Soprano Sumi Jo received the Geumgwan Order of Cultural Merit on Friday. The nation's highest honor is given to artists by the president of South Korea in recognition of contributions to enhancing Korea's global cultural reputation.
Thirty-two individuals, including Jo, received awards at a ceremony recognizing their contributions, organized by the Culture Ministry, which took place at the Modu Art Theater in central Seoul.
Hwang Eul-sun, intangible cultural heritage holder of royal silk flower making, the late gugak composer Lee Hae-sik and traditional dance choreographer Jeong Seung-hee received the Eungwan Order of Cultural Merit.
The Bogwan Order of Cultural Merit was given to Choi Young-muk, CEO of Light Sound Friends, for leading the establishment of the Korea International Accessible Dance Festival; Pyo Gallery CEO Pyo Mi-seon, the founder of Korea International Art Fair; contemporary painter Oh Su-hwan, also a professor emeritus at Seoul Women's University; craftsman Kang Seok-young, a former professor emeritus at Ewha Womans University; and Park Kwang-woong, former chair of the Korean Theater Association.
The Okgwan Order of Cultural Merit was presented to the late Lee Hyun-joo, former secretary-general of the Korean Library Association; Song Yeong-sook, chair of Hanmi Pharmaceuticals; Park Mun-tae, director of Ulsan Jung-gu Culture Center; the late Oh Seung-cheol, former Jeju branch president of the Korean Writers' Association; Bang Gwi-hee, head of the Korea Disabled Artists Association; and Park Je-yu, CEO of JU Architects and Planners.
The Korea Culture and Arts Award was granted to five individuals: Park Seon-ja, president of the Gangneung Federation of Arts, novelist Yoon Hu-myong, artist Lee Bae, The House Concert CEO Park Chang-soo and Theater Group ZESH CEO Choi Yong-hoon.
Seven artists were recognized with the Today's Young Artist Award, including the Van Cliburn-winning pianist Lim Yun-chan and poet Yoo Hee-kyung. The Good Parent Award was presented to five individuals, among them Yoon Soon-mo, the mother of renowned singer Yang Hee-eun, and actor Yang Hee-kyung.