The Korean American Association of RI (KAARI) was founded in 1975 by a small group of dedicated Korean immigrants, who were passionate about creating a Korean-American community in RI. The purpose of KAARI was to promote friendship, welfare, and education among its members and to contribute constructive cultural exchanges and promote goodwill between Koreans and Rhode Islanders.
Korean Folk Art Master Artist Jung-Hee Oh
2019 RI State Council on the Arts Fellowship Awardee
Jung-Hee Oh is a Korean traditional music artist in ‘Gayageum Byeong-chang’ (singing with self-accompaniment of the Gayageum instrument) and ‘Pansori’ (a traditional story-telling performed by a solo vocalist accompanied by a drummer).
Ms. Oh is recognized as a Korean government cultural ministry’s intangible cultural property No. 23 in Gayageum with song and ‘Sanjo.’ She has been practicing Gayageum for about 30 years and performed at countless international and domestic performing stages and musical venues.
At the age of 11, Jung-Hee became a protégé of a legendary singer Park Kui-Hee. From Ms. Oh’s appearance in a well-known music contest, Park recognized her superior artistic talent and recommended that she be her apprentice. Park was the title holder of the Intangible Cultural Asset No, 23 with Gayageum Byungchang. Park was the most influential artist with contribution in creating Changgeuk, which is a play acted in Pansori theatrical style. After master folk artist Park deceased, Jung-Hee became an apprentice under another legendary artist, Ahn Sook-Seon, who is the successor of master Park Kui-Hee for the Intangible Cultural Asset No, 23. Master Ahn is now considered the foremost musician in Korean traditional arts world. Her crisp clear voice and precise pronunciation won the second prize in Jeonju Daesaseup, which is the most prestigious contest in Korean folk music, and she earned yisuja title for the Intangible Cultural Asset No, 21.
Jung-Hee graduated from Chung-Ang University with a master’s degree in Korean traditional music program. She later joined the National Changgeuk Company of Korea.
She came to the United States in 2007 and joined the performance troupe “Sounds of Korea.” She has an extensive performance resume at various recitals and concerts in the United States and around the world.
INTERVIEW WITH JUNG-HEE OH
What is Gayageum?
Gayageum is the most well-known Korean traditional zither, and it has 12 silk strings supported by 12 moveable bridges. Traditionally, it is made of pawlonia wood and consists of strings stretched over moveable frets. It was developed around the 6th century. Gayageum use silk strings that produce clear and beautiful sound. For a comparison, a closest western musical instrument is harp.
What is Gayageum Byungchang?
Gayageum Byungchang is a form of duet for voice and Gayageum. This genre stems from the practice of masters of the Gayageum who are also adept at Pansori. In Gayageum Byungchang, the Gayageum is used as a heartbeat, to regulate and punctuate the rhythm of a song like a drum. The instrument marks the beginning and the end of the rhythmic cycles by filling the place of voice during interludes.
What is Pansori?
‘Pansori,’ often referred to as Korean Opera, is a type of traditional Korean music which tells a themed story in the form of music theater, with two musicians sharing the spotlight- a singer (‘sorikkun’) and a drummer (‘gosu’). The singer plays the central role through his singing, words, and body language while the drummer plays an accompanying role by providing the rhythm and shouting words of encouragement to add to the passion of the performance. With a distinct, inimitable sound, rhythm, and singing technique, Pansori is truly representative of Korea’s unique cultural landscape.
RI HERITAGE FESTIVAL AT THE WATERFIRE CENTER
The RI Historical Preservation & Heritage Commission
RI’s 42nd Heritage Day Festival has been scheduled for
Saturday, September 26, 2020
WaterFire Arts Center,
475 Valley Street, Providence, RI 02908
12:00 to 5:00 pm
“Explore the world through art and music!”
Admission to this family event is FREE!
Join in a lively celebration of our state’s rich cultural heritage! The WaterFire Arts Center will be filled with culture, art, music, and dancing from around the world.
This unique festival bridges Rhode Islanders’ cultures and expressions of creative talent. Rhode Island heritage groups will present cultural exhibits, visual art, and craft demonstrations from all over the world. There will be food trucks offering an array of traditional foods and drinks. The children’s area will have free face painting, arts, and crafts.
The day begins with a parade of international flags of over 30 countries. Throughout the day dancers and musicians from various countries will perform. This year’s festival will also include a multinational fashion show featuring traditional and ceremonial clothing. Angela Sharkey and Kobi Dennis will be the MC’s.
The Rhode Island Historical Preservation & Heritage Commission is excited to be partnering with the Rhode Island Expansion Arts Program this year.
Thanks to the White Family Foundation, The Steel Yard will be operating the biggest summer youth program in our history! Every year, we host week-long educational summer camps in Metals and Jewelry for youth ages 14 through 18. The Foundation has generously awarded us close to $10,000 to provide scholarships for youth to attend Camp Metalhead (welding) and Camp Copperhead (jewelry) in July 2020.
Camp Metalhead offers the opportunity to rip through steel with gas torches – and teaches how to fuse it back together with a 10,000-degree electrical arc.
Camp Copperhead sees students sawing, filing, soldering scoring and bending their way to their own jewelry designs.
And once the week-long camp is over? All participants can come to open studio sessions – free of charge – to continue their work or learn something new. Scholarships applications will be available later in the Spring of 2020 – so stay tuned! Kudos to the White Family Foundation for opening the doors to the industrial arts for countless young people throughout Rhode Island.
Community is created at the intersection of people and places. It’s the most tangible place where relationships are formed, challenges are felt, problems are solved. That’s why community-making is important.
The Foundation’s Community Grants program provides grants up to $10,000 for community-making efforts that make unique and important things happen at this intersection.
Previous Community Grants have supported community gardens, walking tours, artistic performances, public art, and little free libraries. For 2020, we are looking for projects that:
Build social networks and connection among neighbors
Develop and sustain strong relationships that persist over time and experience
Enhance the role of shared public spaces as community anchors
Help people collaborate in order to identify goals, solve problems, or make group decisions
Share traditions with community members
We also consider whether the project will serve marginalized communities, provide geographic spread across Rhode Island, and align with available funds.
Nonprofit organizations, municipal governments, public agencies like libraries or schools, and volunteer-led groups such as neighborhood and resident associations are eligible to apply. Organizations that do not have a 501(c)(3) IRS designation will require a fiscal sponsor.
To be eligible, proposals must:
Be doable – i.e. they will generate visible results within the next 12 – 18 months
Have staying power — i.e. create a lasting impact
Be openly accessible to the community
Be relevant and meaningful to the specific community
Leverage capital (financial, human, and social) from the community – as indicated by a cash match, committed volunteer time, donated space, or other in-kind contributions
Community Grants are intended to support one-time costs and expenses, and are not meant to sustain ongoing programming. Applicants will not be eligible for renewed support for the same project in future years. The program does not support:
Religious organizations for religious purposes
Applications must be submitted by midnight (EST) on March 13, 2020. Please note that no assistance will be available after 5 p.m. (EST).
How to Apply
To apply, please visit the Rhode Island Foundation’s website at
The American Alliance for Theatre & Education (AATE) will be held in Phoenix, AZ from July 29, 2020 to August 2, 2020. The conference has internships available for those interested in a career in theater! Intern benefits include free registration, one-on-one time with AATE leadership, as well as countless networking opportunities.