contest where youth were asked what being Indigenous means to them.

In honour of National Indigenous Peoples Day and hosted by Xyólheméylh (Fraser Valley Aboriginal Children and Family Services Society) the contest was open to all Indigenous people age five to 24.

The entries were judged by a panel consisting of Xyólheméylh’s board of directors and elders advisory committee. There were three categories – ages five to 10, ages 11 to 14, and ages 15 to 24.

The children and youth expressed their connection to the land, nature, animals, and their families. They also expressed their hopes and dreams as well as their sadness with discrimination and racism.

“Many artists have painted or drawn pictures of wolves howling at a full moon. In my artwork, I have used the dream catcher as my moon because I want the dream catcher to catch and protect all my hopes and dreams of being a person who is known to protect friends, freedom, family, loyalty, and teamwork,” said 10-year-old Emiley of her artwork.

Kyan won first place in the ages 15 to 24 category.

“Stereotypes often take over how First Nations are seen, and when someone looks at you and automatically thinks that what you are isn’t something to be proud of it makes you feel bad no matter how proud you are,” Kyan wrote.

“Thank you to all the children and youth who submitted their heartfelt art. It is truly inspiring to see the talent, creativity and the pride expressed in being Indigenous,” said board president Dr. Wenona Hall.

READ MORE: Fraser Valley writing, art contest open to all Indigenous youth in B.C.


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ARTS AROUND: New art exhibit showcases ‘Women’s Work’ in Port Alberni – Alberni Valley News





A new art exhibit is opening at the Rollin Art Centre, featuring a group of four local female artists.

Sue Thomas, Jillian Mayne, Colleen Clancy and Ann McIvor will display their artwork in an exhibit titled “Women’s Work” that opens on June 21 and runs until July 22. The diversity of the work reflects each woman’s unique creative process and artistic expression.

Join us in the gallery this Saturday, June 25 from 1-3 p.m. for refreshments and an opportunity to meet these incredible and accomplished artists.


The Rollin Art Centre will be holding a summer-inspired art exhibit from July 27 to Aug. 26 and we are inviting all local artists to submit up to three pieces (size depending) that depicts your own rendition of the season of summer.

All mediums are welcome. Application forms are available at the Rollin Art Centre. The fee is $10 per submission. Deadline for submissions is July 15.


Join us on the terrace at the Rollin Art Centre on Saturday, July 16 for an acrylic painting workshop with Susan Schaefer. Bring a friend and be creative!

From 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Susan will guide you through what makes a good composition while simplifying your landscape.

The workshop fee is $115 +GST. A supply list is available. Register at the Rollin Art Centre at 250-724-3412.


This summer, the Community Arts Council will be raffling a chair designed by Leave Her Wild Container Design. The chair has been planted and is on display at the Rollin Art Centre (corner of Eighth Avenue and Argyle Street). Tickets are $2 each or three for $5.


Teas on the Terrace are back at the Rollin Art Centre this summer and tickets are now on sale.

Choose from our high tea (served on a two-tiered plate) for $25 and our strawberry tea (served with decadent strawberry shortcake) for $20 and join us on the terrace under the canopy of the trees, sipping tea, listening to local musicians and sampling a selection of snacks.

July 7 – Strawberry Tea – Folk Song Circle

July 21 – High Tea – Dennis Olsen

August 4 – Strawberry Tea – Dennis Olsen & Guy Langlois

August 18 – High Tea – Doug Gretsinger


Here’s a chance to have your kids do something creative and fun and make new friends this summer. The Rollin Art Centre is offering eight weeks of creative summer art programs for children between the ages of 7 -13.

Each week features a different medium. From drawing to painting, we have something everyone will enjoy.

The three-day camps take place Monday to Wednesday for ages 7-8 (10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.), and ages 9-11 (1:15 p.m. to 3:45 p.m.). The cost is $75 per week.

There is also a camp for ages 11 to 13 on Fridays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. ($45 per camp).

Call 250-724-3412 to register.


Celtic Chaos will perform a maintee at the Capitol Theatre this fall as a fundraiser for the Rollin Art Centre.

“For the Highlander” is a brand-new performance by Celtic Chaos which tells their story in original narrative, poetry, song and music. Join us for this high-energy, fun-loving group of musicians and help support art in the community.

The concert takes place Sunday, Nov. 6 at 2 p.m. at the Capitol Theatre. Tickets are $25 each and are available now at the Rollin Art Centre.


The Sunshine Club will be holding a pottery sale at the Harbour Quay on Saturday, June 25 from 9 a.m. to noon.


June 22 to July 22 – “Women’s Work” – group exhibit – Sue Thomas, Jillian Mayne, Colleen Clancy, and Ann McIvor

July 16 – Acrylic workshop

July and August – Teas on the Terrace – Tickets available now

July and August – Children’s Summer Art Camps

Sept. 17 – Giant Book Sale – Athletic Hall

Nov. 6 – Celtic Chaos performs – Tickets on sale now

Melissa Martin is the Arts Administrator for the Community Arts Council, at the Rollin Art Centre and writes for the Alberni Valley News. Call 250-724-3412. Email:

Artart exhibitPort Alberni

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