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Gordon H. Chang

"As the CCC enters its sixth decade, it

remains a vibrant, energetic, and bold
community-based organization that engages
multiple audiences. It seeks to serve, as well
as to enlighten audiences, understanding its
responsibility to empower vital cultural and
social identities in defining what Chinese
art and culture mean in a rapidly changing

About the Author

Board of Directors
CCC Team




Rotation, painting installation,

Zheng Chongbin, 2012
Cover images:
2 White Ink No.1, ink wash, acrylic on xuan paper
Zheng Chongbin, 2011

Back: Work from The Curiosity Box San Francisco,

Lam Tung-pang, 2013

I want to thank Professor Gordon H. Chang for his
generous leadership and keen observations on the
transformation of the Chinese Culture Foundation and
the Chinese Culture Center. I have known Gordon
since our community activism days and have admired
his academic achievements over the years.
Dr. Gordon H. Chang is a distinguished professor
and writer on Asian American history and an authority
on US-Asia relations. His writing on the history of the
CCC enables a greater understanding of its forward
looking vision, and the role it will play in the years and
decades ahead.
I encourage readers to also study Thirty Years of the
Chinese Culture Foundation and Twenty-Two Years
of the Chinese Culture Center of San Francisco,
reflecting on the Centers storied past by the late Him
Mark Lai. Its a story that recounts the Foundations
early beginnings with founder JK Choy and other
important figures during the Civil Rights era, and
unique involvement in Chinatowns identity and
The Foundation continues the march of those who
came before, for a more just, equitable, and vibrant
Chinatown. I have a bold dream. Art and culture are
critical and necessary to advance social justice and
world peace.

Mabel S. Teng

About the
D r. G o r d o n H . C h a n g i s a n
internationally recognized authority
and author on Asian American and
US-East Asia historical relations. He
is the Oliver H. Palmer Professor in
Humanities and Professor of History
at Stanford University.
Professor Chang is the author
and editor of numerous books
including Friends and Enemies:
The United States, China, and
The Soviet Union, 1948-1972,
Chinese American Voices: From
the Gold Rush to the Present,
Asian Americans and Politics: An
Exploration, and Morning Glory,
Evening Shadow: Yamato Ichihashi
and His Wartime Writing, 19421945. Changs most recent work,
Fateful Ties: A History of Americas
Preoccupation with China, is a
comprehensive introduction to the
intellectual and cultural origins of
Sino-American relations, providing
readers new ways of looking at the
A d d i t i o n a l l y, h e i s a f r e q u e n t
contributor to numerous edited
volumes and academic journals.
Professor Chang received his Ph.D.
from Stanford University and his B.A.
from Princeton University.

History of the Chinese Culture Center

in the 21st Century

The history of Chinese Culture Center in 21st century / History

September 14, 2015

The Chinese Culture Center (CCC), under
the aegis of the Chinese Culture Foundation,
is one of the leading and most prominent
cultural and social centers of San Franciscos
Chinatown community and of the city
generally. Established in the mid-1960s
for the promotion of Chinese and Chinese
American art and culture, the CCC has
grown from ambitious aspiration to mature
institution in the 21st century. With decades
of hard work, sacrifice, and community
support, the CCC today is an organization
with a unique identity and purpose. The
CCC simultaneously promotes neighborhood
arts display and production as well as the
presentation of cutting-edge contemporary
art of international significance. The CCC
maintains its tradition of serving popular
interest in well-known Chinese folk arts
and crafts, Chinese language instruction,
and music-training in Chinese instruments.
The CCC has emerged as one of the most
important venues for presenting provocative,
original work that goes well outside the
boundaries of what is usually considered
to be Chinese art. Now, fifty years since
its founding, the CCC is long past its early,
tentative beginnings and is continuing to
realize its dual mission of serving community
interest in Chinese American and Chinese
arts while venturing into the highly creative
and provocative world of contemporary art
and explore new modes of artistic expression
that explore social, cultural, sexual, personal,
and racial identities in a rapidly transforming,
globalized world.

"The Chinese Culture Center opens" is covered

in East West October 24, 1973.

L-R: Former San Francisco Mayor, Dianne

Feinstein with Chinese Culture Foundation
founder, JK Choy.

