The Arts Hope Project
Cultural Policy Division, Seoul Metropolitan Government

The Problem

Billy Elliot and his father; there are plenty of similar households in Seoul
A passion for arts does not fade despite having a low income and living in a marginalized environment. The cost burden for arts lessons may afflict and frustrate aspiring artist and their families, just as Billy’s father had to betray his colleagues to earn ballet lesson fees for his son.
The Arts Hope Project (AHP) aims to create an environment for every aspiring artist, especially, children and young people, so that they are able to fully wield their talent and passion. There should not be more people like Billy’s father in Seoul who had to shed tears of pain to realize his son’s dream.

Still lingering poverty
Seoul is no exception to the wealth divide; despite its various proud indices. In 2011, Seoul boasted being the world’s eleventh ranking the Global Financial Center Index (GFCI) and the world’s No. 1 financial hub potential (rated by the English consulting group Z/Yen), having the seventh largest global power city index (GPCI) (rated by the Mori memorial Foundation), and being the world’s fifth largest convention holder (rated by UIA). South Korea also boasts having the world’s 13th largest GDP, and Seoul represents 21% of the country’s GDP and yet it still sees a wealth divide. The Gini’s coefficient, a barometer of income imbalance, worsened from 0.306 in 2006 to 0.314 in 2009. Urban poverty and polarization are further worsening due to financial crises.

A new policy to shed the vicious circle of poverty is imperative
The old Korean proverb of “A dragon emerges from a brook” does not appear to work today. The proverb means that great personnel in education, culture, and other social sectors can be raised and fostered even in poor environments. However, young boys from poor families lose their confidence and become frustrated despite their talents, and their parents become disappointed and feel helpless. Their dreams and hopes are thwarted from the very beginning.
A welfare mechanism is very much needed to help marginalized members of our society achieve self-realization and to develop their talents. Poverty and marginalization should no longer be handed down from parent to child.
Our poverty aid program and policy should now move from a temporary financial support system to a cultural support system that can inspire the self-esteem, dreams, and hopes of marginalized families, such as those of aspiring artists.

Solution and Key Benefits

 What is the initiative about? (the solution)
To address the cultural divide for children from marginalized families, the Seoul Foundation for Arts and Culture (SFAC) implemented the AHP. Under the program, beneficiaries were inspired to fully exercise their talents and regain their confidence, and their parents could overcome their sense of frustration and guilt and be full of dreams and hopes. The three-year-old arts project revitalized the aspiring artists and their homes.
The AHP inspired the hopes and dreams of 862 low-income households for three years from 2009 to 2011 in three categories according to age and skill levels.
Under the Seed-Sharing program, 788 children including five-year-old preschoolers and elementary school children received benefits through the culture voucher system. Under the Hopefuls Fostering program, 51 people received support and 23 aspiring artists were aided.
Some beneficiaries chose to enter specialized art schools. Miss S., a beneficiary selected for this program in 2010, entered the Seoul Arts High School under a disabled persons program in 2011, and is now on the road to realizing her artistic dreams. Miss P., who was selected under this program, entered Sunhwa Arts Middle School in 2010, and is now being trained under the Talent-Fostering program in 2011. As such, a total of 19 beneficiaries are realizing their artist dreams.
Beneficiaries and their families were able to shed their sense of frustration and to instead have their hopes and dreams renewed.
In addition, Mr. K., a person with a first-grade disability, was given free mentoring once a week, even though he failed the piano program screening in 2011. Furthermore, although the AHP has been in service for less than three years, it has helped dozens of beneficiaries to win arts contests and join orchestras, as well as enter arts schools. More importantly, the project inspired 862 households to have smiles, dreams, and hopes. This light of hope has instilled courage and hope in poverty-stricken families. That is the power of this project and the arts

