BY CHARYSSE REASER
After months of looking for a new home, the Asia Pacific Cultural Center (APCC) Tacoma has now settled itself in an office space inside the Children’s Museum of Tacoma.
An open house for its new location at 934 Broadway St., Tacoma was held on Sept. 15.
The APCC was formed in 1996 as a nonprofit organization dedicated to educating the community about Asian Pacific cultures and arts. Until earlier this spring, it had been housed in the old Tacoma Art Museum building on Pacific Avenue.
According to the founder of the organization, Patsy Surh O’Connell, “We anticipated that we should be able to find someone from the Asian Pacific Islander community who had the vision and would be financially willing and able to come forward to make this project succeed for our community’s betterment.”
Unfortunately, this was not the case, and the building had to be sold in order to maintain the existence of the APCC.
O’Connell said it would have been a great shame if the organization had to close altogether.
“This project cannot be carried forward by only a handful of dedicated volunteers, but it requires that all of the communities have to see this as an important project for our succeeding generations,” she said, adding that these communities failed to see what was being made available
Their former building was sold at what the APCC says was the “appraised value” to a group that included Eric Cederstrand, a board member. Cederstrand was also a personal guarantor and initial signatory when the building was first bought by the APCC.
APCCs new location was donated by Cederstrand, which helps the organization out because the money saved by not having to pay rent for the next two years will give APCC the opportunity to purchase another space later on.
Since the beginning, the APCC’s goals were directed toward community education, bringing the cultures of the Pacific to Tacoma. They hosted events, art and cultural classes, lectures, and children’s activities.
In 2004 they brought a Korean ink painting exhibit, a Japanese kite exhibit, “The Tao of Tea” lecture, a Polynesian luau, a Filipino Tinikling dance performance, a Filipino artists show, among many other events.
They also offered classes on painting, silk flower making, dance, and yoga.
According to the press release from the APCC board earlier in the year, “[The] APCC has endeavored to construct meaningful bridges of understanding and appreciation between our Asian Pacific immigrant cultures and the ‘mainstream’ community.”
O’Connell, a Korean American, earlier this year spent six weeks in Korea and China and in China. She observed kindergarten classes where students were taught about other cultures.
“I am afraid after observing them, that our own children in America are too uneducated about American culture in general, and about cultural heritage of Asian Pacific Islander Americans to be able to communicate with those Asian children who are learning English, U.S. history, U.S. culture,” she said.
O’Connell worries that business and economic developments between the cultures will be at a disadvantage. “Our school system can’t cover all our business partner countries’ cultures.”