Heyri Art Valley – Paju, South Korea - Atlas Obscura

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Heyri Art Valley

A thriving artist's wonderland located just 6 kilometers from Korea's DMZ. 


The door of artist residence Motif#1 is open. Always. That’s just how it is at the Korean artist compound known as the Heyri Art Valley, where artists live, work, and display their pieces in an encompassing womb of creation. 

Located close to the concrete hive that is Seoul, and even closer to Korea’s DMZ, (just 6 kilometers away) the artist’s collective promotes an attitude of openness where hiding your work behind hedges and fences is not allowed. This ethos of constant creation and collaboration exists throughout every aspect of the colony down to the street lights which are dim and sparse, reasoning, “How else can you enjoy the stars?” Among the many buildings in the community there are over 50 galleries, museums, cafes and restaurants supporting over 500 artists including sculptors, actors, painters, writers, and photographers. As would be expected from a town built by and for artists, each structure is built in a unique and striking architectural style, from the building meant to look like chocolate to the environmentally forward structure with tree branches growing right through the walls.

Heyri Valley was envisioned and established by Korean book publisher Kim Eun-ho in 2001, bringing an almost utopian vision of an artist’s community to vibrant, thriving life. It is estimated that there will be 500 buildings in the valley by 2015, creating a dreamlike vanguard of art, peace, and togetherness just a stone’s throw from one of the most contested borders in the world.

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Drive East over the Freedom Highway coming from Seoul

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