Actors and Stakeholders

 Who proposed the solution, who implemented it and who were the stakeholders?
Since 2004, the city of Seoul began to work out an effective and productive welfare policy for low-income households, and not just one-time financial support, in order to inspire hope and courage in them. The city started the Hope Dream Project (HDP) in 2007 to provide both economic and mental support to marginalized members of society(AHP is part of HDP). Hope Plus Account (HPA) and Dream Account (DA) are the representative projects, and HPA provides matching funds for the money saved by marginalized workers, and DA provides matching funds for the education expenses for children from marginalized households. The number of beneficiaries surged from 100 in 2007 to 2,000 in 2009 and 20,000 in 2010.
In order to strengthen support methods, such as encouraging social independence, the city of Seoul requested its invested-institutes in 2008 to develop HPA and DA further. The Seoul Welfare Foundation (SWF, CEO Lee Sung-kyu) and SFAC (CEO An Ho-sang) strove to devise measures to help the children of marginalized homes with their arts education.
From April 1 to 20, 2009, 2,788 households participating in bankbook projects were surveyed to ask about their children’s needs and demands for arts education, revealing that their educational reality was far below their needs, prompting the launching of AHP.
SAFAC and SWF thus signed the AHP agreement on June 11, 2009, pushing for the project. SAFC Hope Dream Team Head Yu Yeon-hui and Im Ji-yeon and SWF Arts Support Team Head Kim Hae-bo and Kim Jung-il speedily set up the project including its name, structure, and support method. Thus, the AHP, the first of its kind in the country, was launched, allowing aspiring artists to be mentored by professional artists and the Hope Sharing Camp in 2010. The successful launching of AHP was attributed to about ten artist mentors such as pianist Kim Ji-hyeon, violinist Kim Dae-hwan, and visual artist Kim Yeong-heon, as well as by the Seoul Tutti Ensemble responsible for the Hope Sharing Program.

(a) Strategies

 Describe how and when the initiative was implemented by answering these questions
 a.      What were the strategies used to implement the initiative? In no more than 500 words, provide a summary of the main objectives and strategies of the initiative, how they were established and by whom.
Unlike other similar support projects for marginalized citizens, the AHP provides long-term tailored programs rather than just the fostering of talents, low-quality yet wider coverage of beneficiaries, or one-time beneficial support. The AHP aimed to inspire a self-dependent spirit in its beneficiaries. SWF and Seoul's 96 welfare centers implemented the AHP together with the aim of achieving the long term goals of self-dependence and self-initiated activity, unlike other projects which focus on daily routine care, counseling support, and one-time beneficial support.
Programs tailored for beneficiaries’ needs are being implemented according to genre, age, and skill level. Unlike private-sector supplier-oriented programs that are characterized by limited genres, age, and levels, SFAC has set aside a budget of 600 million KRW to provide tailored support for its beneficiaries.
SFAC is implementing a three level support project. The first level is the Seed Sharing program that supports artist trainees from five year olds to elementary school students. The second level, the Artist Fostering program provides one-on-one mentoring to fourth graders in elementary school all the way up to high school. The last level, the talent-fostering program provides contest fees to art majors in middle school, high school, and university. Furthermore, from its pool of artists and arts group networks, SFAC provides mentoring services, auditions, ticket arrangement, and other supports to enhance education quality.
In 2010, the hope sharing project provided the first musical camp experience program dubbed the "Imaginative Journey in Imaginative Submarine," the second camp was dubbed, "Professional Lesson Orientation with Masters" There were lesson performances by the Seoul Tutti Ensemble, as well as the fine arts program that was dubbed, "Two-day Painters."

