Han Sung Motor, the largest Mercedes-Benz dealer in Korea, is strengthening its social contribution this year by expanding its young artist development program, Dream Gream.
The program, which offers a variety of art classes, a summer camp and mentoring, has nurtured 20 teenage students from financially challenged families as young artists every year since 2012.
The company decided to double the number of sponsored students to 40 this year, motivated by impressive feedback from all stakeholders of the program, including former students, participating instructors and mentors.
“The program is getting more dynamic and gaining more momentum,” Han Sung Motor CEO Ulf Ausprung said at the launch event for Dream Gream’s fourth year, held in Seoul on Feb. 5.
Collaborating with a professional graffiti artist, students drew graffiti-style letters on the wall to depict the slogan of the 2015 Dream Gream project ― “Life is art, and art is life.”
The German CEO, who joined the company in 2011, says he is involved in developing young Koreans’ talents as part of the company’s efforts to pay back to society.
The program supports students’ long-term growth by helping them to learn the arts until they graduate. Only when a student graduates is a new member selected to fill the vacancy. This will also apply to the 20 students that joined this month, the automobile dealer said.
For the past four years, the program organizer has received positive feedback from the participants.
Ausprung shared a story of a female student who graduated from the program last year.
“Last year, she said she had become a different person through the program. In the past, she was not very self-confident, but when she graduated, she became different,” he said.
“She is self-confident being around other people, standing in front of people and opening up (about) what she feels.”
Besides personal growth, another benefit of the Dream Gream program is the variety of its art classes and programs.
“Students can learn a lot about art. Our program has everything. We have furniture design, caricature, graffiti, visual art and so on,” Ausprung said.
Partnership with the Korea Mecenat Association and the Seoul Foundation for Arts and Culture adds variety to the program.
Students in the program also participate in public art projects, designed by SFAC.
In November, Dream Gream students joined a public art project to refurbish Seoul Jungang Market, one of the city’s oldest traditional markets.
This year, they will take part in another public art project with SFAC to transform the area around Guro Station, which stands as a symbol of Korea’s industrialization, by painting a mural.
The company also expanded the mentor group to support students in the program.
The mentoring group is composed of university art majors and Han Sung Motor employees, who offer life and career coaching to students.