Artists are interesting folks and anytime a bunch of them gather in one neighborhood it becomes an interesting neighborhood. A perfect example is Changdong Art Village, full of narrow alleys overflowing with street art, boutique art shops, studios, cafes, coffee shops and even an arcade. Scattered throughout the neighborhood are murals and tributes to some of the country’s most prolific artists, and just down the street is the Changwon City Museum (Moonshin Art Museum).
Welcome to Changdong Art Village
Over 50 different street art murals can be found throughout the three primary alleys of Changdong Art Village: Moonshin Art Alley, Masan Mountain Trail Art Alley, and Ecole de Chang-dong Alley. Murals range from normal sized wall art to giant 2- and 3-story impressive works of art. (Hi res maps included at the bottom of this post.) 😉
Changdong Art Village History
Located in the thousand year old port city of Masan, Changdong used to be the hip heart of the town back in the 1960s and early ’70s. However as the region grew the neighborhood declined. Then in 2010 the entire city of Masan was incorporated into the greater city of Changwon (my home base while exploring Korea) and in 2012 the revitalization of Chang-dong was complete.
As a result of Changdong Art Village’s proximity to the Burim Traditional Market and Masan Fish Market, the area has since become a popular spot for Koreans on vacation as well as Changwon locals. During my 3-4 trips here I did see a couple of foreigners, but they are definitely a rarity. This place is still pretty off the beaten path with foreign tourists. (I spent six weeks based in Changwon and except during the international shooting competition, the few foreigners I encountered around town are all here on brief business trips.)
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From shops selling small plants and household nick-knacks to full-fledged pieces of wall art at various studios and galleries, the neighborhood is dominated by art lovers. Scattered in between the artists and art shops, separated by street art murals, are dozens of small, uniquely themed cafes and coffee shops.
This small park is actually a coffee shop
Changdong Street Art
There are over 50 different art murals and nearly as many art studios scattered throughout this cool and quirky neighborhood. Artists residing within Chang-dong Art Village are selected through an art contest. They also manage workshops and provide visitors with unique experiences and educational opportunities. Of course, it helps if you speak Korean 😉
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Changdong Art Village Map
Changdong Art Village contains three main alleys, Moonshin Art Alley, Masan Mountain Trail Art Alley, and Ecole de Chang-dong Alley, plus several additional smaller alleys connecting the neighborhood together. It takes a good hour to explore at a leisurely pace, or longer if you do a lot of shopping or stop for food/drinks. Start at one end and slowly make your way to the other end, experiencing the shops and sights at your own pace and own convenience — that is why there are maps posted at several locations throughout the village 😉
Here are a few XL versions of Changdong Art Village maps featuring the artists and their shops/galleries
How to get to Changdong Art Village
If you are staying in Changwon central and coming from Yongji Lake or the Changwon bus terminal, the easiest way is the #103 bus — just take it to Bukseong-ro in Masan and walk a couple hundred metres east. Although Google Maps is not the most reliable in South Korea, here is the exact location:
Keep an eye out for Sangsang-gil, otherwise known as “Imagination Road” — the entire street is paved with granite stones engraved with the name and nationality of 23,000 people from all over the world. Oh and be sure to stop by one of the restaurants for a delicious meal 🍴
Other nearby sights include…
- Masan Fish Market (post coming soon)
- Burim Traditional Market
- Moonshin Art Museum
- Good Day Museum (post + video coming soon!)
- Try Agujjim, a fish “so ugly it was considered inedible until the 1960’s” 😉 (video coming soon)