Adding an artful touch to CSR: Han Sung Motor focuses on coloring Seoul, nurturing young artists

By Kim Bo-gyung

Media collage created by Dream Gream students, French art team displayed at Seoul Street Arts Festival 2018

  • Published : Oct 4, 2018 - 15:49
  • Updated : Oct 4, 2018 - 18:42

Nineteen-year-old art student Myohwa, who believes the meaning of peace is “health for every cell in one’s body,” hopes to change people’s perception of life through her artwork. And Han Sung Motor, the largest official dealer for Mercedes-Benz Korea, has supported her for the past six years as she strives to achieve her aspirations.

Aimed at nurturing emerging artists like Myohwa, who will someday lead the art scene in Korea and the world, Han Sung Motor launched the Dream Gream art scholarship program in 2012.

Myohwa is one of 40 students funded by Han Sung Motor who took part in creating the media collage “A message has arrived,” together with a French art team, for this year’s Seoul Street Arts Festival.

(Video shot and produced by Lim Jeong-yeo/The Korea Herald)

“I am glad to offer a variety of art work for citizens with art created by Dream Gream as part of the Seoul Street Arts Festival. On continued cooperation with Seoul Foundation for Arts and Culture, Han Sung Motor will provide arts education for Dream Gream scholarship students and help form a virtuous cycle by sharing their talent with the society,” said Han Sung Motor CEO Ulf Ausprung at the unveiling ceremony for the media collage, held earlier this week at Seoul Plaza.

It was Dream Gream’s fifth public art project in partnership with the Seoul Foundation for Arts and Culture, and the theme was “peace.” Dream Gream students wrestled with different views of peace, definitions of peace that came up in a survey, their own ideas about peace, and what conditions are necessary to achieve peace.

Ausprung said the theme was chosen carefully, as it provides a chance to look back on the peace that followed the two world wars. 

Han Sung Motor CEO Ulf Ausprung (first from right), representatives of KompleX KapharnauM and students taking part in the Dream Gream project watch a 20-minute media collage projected on the exterior of the Seoul Metropolitan Library at the opening ceremony Monday. (Han Sung Motor)

“The younger generation does not know a world that is without peace, especially around here, so we have to be mindful what has been achieved and how to conserve it.”

Dream Gream students and French team KompleX KapharnauM held a two-day workshop here last month to brainstorm, according to Han Sung Motor. They also used the media to express their thoughts about different social justice issues.

The media collage contains clips of students engaging in activities leading up to the final piece. It will be projected on the facade of the Seoul Metropolitan Library for four days, ending Sunday.

“Rather than (portraying) a single person’s perspective of peace, it was meaningful and fun to put together a piece with different views,” Myohwa told The Korea Herald after the ceremony.

By arranging mentoring sessions with well-known artists and providing opportunities to attend exhibitions through Dream Gream, among other activities, Han Sung Motor is helping middle- and high-school students to develop their creativity and explore their talents.

The program has helped Myohwa find her identity as an artist and broadened her perspective of the world by learning different forms of art and meeting new people.

“I was stuck in a creative rut when I first began the program and my then-mentor suggested fine art. She also invited me for mentoring sessions at her workspace at Korea National University of Arts,” she said.

“Art is not only about art itself but also a reflection of people’s lives, and through diverse experience (with Dream Gream) I can sense my view (of the world) expanding.”

Students taking part in the Dream Gream project explain their work to Han Sung Motor CEO Ulf Ausprung (second from left) at the opening ceremony of “A new message has arrived,” part of this year’s Seoul Street Arts Festival, held earlier this week in northern Seoul. (Han Sung Motor)

Dream Gream signed a memorandum of understanding with the Seoul Foundation for Arts and Culture in April 2014 and has since collaborated on at least one public art project a year, according to Han Sung.

Unlike most automotive companies and dealers, many of which focus their corporate social responsibility efforts on promoting vehicle safety, Han Sung Motor has taken a different approach by supporting the arts.

“There are two reasons (Han Sung supports the arts). First of all, we consider our vehicles, the Mercedes Benz vehicles’ designs as being artistic, especially if you look at the last couple of years. Second part is me personally, I’m interested in art,” said Ausprung.

The Korea Herald's Kim Bo-gyung interviews Dr. Ulf Ausprung. (Lim Jeong-yeo/The Korea Herald)

As part of Dream Gream’s collaboration with the Seoul Foundation for Arts and Culture, students refurbished an old shelter in the Seoul Jungang Market in 2014, revamped Guro Digital Complex Station’s Exit No. 6, in 2015, remodeled the West Seoul Arts Center for Learning in 2016, and helped the French art group Groupe LAPS complete 98 pieces of keyframe art for last year’s Seoul Street Arts Festival.

Vowing to keep Dream Gream at the core of its CSR efforts, Ausprung said the long-term project had been a success so far.

“We have seen a lot of success, not only in the artistic development, but also as a human being, to become a bigger contributor to society, so we’ll continue with Dream Gream really long term.”

Established in 1985, Han Sung Motor operates Korea’s widest network of dealerships. It consists of 20 showrooms, 25 service centers and eight certified pre-owned vehicle showrooms. 

By Kim Bo-gyung (