The history of Chinese Culture Center in 21st century / History

The detailed history of the CCC from

the early 1960s to the end of the 20th
century that Him Mark Lai completed in
2000 carefully recounts the story of its
founding and development and focuses
on leaders and Chinatown politics in the
context of evolving United States-China
relations. His was largely an institutional
history of decision-making, personalities
and personnel, funding, and community
politics. The story he presents is a valuable
record of the organizations institutional
progress. It also provides broader insight
into community history during years that
witnessed its transformation from a relatively
insular community to one that is now deeply
imbedded in city and regional politics and
directly affected by national and even global
Him Marks account ends at the start of the
21st century. This historical essay in hand
begins where his left off. The following
account examines the CCC story over
the last fifteen years and focuses on the
challenges of defining organizational identity
and programming in the context of a very
different community and world. Institutional
matters of funding, board membership,
staff and personnel occupy less attention.
Greater attention is devoted to examining
C C C underst andings of the complex
matters of defining audience and served
population amidst societal change, defining
what is art and culture in a contemporary
setting, and addressing issues of relevance
and innovation. These challenging issues
continue to face the CCC.

The history of Chinese Culture Center in 21st century / History

Him Mark Lai had already noted important

developments in the social and political
landscape that formed the context of
CCCs evolution. Of special importance, he
observed, was the changing demographics
and identities of Chinese in America and
the overall relationship between China and
America from the 1960s to the late 1990s.
New immigration patterns, generational
change among Chinese Americans, and
tectonic shifts in geopolitics directly affected
the work of the CCC. These contexts,
especially the rise of China, with its market
economy and as a world power, continue to
transform, arguably at an accelerated rate.

Founders of the Chinese Culture Foundation

The history of Chinese Culture Center in 21st century

centery / History

The history of Chinese Culture Center in 21st century / History

In the early 2000s, the deferred task of completing a major renovation

of CCCs facilities presented the occasion to address difficult
questions about its basic mission and purpose. Taking the moment as
an opportunity, the CCC, as it addressed the problems of inadequate
exhibition space, code violations, office and classroom arrangements,
launched a major fundraising campaign to support programming and
build the endowment. An ambitious effort, the original goal was to
raise $300,000 to help cover the renovation and support programming
and an ambitious $3.5 million for the endowment. Despite sustained
efforts over two years, the campaign fell far short of its goals,
especially for the endowment. It was evident that the CCC would
have to contend with operating on a budget far less than hoped and
it would not solve its financial instability, a chronic problem since
its beginning. The remodeling of the CCC facilities that created
useable and attractive space for exhibitions, large performances and
gatherings, classes, and administrative use was accomplished through
a 2005 lease amendment with the property developer.

The Moment for Ink, installation view, 2013

(left work by Jonathan Wallraven, right work by Xiaoze Xie)

Importantly, the physical transformation of CCC accompanied an

evaluation of the organizations fundamental mission and purpose.
In its first decades, the CCCs public programming largely consisted
of shows from China that varied from high arts, such as traditional
ink painting, to folk culture, such as wood cuts and kites. Lectures
from well-known American scholars presented informed knowledge
about contemporary China to audiences who, because of geopolitical
divisions, had few direct sources of information about Chinese history,
culture, and contemporary social realities. Even as China increasingly
opened to visitors and cultural exchanges after Richard Nixons visit to
China in 1972, and especially after the death of Mao in 1976, the CCC
continued to meet public interest in and curiosity about elemental
Chinese cultural and social matters. The CCC faced little competition
or overlap with the work of other organizations in these years.

The late Michael Sullivan, Abby Chen, Jonathan

Wallraven in front of Wallraven's work at
"Moment for Ink", 2013.

CCC gallery prepared for renovation.

The history of Chinese Culture Center in 21st century / History

Forty years later at the start of the 21st century, the situation in
the United States was dramatically different. Americans had
relatively easy access to China and schools and civic organizations
could arrange exhibitions and exchanges directly with Chinese
counterparts. Hundreds of thousands of Americans visited China
annually. And in 2003, the eminent Asian Art Museum of San
Francisco, ensconced for thirty-five years in Golden Gate Park far
from Chinatown, reopened in dramatic fashion in the downtown Civic
Center. It quickly established itself, with its substantial financial,
artistic, and social connections and unrivaled collections, as a central
hub of Asia-oriented cultural public programming. At the same
time, the arrival of millions of new immigrants from Asia transformed
the profile of the Chinese community in America. Traditional
Guangdong-based immigrants who had long anchored Chinatown
continued to sustain the community but very large numbers of
people from Taiwan, other regions of China, and Southeast Asia
complicated and diversified the social and cultural mix of Chinese
America. The boom of East Asian economies also encouraged
unprecedented numbers of professionals, entrepreneurs, students,
scholars, and travelers to come to the United States. These and
other developments posed fundamental questions of CCCs purpose,
mission, and audience. What was Chinese culture, dynamic and
changing, under these circumstances? What did it mean to present
Chinese culture in an America that too was undergoing change?