(b) Implementation

 b.      What were the key development and implementation steps and the chronology? No more than 500 words
Seoul launched the HPA and DA projects in 2007 and saw beneficiaries amount to approximately 2,000 in 2009, prompting it to devise and implement an arts policy for inspiring self-dependence and a self-initiated spirit in aspiring artists. SFAC and SWF defined marginalized people’s arts education needs and demands in a survey conducted in March 2009, and devised a strategy to meet these needs. In August 2009, the SFAC launched the AHP with a budget of 200 million KRW beginning with 212 beneficiaries. Efforts were made to receive private sector support for the program, thus attracting donations from the G-Market Dream Concert through admission fee revenue and participation in the Nike Human Race through fee revenue.
In 2010, the AHP was further strengthened with a budget of 550 million KRW to support 307 aspiring artists. Along with a drastically growing of number of participants in bankbook projects, the AHP became so popular that about 2,000 people applied, but alas, only 307 were selected. As part of the expanded support effort, the bankbook project participants were given more than five opportunities to join various performance events, and instrument and talent sharing programs were performed at the Seoul Arts Support Programs Fair, which was held at the end of 2010. 20 donations were received, creating 40 cases of support, such as guitars, and flutes, and even conductor services to hopeful artist groups in 14 social welfare centers.
In 2010, a mentoring program was first introduced for the Fostering of Hopefuls, enabling the attraction of some 20 professional artists to mentor seven selected hopefuls. The Hope Sharing Camp event, which was held at the end of 2010, provided an opportunity for AHP participants to take lessons from masters and to present their performances and works for one week.
In 2011, the AHP was further strengthened with a budget of 650 million KRW to support an additional 343 beneficiaries. Some participants won awards in various contests and entered arts schools, proving that the AHP worked effectively. Also, the private sector enhanced their support for the program. Small monetary donations were made via the Internet, and voluntary mentoring arrangements were also achieved without the participation of SFAC.

(c) Overcoming Obstacles

 c.      What were the main obstacles encountered? How were they overcome? No more than 500 words
The AHP provides financial support, seeks high quality education, and includes all levels of skills and a wide range of ages, making it a great challenge to secure the budget.
2,000 beneficiary candidates were surveyed to determine the demand, and a six-month pilot project was conducted in 2009. In 2010, the demand began to surge and AHP ranked the highest in user satisfaction for two consecutive years. More of Seoul's city budget was allotted to the project, and more private sector donations were attracted in terms of money, tickets, instruments, and mentors.
Also, special care was taken not to hurt participants from the low-income class. Our efforts to promote the AHP to win social support and consensus might excessively expose the participants to the public and psychologically burden them, so interviews with them and documentation of their performance photos and videos were withheld when their agreement or their guardians’ agreement was not obtained.
Furthermore, a strict screening procedure might hurt applicants, so a mentoring-like screening was given to them. Interviews were conducted only in the presence of the applicants’ guardians and were carried out with meticulous care for the applicants.
Application failures in the screening were given up to three years of other support, such as one year of a hobby education support, covering a wider range of applicants and additional support programs for more talented applicants in order to appease their frustration. They were also supported through the provision of art tickets and camp programs.

(d) Use of Resources

 d.      What resources were used for the initiative and what were its key benefits? In no more than 500 words, specify what were the financial, technical and human resources’ costs associated with this initiative. Describe how resources were mobilized
Financial Support from the SFAC and the Private Sector
The AHP is financed by Seoul's subsidies and private sector donations; the donations include mentorship and instruments. The budget has risen in line with the success of the project. The budget was allocated in the amount of 200 million KRW in 2009, 550 million KRW in 2010, and 650 million KRW in 2011. Additionally, the private sector donation increased as the program progressed. From 2009 to 2011, Nike, G Market, and others donated 140 million KRW, tickets, dozens of flutes, recorders, and equipment, and also professional artists provided their mentorship support. Also, using its pool of excellent artists, SFAC provided mentoring to aspiring artists and enhanced the year-end Hope Sharing Camp Program.

