Our Partners

Asian Pacific Cultural Center (APCC)

"Foreseen Place for Pan-Asian Community Action"

Born from the vision of local community leaders, the Asian Pacific Cultural Center (APCC) is now on its way to breaking ground on a new facility to house and carry out its dream of a pan-Asian cultural hub. Through its community engagement process, APCC recognizes its own potential to impact broader policies and actions that affect the Asian Pacific community.

APCC Performance

The packed room sat hushed as the stories were shared. One by one, former brewery workers from the Saint Paul area stepped up to reflect on memories long passed about the old Hamm's brewery building. They, along with dozens of others, had attended one of the APCC's series of community forums. Now, as the nonprofit organization is considering the facility for the site of their new cultural and community space, many feel a sense of passing on the torch for Asian Pacific Cultural Center APCC to inhabit the historic space and fill it with new community memories and stories.  

Asian Pacific Cultural Center APCC was founded in 1998 to create an arts and education hub for both Asian and non-Asian Minnesotans to experience aspects of Asian cultures. The idea for a Pan-Asian cultural center first surfaced in a meeting attended by representatives from twenty Asian Pacific community organizations. The vision of the center is as a vibrant resource for all the state's residents to participate in and enjoy visual arts, performing arts, martial arts, cuisine, and educational activities in Asian Pacific languages and traditions. When completed, Asian Pacific Cultural Center APCC is envisioned to be the largest Pan-Asian cultural center in the United States, representing more than forty Asian and Asian Pacific communities throughout the state of Minnesota.  

APCC's mission is to celebrate, promote, and foster understanding of Asian Pacific cultural heritage. Specific organizational strategies include providing opportunities to further understanding of Asian Pacific communities, creating cultural bridges between generations, and providing opportunities for Minnesota to engage the global business community. The committed volunteers of Asian Pacific Cultural Center APCC hope that a new cultural center, tentatively planned for 2013, will help them further these goals.

"This [community engagement] was a helpful process for when Asian Pacific Cultural Center APCC was in the public eye and needed to be able to articulate our vision." -Naomi Chu, Executive Director

Through community engagement, Asian Pacific Cultural Center (APCC) engaged their organizational stakeholders in various ways in order to explore their vision and future role within community. Such activities included monthly board discussions, community forum events, and one-on-one conversations with community leaders and organizational representatives.

Many participants talked about the difficulty of cultivating a "pan-Asian identity", since the ethnic and cultural groups encompassed by the term are numerous, extremely diverse, and wide-ranging. Political and intergenerational tensions among these groups can make consensus-building a difficult prospect. In anticipating this challenge, Asian Pacific Cultural Center APCC noted the necessity of focusing on common ground; a vision towards a more socially just community for all. Strong and mutually beneficial partnerships with existing organizations and individuals will also be essential in APCC's work.

In addition to learning about the value of strategic partnerships and alliances, Asian Pacific Cultural Center APCC gained an increased understanding of the community's potential power to leverage policy making. Although the governor vetoed APCC's bonding bill proposal during the Spring 2008 legislative session, hundreds of people had been stirred to action to support APCC's capital campaign. Through the organization's education and organizing efforts, Asian Pacific Cultural Center APCC stakeholders intend to increase this momentum of an Asian and Pacific Islander collective voice in order to influence future local and statewide policy decisions.

After the recent hurdles of community politics and of the vetoed bill, Asian Pacific Cultural Center APCC now plans to take time to re-group and reformulate how its vision can come to fruition. The organization plans to develop an institutionalized form of community engagement in order to continue to foster mutual learning among its stakeholders.

Though it can be difficult to engage the deep-seated and prolonged political issues within community, Executive Director Naomi Chu said that "having the NGEC provide the motivation and focus has really helped ensure that these dialogues stay at the forefront of our organization." Whatever may emerge to resource and house Asian Pacific Cultural Center (APCC, those community members and leaders involved will strive to stay connected and empowered.