The history of Chinese Culture Center in 21st century / History

The opening of the redesigned CCC in 2006

served as the occasion for announcing CCCs
reappraisal. Then recently appointed CCC
Executive Director Sabina Chen described
t h e c h a l l e n g e b e f o r e t h e C C C . Th e
Chinese in America is a community whose
roots are set firmly in tradition, while also
seeking to define its place in the present,
she announced in one of her first public
statements. She characterized Chinese
America as a community that is diverse
and dynamic drawing from varied immigrant
experiences and subsequent generations
who call themselves Americans. With all the
differences, what are the commonalities that
bind us as Chinese? Chen posed further
provocative questions but did not attempt to
answer them: What are the issues that divide
us between generations, origins, language
and culture? And how can one organization
encompass the endlessly complex and rich
questions of this community? The answers
would not be easily forthcoming.
Chens personal identity itself was evidence
of the shift in CCCs direction. She was a
graduate of Stanford University with a degree
in East Asian Studies but also had substantial
experience in community activism with the
Chinese for Affirmative Action and the Kearny
Street Workshop, a pan-Asian American
organization dedicated to supporting art
practitioners from a wide array of backgrounds.
She herself appeared eager to bring CCC into
the new century with new ideas, approaches,
and programming. CCCs previous executive
directors had distinguished themselves as
specialists in Chinese fine arts and culture.
Chen appeared eager to move beyond the
inherited history of the organization.


Icons of Presence, postcard image, 2008, curated by Margo Machida


The history of Chinese Culture Center in 21st century / History

The history of Chinese Culture Center in 21st century / History

In 2007, Abby Chen, who had experience in

international arts programming, joined CCC as
its new program director and helped forge new
directions for the organization. In the spring
and summer of 2007, the CCC offered shows
that broke from the familiar material it had
presented in the past. International Modern
Brush Painting featured Chinese and nonChinese artists who were exploring radical new
ways to use the traditional ink and brush. CCC
partnered with the Kearny Street Workshop to
present Present Tense: Artwork by Emerging
Chinese American Artists, that showcased
challenging contemporary work by young artists
who rarely had the opportunity to present
their work to a viewing public in formal gallery
settings. Cheers to Muses was another effort
to extend the horizon of CCC beyond what
had been presented to the Chinese community
in the past. Eleven artists and writers from
different Asian American backgrounds offered
tributes to non-Asian inspirations for their
work. Abby Chen herself curated Nostalgia,
a show of photography and video installation
that raised issues of longing and memory of a
China homeland offered by artists in China and
the U.S. In raising multiple and contradictory
visions of homeland, the show challenged
common notions of cultural authenticity and
The Good Life, at Present Tense Biennial 2009,
installation view
Charlene Tan, 2009

Seeking to develop a firmer financial basis, the CCC held its

annual fundraiser, called Harmony and Bliss, for the first time at
CCC itself. A catered, black-tie event, the organization hoped to
cultivate relations beyond its established base in the local Chinese
community. Concurrently, CCC tried to strengthen its ties with
other Chinatown arts groups, such as the Chinatown Photographic
Society, the Huayi Performing Group and the San Francisco GuZheng Music Society, even as it set out in new directions in
programming and development.
Confirming new directions for CCC however was not easy. The
capital campaign did not build as hoped and by the fall of 2007
executive director Sabina Chen publicly admitted that the work of
CCC was a hard job. Going beyond the stereotype of Chinatown,
she stated, beyond dragons and kung pao chicken and to present
the complexity of Chinese culture to America as it truly exists, was
difficult. After just two years in the position, Chen abruptly resigned.