Participation by the SFAC, SWF, Social Welfare Centers, and Artists
The AHP is operated by the SWAC in conjunction with the SWF and 96 social welfare centers that are under the control of the city of Seoul. The SWF and the social welfare centers operate the HPA and DA projects. The SFAC is responsible for AHP planning, the artist hopefuls program, the Fostering of Talents, auditions, interviews with applicants, management of artist mentors, and attracting mentors and ticket donations.
The private sector artist mentorship program, which was launched in 2010, has been activated, attracting more artist participants.
Also, various performance organizations provided tickets donations more than ten times. In 2012, in order to attract greater participation, the SFAC will expand audiences on a pay basis, and bolster support for larger numbers of children by developing donation programs, such as the Human Race in conjunction with Nike.

Sustainability and Transferability

  Is the initiative sustainable and transferable?
First, the AHP can obtain better financial support. Social polarization and deepening poverty problems should be addressed. There is a growing awareness, especially among municipalities, that the arts can positively influence people’s minds. Public arts support projects are thus gaining more public support. “Good arts”, as espoused by the AHP was counted among the ten keywords for 2011 culture and arts activities. As such, private enterprises are encouraged to donate more of their money to help address poverty problems. This then leads to more financial donations. In addition, the AHP can obtain better volunteer services, mentorship donation, and instrument donation support.
Second, from a cultural perspective, low-income households’ high needs for culture and arts enhances the success of the AHP as a survey revealed that over 90% of low-income households hoped to receive arts education. They strongly desired continued support and not only viewing performances one time as some programs encourage. Youth can enhance their self-esteem through the arts instead of being deviated, as was confirmed through Venezuelan program El Sistema. As such, those from within Korea’s low income-class also place great expectations on the power of the arts.
Third, the AHP can receive strong institutional and social support. A support system like the combined support of SFAC, SWF, social welfare centers, and artist mentors will exercise great power in similar programs of other cities or regions. The AHP-like programs need a combined support for education, welfare, and the arts in order to be successful.
The AHP was benchmarked by Gunsan, a small city with a population of 5% of that of Seoul. Gunsan, in conjunction with all arts education academies in its city, is conducting a voucher-type education support program like “Seed Sharing” under the AHP. Also, mentorship support programs are increasing.

Lessons Learned

 What are the impact of your initiative and the lessons learned?
With the autonomous municipality system in place, local governments are increasingly requested to enhance the quality of their citizens' lives. The AHP, as part of the Hope Dream Project, which is aimed at addressing poverty that is void of hopes, is inspiring hopes in beneficiaries that go beyond making life more convenient. In this process, artistic talents can be explored, and social participation can be bolstered through the arts.
The success of the AHP is attributable mainly to the cooperation from the SWF and Seoul's 96 social welfare centers. The welfare professionalism of the SWF, the arts professionalism of the SFAC, and the well-organized frontline welfare services of 96 welfare centers successfully implementation of the AHP for the large city of Seoul, which has a population of 100 million citizens. The SFAC attracted the donation of finances, talents, tickets, and artist mentorships, all of which helped the success of the AHP.
Also, a support system that is in line with the diverse levels of skill and age range was yet another success of the AHP. Seed Sharing, Fostering Hopefuls, and Talent Fostering programs with different support periods and different monetary support also helped the success of the AHP.
Lastly, the success is also attributable to the city of Seoul and the SAFAC policymakers’ strong determination. They secured the much needed financial and administrative support. A budget for over 2,000 applicants was secured, and the budget was appropriately allocated to each district. Consultations to beneficiary children and their households were given, and more donators were attracted. As such, the strong drive by policymakers made the AHP successful.

Contact Information

Institution Name:   Cultural Policy Division, Seoul Metropolitan Government
Institution Type:   Government Department  
Contact Person:   hyung cheol Jeong
Title:   manager  
Telephone/ Fax:   82-2-2171-2588
Institution's / Project's Website:   82-2-2171-2559
Address:   63, Euljiro 1-ga, Jung-gu, Seoul, Korea
Postal Code:   100-842
City:   Seoul

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