Rain, SNSD among winners of 2011 Seoul Art & Culture Award

THE Korean entertainers considered to have advanced Korean art and culture in 11 categories last year gathered at the Olympic Gymnastics Stadium in southeastern Seoul to receive the 2011 Seoul Art & Culture Award on Monday.

Rain picked up the world star award, recognized for his cross-continental popularity as a singer and actor. Nine-member girl group Girls' Generation, a.k.a. SNSD, garnered the best Korean pop award for greatly boosting K-pop album sales through their second album "Oh!."

Jeon Do-yeon, the 2007 Cannes Film Festival best actress winner, received the best film actor/actress for her role in the 2010 film "The Housemaid," while actor Lee Beom-soo took the best TV drama actor award for his role in an SBS hit drama "Giant."

TV drama scriptwriter Kang Eun-kyeong was awarded the best drama writer for her 2010 work "Love, Bread and Dreams," while MBC producers Kim Jin-man and Kim Hyeon-cheol won the best TV documentary for "Tears of the Amazon."

Talent agency S.M. Entertainment's founder and chairman Lee Soo-man, who nurtured numerous popular K-pop artists such as BoA, TVXQ and Super Junior, won the best K-pop producer. Musical and TV drama actor Jung Sung-hwa topped the musical category for the 2010 musical "Hero."

The winners were selected by a committee of 20 cultural experts, chaired by Samhwa Networks CEO Shin Hyeon-taek, according to the event organizer Korean Association of Seoul Artistic & Culture, an organization under the Seoul Metropolitan Government.

Sponsored by government agencies including the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism and the Ministry of Health and Welfare, the award ceremony was accompanied by a series of cultural performances for the economically disadvantaged.

About 8,000 audience members included child breadwinners, the disabled, multi-cultural families and international travelers. Actress Lee Da-hae, who is fluent in English and Chinese, was the MC for the event.

The ceremony kicked off with a cross-over performance on a Korean folk song "Arirang," by Korean traditional percussion artist Kim Duk-soo, baritone Seo Jeong-hak and the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra.

A group belly dance and a group dancesport followed and Girls' Generation wrapped up the performance.

The event was different from other cultural awards in that it was organized for the people who usually find it difficult to go to concerts and performing arts, the KASAC said.

-The Korea Herald/Asia News Network