Infinite Regress, at Present Tense Biennial 2009,

Store-front installation,
David & Michelle Yun, 2009

Present Tense Biennial: Chinese Character, poster, 2009

Launched in 2007, Present Tense strives to provide a
platform for young and emerging artists in the Bay Area
and beyond. The exhibition series features a different
theme each time to foster dialogue and provide a survey
on current issues.


The history of Chinese Culture Center in 21st century / History

The history of Chinese Culture Center in 21st century / History

Al Cheng, a longtime member of CCC and

leader of its highly successful In Search of
Roots program, which connected Chinese
American youth with their home villages in
the Guangzhou region, served as interim
executive director until the appointment of
Mabel Teng in early 2009. The appointment
o f Te n g , w h o h a d t h r e e d e c a d e s o f
experience in education, community activism,
and city government, raised hopes that she
would bring organizational maturity to CCC
and expand its outreach to new audiences
and financial supporters. Teng started her
work just after the start of the great 2008
recession, which complicated fundraising
and any ambitious thought about new costly
programming and activity.


CCC therefore took a multifaceted

approach to its programming and carefully
marshaled its resources. One of Tengs
major efforts was to strengthen the CCCs
connections with other Chinatown and
San Francisco organizations in order to
partner in programming and maximizing
impact. It strengthened its core community
arts efforts, such as expanding youth arts
programs and In Search of Roots, and
initiated a high profile annual music festival
held in Portsmouth Square. CCC developed
ties with arts agencies including the San
Francisco Arts Commission, SF Grants for
the Arts, the California Arts Council and
the National Endowment for the Arts. It
expanded its heritage walking tours of
Chinatown and other historical locations
important in Chinese American history as
revenue generators. Hundreds of families
participated in study excursions to Napa,
Locke, Monterey and other prominent
locations in Chinese American history,
organized by the Him Mark Lai Learning

Participants at the inaugural Roots California Excursion to

Monterey. Organized by the Him Mark Lai Learning Center, Roots
California excursions are opportunities to explore Chinese history
in California.

Francis Wong on saxophone with the

Jon Jang Warriors at the Chinatown
Music Festival. It takes place annually
at Portsmouth Square.

The crowd dances to the music of

Jest Jammin at the Chinatown Music

Concurrently, C C C presented inspired

exhibitions in its gallery space that spoke
to the burgeoning interest in contemporary
art production among Chinese and others in
America. In the 21st century, art had clearly
and definitively broken out of its boundaries
to embrace new venues of presentation
beyond the fixed walls of museums and
galleries, of new media (from digital to found
objects), of new aesthetic sensibilities and
objectives, and of new audiences, especially
among young generations. This new art
could be found close at hand in Chinatown to
as far away as China, which itself was seeing
a revolution in art production challenging
assumptions about what constituted Chinese
art and culture. Verily, the notion of art
itself was being redefined under these
new conditions. Teng herself declared a
Chinatown art renaissance.

The history of Chinese Culture Center in 21st century / History

The history of Chinese Culture Center in 21st century / History

Lure, installation view

Beili Liu, Xian Rui 2008
Xian Rui (Fresharp) highlights the work of exceptional Chinese
and Chinese American artists, whose work is unrecognized, or
under appreciated, in the U.S. In keeping with the themes of
fresh and sharp, the series will focus on the artists new sitespecific works.


The history of Chinese Culture Center in 21st century / History

The history of Chinese Culture Center in 21st century / History

One of the first manifestation of this new

thinking at CCC was the show by then
emerging artist Beili Liu, Lure. The show
was the first large-scale installation in CCCs
history. Liu, inspired by idea of people linked
by fate and invisibly connected, created
beautiful creations to express ideas of
transcendence, human connection, and the
ephemeral, using the color red, the color
suggesting destiny and richness in Chinese
tradition. It was a show that presented
familiar themes to Chinatown audiences
in untraditional ways. (In 2015, the CCC
invited again Liu to develop an art project
for the bridge that linked the CCCs physical
space with Portsmouth Square. Scores of
volunteers created art by constructing Lius
Sky Bridge, where 50,000 mylar, shiny
bricks covered the grey mundane surface
of the everyday bridge and transformed it
into a magical place for strolling above gritty
Kearny Street.)

