The Korea Herald


New Mecenat Association Chair Yoon Young-dal stresses arts in corporate culture

Crown-Haitai Confectionery executive takes leadership of 30-year-old organization

By Park Ga-young

Published : March 12, 2024 - 22:17

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Korea Mecenat Association Chair Yoon Young-dal speaks during a press conference on Tuesday in Seoul. (Korea Mecenat Association) Korea Mecenat Association Chair Yoon Young-dal speaks during a press conference on Tuesday in Seoul. (Korea Mecenat Association)

“Mecenat is about strengthening the roots of businesses,” according to Yoon Young-dal, the new chairperson of Korea Mecenat Association, on Tuesday.

Mecenat, derived from the name of Gaius Maecenas, a politician of ancient Rome who promoted the creative activities of artists and contributed to the revival of Roman art, refers to patronage or sponsorship of the arts, culture or education by individuals, businesses or organizations.

The 30-year-old organization with 215 member companies has been engaged in various activities that help companies support the arts and culture.

“Culture and the arts are not merely an option for a company; they are essential,” Yoon, who also chairs Crown-Haitai Confectionery, said during a press conference Tuesday in Seoul.

He added that “supporting arts and culture leads to happiness of employees, which in turn make the customers happy, and leads corporate development.”

Yoon also said that companies benefit from culture and the arts, mentioning the popularity of the song "Bam Yang Gang" sung by singer Bibi, drawing attention to Haitai Confectionery's yanggaeng products. Yanggaeng is a traditional Korean sweet made from glutinous rice flour, sugar and various nuts or seeds.

“The power of culture is tremendous. We are seeing more and more benefits of art,” he added.

Yoon, who particularly loves the traditional Korean music form gugak, poetry and sculpture, said, "I want to put more efforts into revitalizing traditional music, which doesn't get much corporate support, along with efforts for balanced development of various art genres.”

Yoon has supported gugak for over 20 years with a program that supports gugak talent and a camp supporting underprivileged children who face difficulty in accessing cultural activities and the arts, as well as a gugak festival called Changshin Festival since 2004.

Yoon even suggested a new term to replace "gugak," meaning national music. In 2022, Yoon, together with traditional musicians, proposed the new term "haneum," meaning Korean music, to refer to traditional Korean music.

The chair expressed concerns about the reduction in government support for the Art Support Matching Fund project, which has been operated by the Korea Mecenat Association and the Korea Arts and Culture Education Service since 2007. The cumulative matching count of this project, which provides additional support to the Arts Promotion Fund in proportion to the amount of corporate donations for arts organizations, reached 1,937, providing approximately 52.7 billion won ($40.2 million) to the arts sector.

"The Matching Fund, as a representative public-private partnership project, has received over three times the amount of corporate funding compared to government fund injections. As increasing the budget for the Matching Fund, which has a megaton impact on the development of the arts, is urgently needed, we ask the government to show active interest," he noted.