Jankura Artspace - An Artspace for Expats

by Owen Gawel , 26/09/2011


American artist Mike Stewart is once again trying to break new ground in South Korea. He’s been teaching fine art classes in Seoul for over four years now and has seen a growing interest from the expat community for more visual arts related activities. From his life drawing sessions, to the monthly t-shirt printmaking workshops he hosts at the Big Green Studio in northern Seoul, people are sure to find something of interest if they’ve got an itch for making art or simply learning a new skill.

Replica Watches “I set up Sketch and the City in early 2010 and was happy to see how many people were interested in going out and painting.” Mike explains about his plein air painting program where he brings people to various locations throughout the city for afternoons of outdoor art making. “People were really excited to be doing something unique like this. I enjoy being the guy who can provide unique experiences,” he jokes.

This year, Mike is taking a big step forward in bringing his art classes to the people. He’s opening Jankura Artspace, Seoul’s first art academy specifically created with the expat community in mind.
“There are plenty of art academies in Seoul, but between the language barrier and the lack of information about what’s to offer, most expats have no way of finding and joining them. I think that’s a big part of why my classes have been so successful. I also teach art based on the Western philosophies I was taught in school and I think the lessons I give are more interactive and less lecture based compared to the way art is taught in your average Korean misul hagwon,” he says.

But Jankura Artspace will be a lot more than an art school. It will also have studio spaces available for artists to rent out for 6-12 month “residencies.” Mike is hoping to have a mixed group of artists working in the studio spaces, giving Jankura Artspace a real community feel.

“I’d love to have both Korean and expat artists together in the space, working with each other and sharing ideas. I originally began teaching art classes in English in Korea with the idea that Koreans would want to learn art while practicing English. A lot more non-Koreans join my lessons these days, but I’m hoping to make a place where Koreans can feel welcome to explore their creative sides while meeting English speakers,” he says.

Jankura Artspace will act as an artistic community center where people can come to meet other creative individuals and gain inspiration. They will have drawing and painting classes throughout the week as well as on weekends both taught by Mike Stewart and the studio residents, while visiting artists and craftspeople will also be invited to set up workshops in anything from photography, jewelry making, performing arts and comic book illustration to art history lectures. The possibilities for a community space like this are endless.

rolex replica watches “I’m hoping to open in the Yongsan area as many of my current students live in the Itaewon and Haebangchon area and because the creative vibe in there has really taken off in recent years. We’re looking to open in early 2012 but need a bit of funding to get it off the ground,” he says.

(K4E Update - Jankura Artspace is located in Itaewon and offers rental space for artists as well as art classes/workshop. For more details, see the description in Special Interest Classes)

Mike is selling t-shirts and original artwork at art fairs throughout the city and has plans to set up a fundraising concert/exhibition in the coming months in order to raise money to get his artspace opened. You can help too by making a donation to Jankura Artspace through his website. http://mstewartprintmaker.com/jankura.htm

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