The renovation of the Asia Pacific Cultural Center By Rachel Kelly
The heart of the Asia Pacific Cultural Center is family. Through the Asia Pacific Cultural Center, a rich cultural heritage is freely shared, culminating in an expansion of unity and community. “Our work is important because we fight hate through understanding. Through the Asia Pacific Cultural Center, we share our community values, talents and love,” says Faaluaina Pritchard, the executive director of APCC. The Asia Pacific Cultural Center shares its strong ties to family and its deep connection to a thriving community. That’s something that’s good for everyone.
The Asia Pacific Cultural Center has been present in the community for over 20 years and is truly unique in the Pacific Northwest. Its programs don’t just touch the Asian and Pacific Islander communities, but it is a destination throughout the South Sound and beyond.
Ten years ago, the Asia Pacific Cultural Center entered into a lease with Metro Parks to rent the former South Park Community Center. Over the years, the center and its community involvement has grown—and now has outgrown the capacity of the aging building. The outdated design and small size limits the activities and opportunities of the center. This has led to the closing of the building on South Tacoma Way that has housed the Asia Pacific Cultural Center for the past decade. However, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t hopes and dreams for the future. In partnership with Metro Parks and the greater community, the APCC is at the tail end of raising funds to break ground on a new home that fulfills their needs. The “One Heart, One Home” campaign has already raised 69 percent of its $9.8 million goal through government contributions, foundations, as well as corporate and private donors.
They hope to raise another $3.5 million this season, allowing for the beginning of construction starting in the new year. In the meantime, the Asia Pacific Cultural Center is moving into the Portland Avenue Community Center through the generous support of Metro Parks. After construction, the APCC will move into their new home!
The new and renovated space is planned to be twice the original size, with two community entrances. This much-needed additional space will be well used. The street entrance will enter into the main lobby, which will display the flags of 47 different countries. Also accessible from this entrance will be the café, library, culinary demonstration kitchen, art gallery and offices. The art gallery will showcase the cultural history of the Asian and Pacific Islander peoples as well as their distinct voices. The café will be attached to the gallery with a conjoined gift shop, where snacks and beverages will be offered. The library will be a cultural resource for all the many people that the center represents. For the completion of the library, it is hoped that APCC can partner with Pierce County Library System to create a space that is distinct to the Asian and Pacific Islander peoples. The kitchen will be a space for all the delectable cultural foods that come from the Asian and Pacific Islander areas of the world, as well as a center for job training. The kitchen is especially important, as it is meant to train and house entrepreneurs for thriving food-based cultural businesses.
The second entrance will enter directly into the space meant for performing arts. This space is large enough to house various performing arts, conferences and concerts. It will also be available to the community for rent for events and local happenings. The event space, as well as the new and renovated building as a whole, is sure to be a place of gathering; a destination for learning, community, fun, encouragement, empowerment, and cultural experience. Most importantly, the new Asia Pacific Cultural Center will be able to reflect the heart and expression of the thousands of people who attend and participate in its yearly programs.
The Asia Pacific Cultural Center has a lot on its plate for the future, accomplishing their goals through community partnership. The APCC responds to the distinct needs of their surrounding community, solidifying their importance to everyone here both locally and abroad. One such example is APCC’s Senior Housing Project. In conjunction with LIHI (Low Income Housing Institute), the Asia Pacific Cultural Center is building 78 affordable senior apartments in the Lincoln District. The project addresses the needs of aging Asian and Pacific Islanders, and other residents 55 or older. This includes low income or previously homeless seniors. The Asia Pacific Cultural Center will be part owner of the project with LIHI and will provide on-site support, education and cultural activities.
It is clear that support of the Asia Pacific Cultural Center is a support for many thriving families and communities here in Tacoma. It is partly through a thriving cultural center that we have a more diverse, tolerant and compassionate community. It is something wonderful to be a part of. In the renovation of the Asia Pacific Cultural Center, we see an act of community, unity and innovation. As a people, we are invited to participate and share in the rich familial heritage within the Asia Pacific Cultural Center, as well as be involved in the positive impact of the lives that the center touches on a daily basis.
Since 1996, the Asia Pacific Cultural Center has served the community through art, culture, education and a celebration of diversity. Now we, as a whole, have an opportunity to give back. If you are interested in donating or supporting the Asia Pacific Cultural Center, you can see more at the One Heart One Home Giving Campaign located at