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Chapter 45 Part 1 - The Mysterious Art Museum

A street artist's life changed when he ended up at a mysterious art museum. DBT,Korean,Novel,Translation,Art,Artist,Slice of life,Poor to Rich,Mystery

Artist Company (6)

Min-young holds her face in her hands, sighing.

"It's because of the virus situation, you know."


This global pandemic, which has been annoying to even mention due to its long-lasting torment, has dealt a tremendous blow to the economic structure of society as a whole, including the film and theater industries.

Min-young glances at me and says, "It's almost over, but the past three years have been tough on the movie, theater, and exhibition businesses. The government enforced social distancing measures like spaced seating. For theaters, following these orders was a bitter pill to swallow, as any viral incidents requiring closure for disinfection meant no operation costs could be covered."

Hmm, Yeongju mentioned this a year ago.

I couldn't afford cultural activities, so it didn't concern me, but Yeongju had a theater performance she had eagerly pre-booked as an early bird canceled the day before due to a virus issue at the venue. While ticket refunds are easy for the audience, it must have been a huge loss for the theater.

Min-young continues, "With no audience, investors and distributors kept delaying performances and investments. Production companies struggled without funds for new shows, and theaters had no new releases, just gathering dust. Meanwhile, the paradigm shifted to watching movies on OTT sites, pushing the theater industry into a dire crisis."

I wouldn't invest in theater businesses in this climate either.

Monica interjects, "Jung-hoon."


"How much do you think theater business revenue decreased compared to 2019, before the COVID-19 situation?"

Would I know that?

Still, since she asked, let's think about it. We often say stock investments halve when they fail. I shared a similar thought, "Maybe it decreased by about 50%?"

Monica laughs bitterly, "Industry size shrank by 60%, and theater revenues by 70%."

Wow, isn't that basically bankruptcy?

Even if large companies like movie distributors or famous theaters can survive, how do smaller theaters manage? Even in normal times, there were frequent stories of starving theater actors. How are they coping?

Min-young rests her chin on her hand, clicking her tongue, "One of the board members submitted a report showing that last year, the CJ Towol Theater at the Seoul Arts Center suffered a 50% loss compared to its production costs. The board used this to oppose the construction of a large theater in W Tree Hannam."

I suddenly become curious, "When did they start building the theater?"

"Four years ago."

That's before COVID-19 then.

"Ah, so they were caught in this situation after construction began."

Min-young nods and downs a bitter shot of soju, "The virus issue will end eventually. The problem is that it'll take too much time for investors to start reinvesting and for productions to be completed and turn profitable. Calculating the time until theater businesses get back on track, the conclusion is that the investment returns will be too delayed."

"We can't just tear down a theater that's already built, can we?"

It's not like playing SimCity where you can delete a multi-billion won theater with a click. What does the board want?

Monica joins in, "The board is considering repurposing the Catacomb for concerts by established singers instead of opera, musical, and theater performances."

Regular concerts?

Aren't those usually held in sports stadiums? Plus, a 3,000-seat venue is an awkward size for concerts. Popular idol groups easily attract over 10,000 fans.

Well, there must be demand if they're considering it. But is there a reason they can't do it?

Seeing my expression, Monica explains, "The Catacomb is specifically designed for musicals and operas. Every aspect of its architectural and structural design is tailored for that. Hosting concerts isn't impossible, but if it were originally intended as a general concert venue, it could have been built with half the current construction costs."

So, it's a waste to use such facilities for regular concerts. Honestly, I've never thought classical performances are more dignified and pop or K-pop singers are less so. It's true, though, that the Seoul Arts Center doesn't easily rent out its venues to general singers.

Min-young sighs, "There's a second board meeting in two days. According to the information, if the management doesn't agree to use the Catacomb for general singers' concerts, the board plans to vote on halting construction."

Wow, that's a lot of money invested in that theater. Why not just let the singers perform?

I was itching to speak, but Min-young's determined look made me keep quiet. After all, as a businesswoman with a deep appreciation for art, having graduated from the Florence Academy of Art, her stubbornness is understandable.

But wait.

Wasn't I commissioned to paint a mural for this theater?

Wasn't I commissioned to paint the theater's ceiling?

What happens to me if the board decides to halt the construction?

Seeing my anxious expression, Min-young grins.


To me, it's a life-changing big deal. But to these people, it seems like a trivial amount that doesn't even need board approval, which makes me feel somewhat bitter. However, it means there will be no issues with my work.

Of course, it's regrettable that I can't show my diligently painted ceiling to anyone, but at least I can make some money. It would be terrible if things went wrong after even making Young-joo resign.

Min-young fills my glass and waves her hand.

"Come on, let's stop talking about this. Let's just enjoy our drinks today."

The glasses go around again, and various conversations ensue. Not wanting to think about the board, Min-young, who had been talking about paintings and exhibitions, smiles and says as the mood improves again.

"Has Secretary Kim not contacted you yet?"

"About what?"

"The portrait payment."


How much will I receive?

I hope it's at least five hundred. I would have no wishes left if it was ten million won.

"It hasn't come yet."

"My father has given specific instructions, so it's a bit delayed. He'll probably contact you tomorrow."

Can't you wait one more day? There are so many people who drag it out for months without paying.

"Yes, I'll wait."

"Hehe, look forward to it."


Min-young winks and downs her soju.

Look forward to it? Could it be that she's matching it to ten million won? Is that really happening?

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