Protecting what’s ours: Traditional art and culture company bridges past and present
Protecting what’s ours: Traditional art and culture company bridges past and present
  • Yoon Na-hyun
  • 승인 2021.11.22 22:29
  • 수정 2021.11.23 03:57
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ARTRA Company is a cultural content company that provides an all-in-one service on Korean traditional art and culture. Photo provided by Kim Bo-eun


History and culture make up a nation’s identity and its preservation is the responsibility of the descendants. As the need for this increases, companies and organizations have begun actively promoting Korean traditional culture. ARTRA Company is a cultural content company that creates a fusion of various genres and Korean traditional music under the slogan “Culture is in life.” It studies traditional culture and arts, develops education programs, and organizes performances. The company hopes to integrate tradition and modernity.


Kim Bo-eun, CEO of ARTRA Company, majored in ajaeng, a traditional Korean stringed instrument. She wanted to show that traditional art and culture are not old-fashioned and that they do not have limitations. It was this idea that led to her co-founding the ARTRA Company.


“Culture reflects the entire history that humans have achieved as they have evolved,” she said. “There, we can find art, literature, ethics, and history. For a country, culture is a mental framework involving their mode of life. And since culture symbolizes the country and the people, it doesn’t disappear unless the country does.”


ARTRA Company also works on promoting Korean culture to people from other countries so that they can freely experience Korean traditions. While protecting and studying tradition is important, the company has placed priority on making it accessible to the general public. They want to teach students that traditional culture is not something boring, rather something they should be proud of. The company aims to teach students the value of traditional culture by introducing them to performances such as “Tiger is Coming,” a video made by the Korean Tourism Organization collaborating with an alternative pop band “LEENALCHI” and BTS.


The company is currently developing content using traditional characters, which they coproduced with the Yongin Cultural Foundation. Its representative character is Sorimaeul Ttakkungi, through which people can enjoy live performances of Korean traditional music and learn about Korean cuisine. They also started crowdfunding and selling Bukcheong Lion goods, based on a character from a Korean folk play, like postcards and memo pads on an online shopping platform. By selling products featuring traditional characters that people are not familiar with, ARTRA Company has pursued a mixture of tradition and modernity.


“The factor that distinguishes us from other companies putting effort into protecting our traditions is that we provide the time and space for people around the world to easily get to know Korean culture,” Kim said. “Our core business is the all-in-one service that helps naturally introduce cultural content into every aspect of people’s lives. We are trying to promote our company by hosting events such as Korean cuisine festivals and volunteer work.”


Kim ended the interview with some remarks on how ARTRA Company has marketed content by collaborating with artists. Emphasizing that it is the consumers who decide which are good, she noted that most are created based on trust in the artists, which requires compromise. Thus, she said it is significant for companies to make compromises when working on a business model together with artists, and then work on marketing and establishing distribution networks.


“Traditional art and culture are not as distant as it seems and I believe they are a bridge connecting the past, present, and future,” Kim said. “My ultimate goal is to find ways to bring art closer to daily life and further show our unique culture to the world.”

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