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November 2003, Anyang-si mayor and Anyang-si Cultural Street Development Committee members visiting the site after discussing the Sidagm Street Development Preliminary Plan.

Saturating Neighborhood with Poems

Kim Jeong-Hoon, Chosun Ilbo reporter


.....Last month 7th, a huge stone pillar of more than one span of a man's arms was placed by the roadside in front of the Jayu Park at Galsan-dong, Dongan-gu, Anyang-si. Around the pillar are eight clay pots of different sizes, and inside them float water hyacinths. In front of those are three poem stones which look rather out of place. Constellations of four seasons are carved on the stones, and copper plates engraved with poems 'Flower', 'Bicycle', and 'Face' are affixed onto the stones. The residents aptly call these stones 'Poem Stones'.
.....A casual glance may see it as just another street decoration any regional government tries so hard to put up, but this is really a residents' voluntary effort. Their determination is to fill up the 900-meter-long section of the eight-lane Pyeongchon Road in front of Jayu Park and the whole of Galsan-dong with poetry. This section of the road is named 'Sidagm' which means 'flow of poems, tea and music'. Everything is being done in a breeze: the idea was first proposed last May, plans were drawn out in June and August, symbolic structures were put in place in September and October, and now residents are preparing to formally incorporate the Sidagm Street Development Committee.

.....This project is a brainchild of the graphic designer Hwang Bu-Yong (52). "I have been thinking of doing this whenever I walked or jogged around here since I moved to this neighborhood three years ago," Hwang explains. "It's not that every street has to have trees, and every cultural street doesn't have to have fountains with flashing lights here and there."

.....Although there is now nothing more than symbolic structures and three poem stones, a lot is to be done by 2008. Just as people plant memorial trees on special days like birthdays, they are planning to receive donations of poem stones. Despite the rather hefty price of 2,000 to 6,000 US Dollars, there has been a dozen of inquiries and some reservations. Companies could be persuaded to 'contribute to regional culture development rather than wasting money on highway billboards that nobody cares about.' About ten poem stones donated by companies and about fifty by individuals would be placed along this street.

.....The retaining walls around Jayu Park are also about to go through redecoration. The dull gray walls will be covered with poem plates-black stones or copper plates engraved with poems and attached with a stone dust-mixed high-strength adhesive. Set around that like a bamboo forest would be nearby school children's poems engraved onto metal pipes, forming a 'forest of poems'.

.....Something could be done about leftover spaces by requesting to the city hall as well. A request has been made to the city hall to plant saxifrages in shaded areas where grass cannot grow well enough to cover the red-colored soil. Instead of putting up signs telling children to keep off grass, the city hall could also place logs or used rail support woods on frequently trodden passages to allow more free movement of residents.

.....Sidagm neighbors anticipate that the surrounding will change as the street undergoes the transformation. Signboards would be changed and shops around the street would be decorated with poems. Old book shops, record shops, tea shops and restaurants would also be invited to open along the street, adding to the atmosphere. "While Insa-dong could be called the street of old culture, Sidagm Street will be a futuristic cultural street," Hwang asserts. "Expect to see great changes here in the next five years."

.....[December 1, 2003]


Sidagm Street:
Pyeongchon's New Attraction Created by Residents


Han Dong-Hoon, Kyunghyang Sinmun reporter


....."This dull street will be a lofty literature street in five years." Residents of the new town of Pyeongchon, Anyang-si, Gyeonggi-do are engaged in a project of turning an uninteresting city street into a 'street of literature' with poetry and music. The residents of Gansan-dong, Dongan-gu, Anyang-si are creating the 'Sidagm Street' out of the 0.9 km stretch of Pyeongchon Road between Jayu Park and Hanyang Apartment in Galsan-dong. The Sidageum Street Development Committee, comprised of artists and entrepreneurs in Galsan-dong apartment complexes, received the Anyang-si city hall's approval last August to make this area into a street of literature. 'Sidagm' means poetry, tea and music in Chinese characters. The Committee plans to set up around sixty structures engraved with poems, display ten thousand poems and related works, open old book shops, art galleries, tea cup shops, handicraft shops, traditional tea shops, studios, music shops, and record shops in the next five years.

....."We plan to make this a street full of literature works by engraving poems on building walls and hanging poems on street trees," explains Hwang (52), the secretary of the Committee. "Once Pyeongchon Art Hall opens nearby and related firms follow it, Sidageum Street will be a literature street of its own class." The Committee has already set up symbolic structures and three poem stones engraved with 'Flower' by Kim Chun-Soo, 'Face' by Park In-Hwan, and 'Bicycle' by Kim Jong-Kil. Additional sixty poem stones are to be set up along the street next year. The Committee also requested the city hall to engrave faces and works of top one hundred Korean poets on the retaining walls around Jayu Park and set up sculptures by Park Doo-Jin and Ki Hyung-Do who are both related to the Anyang area.

.....All production costs of the exhibition items are funded by residents' donations. Costs of the current three poem stones are borne by the residents, and two residents have pledged to donate more. The Committee has been giving briefing sessions to apartment tenants committees, ladies' circles and shopkeepers for active participation of residents. The Committee also maintains a web site and distributes flyers to promote the street transformation. "Majority of the residents are with us for the project and some shopkeepers are even asking us for interior design advices," Hwang says. "In the near future Sidagm Street will become a famous literature street of Korea, just like Insa-dong in Seoul."

.....[November 29, 2003]


3 km of Sidagm Street, Pyeongchon Turning into
Place of Poetry, Tea and Music


Kim Young-Seok, Segye Ilbo reporter


.....Residents of a new town are getting on their own feet to create an international cultural street of poetry, tea and music. Hwang Bu-Yong (52) and other residents of Galsan-dong, Dongan-gu, Anyang-si, Gyeonggi-do formed the Sidageum Street Development Committee to make a cultural street out of both sides of Pyeongchon Road between Jayu Park and Pyeongchon Art Hall and nearby streets, an area stretching three kilometers in total. The Committee submitted its 'Sidagm Street Development Plan' to the Anyang city hall on July 15, and the cultural street was approved 13th of last month. Sidagm is a Chinese character expression of poetry, tea and music. The Committee plans for the next five years to set up over ten thousand pieces of various structures including poem-egg stones, poem plates, memorial mounds for poets and musicians, and artistic structures in and around jogging paths, roadsides, tree shades, lawns, and park retaining walls.

.....The Committee intends to receive donations of fix amounts on residents' wedding days, birthdays and other memorial days and use the funds to internally produce the poem stones. Three residents have already donated funds for producing poem stones beginning of this month, and two more have pledged to do the same.

.....Poem-egg stones are large granite pieces in shapes of leaf, sun, moon, and egg, sized between 75 and 156 cm. Poems, constellations, names of donors, and memorial stories are engraved on them. They are similar to those at Sanho Park in Masan, Gyeongsangnam-do and Yongdusan Park, Busan, but smaller in size. On the other hand, poem plates, to be fixed on the retaining walls of the park, are 30 mm thick artificial stone plates affixed with B5 to B3 size mold plates engraved with poems.

.....The city hall has also accepted the Committee's suggestion to provide for opening of coffee shops and cafes, traditional tea shops, tea cup shops, old book shops, art shops, and music shops along the both sides of the street.

.....[September 27, 2003]


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