By Feature Editor Joy Cho (vice-chairperson)
“I ran and won the election under the slogan of 'Powerful FACO, New Hope, and Trust Management!'” This statement was made by Chairman Lee Bum-hun of the Federation of Artistic and Cultural Organizations of Korea (FACO) at a recent interview with The Korea Post media, publisher of 3 English and 2 Korean-language news publications.
Speaking at his office in Mok-dong, Seoul, then he said: “As the new chairman of FACO I will seek to reform the existing paradigm based on change and innovation."
Excerpts from the interview with Chairman Lee follow:
Question: We would like to congratulate you on your being elected as the chairman of Federation of Artistic & Cultural Organizations of Korea (FACO). Would you like to say something?
Answer: I ran for the 28th president of the FACO on February 13 under the slogan, ‘Powerful FACO, New Hope and Trust' and got elected after beating prominent candidates and began my term on March 1. The FACO will mark its 60th anniversary next year. As the new president of the FACO, I will seek to reform the existing paradigm based on change and innovation. First of all, I want to transform the rigid vertical structure into a collective functional leadership system that will strengthen the foundation for communication and democratic operation. I am eager to hear about opinions of related people.
What is more, we will endeavor to enhance the quality of living by expanding opportunities for artists' welfare and people's participation in culture and arts. I will faithfully perform my duties as chairman of the FACO to ensure that more artists can contribute to our society and enhance national prestige.
Q: Could you discuss about the mission of the Federation of Artistic and Cultural Organizations of Korea?
A: The FACO, a nonprofit corporation, was established in 1961. It aims to promote the future-oriented development of Korean national arts and culture and to enhance the friendship and rights of artistic and cultural people.
The FACO has 10 affiliated member associations. They include: The Korea Institute of Architecture, Korean Traditional Music Association, Korean Dance Association, Korean Literary Society, Korean Fine Arts Association, Photo Artists Society of Korea, Korean Theater Association, Korean Entertainment Association, Korean Filmmen Association and Korean Music Association.
The FACO is composed of 156 associations in large cities, provinces and counties across the nation and chapters (US. And Japan.) It currently has s bout 1.3 million members.
The FACO’s main projects involve the development of regional cultural contents, education on culture and arts, support for artists and policy participation through enactments and revisions of related government regulations. In addition, the FACO pushes for projects which are designed to reinforce cultural and artistic exchanges and enhance the rights of artists.
Q: Would you like to brief us on your goals for this year?
A: Aiming to help promote the stable living of artists, we will seek to build “artists complexes” on various parts of the country. Stepped-up support will also be available for regional FACO entities.
Of note, we will make efforts to build a public purchasing market system in which the state purchases cultural and arts products directly as a buyer and contribute to the creation of a peace system on the Korean Peninsula through globalization of Korean culture and arts and inter-Korean exchanges. We will also try to upgrade the Korean Art Contest to a national cultural and art festival, thus boosting international exchanges.
We will strive to ensure that Korean culture and arts are recognized globally as Hallyu culture. The FACO will seek to set up artist cooperatives and modify the Culture and Arts Promotion Act, in an effort to enhance the rights and welfare of artists.
Q: If you have any plans to promote Korean art overseas, please introduce them.
A: Multiple local member entities are actively engaged in programs to promote Korean culture to the world, including collaboration with overseas sister cities in international cultural festivals and exhibitions and promotion of cultural exchange agreements with foreign cultural and art organizations. We are also planning to upgrade the Korean Arts Contest to a national event to speed up international exchanges. In addition, we will support the Korean government plan to turn the Demilitarized Zone into a peace zone to help establish a peace system on the Korean Peninsula. We will also push for strengthening the welfare of artists, while seeking to create a FACO TV station and a life-long education institute for members.
About Chairman Lee:
Born in 1962, Lee has served as secretary general and executive director of Korean Fine Arts Association for the past two decades. Since 2017, he has served as the chairman of the Korean Fine Arts Association. He is considered to have transformed the art association into a new and vibrant organization through change and innovation. Lee also served as an advisory committee member for the Arts Week and a consultant for the Seoul Arts Center. Lee majored in Oriental painting at Seoul’s Hongik University.