Dancing on Sky Bridge, 2015


Artist Beili Liu, CCC staff, and volunteers

installing Sky Bridge, 2015

Sky Bridge invitation card,


Sky Bridge, bird's

eye view, 2015


The history of Chinese Culture Center in 21st century / History

The history of Chinese Culture Center in 21st century / History

In the fall of 2009, CCC presented Chromatic

Constructions: Contemporary Fiber Art, by
Dora Hsiung and in the summer of 2010, CCC
staged Emblems of Ethereal Grace, featuring
the China-inspired jewelry of Pat Tseng. The
CCC hoped the shows would appeal to new
audiences and to new interests even as it
continued to speak to its traditional base with
shows such as the art of paper cutting of Hou
Yumei and martial arts instruction.
The show that most firmly established the
CCC as an outstanding venue of contemporary
art was the spectacular presentation of White
Ink by the transplanted Chinese artist Zheng
Chongbin. The show presented fifteen works
created specifically for CCCs gallery space.
Video projections accompanied large-scale
compositions that offered new possibilities for
Chinese ink painting and subject matter. It
was a deliberate effort to offer a contemporary
interpretation of Chinese arts and, in the
words of curator Abby Chen, its aim was to put
ink in conversation with abstract expression
to brew something new. It was an expression
of celestial chaos. The show, Chen believed,
provided new possibilities of thinking about
not just Chinese culture, but culture at large.


The opening of the show provided further

evidence of this new way of thinking about art
and the purpose of CCC itself. Composer and
saxophone performer Francis Wong, presented
a special composition, Sumie Sounds, that
paid homage to art illustrated as music,
invoking Japanese sumie ink painting as
inspiration. Wong linked Zhengs abstraction
on canvass with improvisation in jazz music.
Proceeds from the evening event went to
benefit the Northern Japan Earthquake Relief

New Mustard Seed Garden Manual of Painting, at White

Ink, video installation
Zheng Chongbin, Xian Rui 2011
Zheng Chongbin, the Xian Rui artist of 2011, made his first
institutional solo exhibition at Chinese Culture Center.
Following this successful launch, his work was later
collected by major museums around the world.

Four definitions 002, ink on paper

Zheng Chongbin, 2012

The history of Chinese Culture Center in 21st century / History

The history of Chinese Culture Center in 21st century / History

Cocooning - Self Combing Woman, at WOMEN , video installation,

Manyee Lam, 2012


WOMEN (a Mandarin homophone meaning both WOMEN and we) is an

exhibition inaugurated in Shanghai in 2011, then traveled to San Francisco
in 2012, and subsequently to Miami in 2013. The exhibition features video
works, installation art, photography, sculpture, and more by a diverse array
of artists, addressing issues of gender, queer equality, and sexual freedom.

The history of Chinese Culture Center in 21st century / History

The history of Chinese Culture Center in 21st century / History

Th e Z h e n g s h o w, w h i ch g a r n e r e d
international attention and tribute, epitomized
the CCCs initiative called Xianrui
(Fresharp), an effort to present vibrant and
creative contemporary art of international
significance coming out of, and in many ways
breaking with, Chinese tradition. The CCC
followed Zhengs show with other efforts
that explored the new possibilities of art
production. Adrian Wongs Orange Peel,
Harbor Seal, Hyperreal, explored parallels
between contemporary architecture and
design in San Francisco Chinatown and that
of 1970 Hong Kong. In the fall of 2012, CCC
held the provocative show WOMEN ,
the title a play on the English language word
and the romanized word in Mandarin Chinese
meaning us. Organized in Shanghai, the
show, again curated by Abby Chen, presented
the work of a score of primarily female artists,
Chinese and others, that offered intentionally
shocking and provocative statements about
gender, sexuality, and social place in China
and in the contemporary world. Using
photography, video, installation, graphic arts,
as well as painting the exhibit confronted
viewers with statements about homosexuality,
nudity, gender roles, the sexual body, and
social conventions. The high-profile show
continued the explorations initiated by
the Stella Zhang in her 2010 exhibition, O
Viewpoint. These shows were a far cry from
what the original founders of CCC probably
had in their minds about what constituted art
and Chinese culture.

