Chinese Culture Center
Chinese Culture Foundation /
Center of San Francisco
Former Executive Director
J. K. Choy, Samuel Wong, Nellie Tom Quock, H. K. Wong, Joe Yuey, Ching Wah Lee, Thomas Chinn, Tom Do Hing
Direct programs to San Francisco and the Bay Area communities and services to locals and tourists. There is also a strong national and global influence through the arts exhibitions and other international programs.
What is your organization’s mission and cause?
The mission of the Chinese Culture Center is to preserve, promote, and influence the course of Chinese and Chinese American culture.
The Center is a bridge for people to share, experience, and learn about how Chinese culture is practiced and experienced, adapted and assimilated throughout the world. The Bay Area, with its diverse ethnic and strong Asian and Asian American presence, highly educated, professionally aspiring population within easy reach of metropolitan San Francisco, offers strong opportunities.
What are some of the programs available through your organization?
The Center offers classes in Mandarin, calligraphy, brush painting, Tai-chi, and family history/genealogy. The Center prides itself with an strong exhibition program that features classical and contemporary Chinese art and culture, such as the Art from the Han Dynasty, Chinese Puzzles, Present Tense Contemporary Art, Beili Liu' Lure Exhibition, TEA Exhibition, Bruce Lee Exhibition.. The Center also presents musical, dance, and performing arts events, such as the Chinese Opera. The Center's signature program features a yearlong family heritage program, In Search of Roots, where students journey to China to search for and visit their ancestral villages
What is the history behind your organization?
In 1964 Howard Johnson had proposed to buy the land from the city at Kearny and Washington. J. K. Choy, Samuel Wong, Nellie Tom Quock, H. K. Wong, Ching Wah Lee, and Thomas Chinn, with the services of the J. Francis Ward firm, approached the City authorities with a proposal to have a Chinese Cultural and Trade Center. On October 15th 1965, the Chinese Cultural Foundation was formed while negotiations with Justices Enterprises was taking place. The structure to be built was a twenty-seven story Holiday Inn, with the condition that 20,000 square foot facility would be dedicated to cultural activities; this is what became the Chinese Culture Center.
What motivates you to continue to work with your organization?
As a fourth generation Chinese America who was born and raised in the Philippines, I believe in the importance for all Americans to know where they come from because our country embraces people from all over the world and native Americans. The Chinese Culture Center provides a safe space where Americans of Chinese ancestry and all other Americans can learn about Chinese and Chinese American culture...our rites and rituals, our heroes and heroines, our language, our traditions, our history, our art and music, our roots. I believe that strong roots build strong character, strong characters create strong communities, and strong communities give us a strong counrty. Strong countries are the basis of world peace. I am guided by the old Chinese saying, "when drinking water, remember the source (yinshui siyuan)."