Moth, made for WOMEN , video installation

Muxi, 2012

0-Viewpoint, installation view,

Stella Zhang, San Francisco Fine Art Fair,
Fort Mason, 2015


The history of Chinese Culture Center in 21st century / History

The history of Chinese Culture Center in 21st century / History

CCC presented other shows that continued

to break from the conventional. Moment for
Ink, in which CCC collaborated with three
other northern California arts institutions,
offered work by fifty artists of different
ancestry, past and present, who used brush
and ink for expression. The show aimed to
display the wide variety of technique and
continuing possibilities for expression of a
long established medium. The show traveled
to the renowned Zhejiang Art Museum in
Hangzhou after its run in the Bay Area.
Exhibitions of pioneering artists and Bay
Area residents Fong Chung-ray and Summer
Mei-Ling Lee continued the CCCs foray
into contemporary arts programming. The
Fong show presented the epitome of the life
work of Fong, an artist working within and
without traditional Chinese painting. The
work he presented was highly literate and
calligraphic, colorful, non-representation
but not fully abstract and clearly inspired
by his Chinese identity, whereas Lees
work, presented as Into the Nearness of
Distance, used new ways of making art to
explore notions of family connection, life, and
being. Lee herself was inspired by Chinese
texts and thinking. A third artist, Lam TungPang, who worked on the international
stage, offered installations that presented
representations of his personal living spaces
to offer statements and observations about
the individual and society entwined in a
bewildering modern world.


Between Modern and Contemporary, installation view

Fong Chung-ray, 2014
Born in Henan Province in 1934 and immigrating
to the United States in 1975, settling in the San
Francisco Bay area, Fong Chung-ray is considered a
pioneer in contemporary Chinese abstract painting.
In presenting innovative artists, the exhibition at the
Chinese Culture Center marks Fong Chung-rays
first institutional solo exhibition in the United States.

11-8, acrylic on canvas

Fong Chung-ray, 2011


The history of Chinese Culture Center in 21st century / History

The history of Chinese Culture Center in 21st century / History

Into the Nearness of Distance, installation view

Summer Mei Ling Lee, Xian Rui 2014
Into the Nearness of Distance is an immersive video
installation by artist Summer Mei Ling Lee in collaboration
with Karen Leslie Ficke and Adam Hathaway. Another part
of this work was extended to Yerba Buena Center for the
Arts (YBCA), as part of its exhibition Bay Area Now 7 in



The history of Chinese Culture Center in 21st century / History

Among the CCCs most successful recent

initiatives is its promotion of art in the street
that encourages and supports artists using
the physical spaces of the community, such
as alley ways, walls of building, streets, and
the subway stop for Chinatown as locations
for art. With Without Walls, as the initiative
is called, CCC is making a loud and clear
statement that art cannot and should not
be contained within fixed spaces removed,
as it were, from the vitality and humanity
of everyday life in the community. To try
to do so would be to not just stifle art but
would miss the wonderful opportunities that
contemporary art presents with its expanded
visions and practices of art and culture.
CCC has also seized the digital moment by
establishing a highly successful online gallery
of visual art that makes it possible for the
work of many artists to be viewed beyond the
limitations of fixed spaces. The site, which
continues, has attracted tens of thousands of


SF Chinatown Keywords School, 2014. Lead artist Xu Tan

invites fellow artist Angel Chan for a social experiment and
participatory art-making activity on the voting system.

The history of Chinese Culture Center in 21st century / History

Ke y w o r d s M u r a l u n v e i l i n g
celebration, 2014

SF Chinatown Keywords School

featured in San Francisco Chronicle
July, 9, 2014

Keywords Mural, made for SF Chinatown Keywords School project

Justin Hoover and youth participants, 2014

The history of Chinese Culture Center in 21st century / History

Through these sometimes daring and

pioneering work, CCC also nurtured its
commitment to established approaches to
community arts and service. It honored the
great historian of Chinese America, Him
Mark Lai, with founding a learning center in
his name. The Center emerged in just a few
years as a hub for learning about Chinese
American history. In CCC organized tours
of the community, thousands of young
students learned about Chinatown and
the contributions of Chinese Americans to
multicultural democracy presented during
the Chinatown Democracy Walk. It honored
the pioneering journalist Maurice Chuck, who
devoted his life to writing courageously about
Chinatown life, culture, and politics, and Dr.
Rolland Lowe, one of the most generous
and visionary supporters of the organization
since its beginning. Even as it cultivated
relations with important benefactors and
friends such as Senator Dianne Feinstein,
venture capitalists, bankers, and established
foundations, such as the San Francisco
Foundation, the Warhol Foundation, and
Bloomberg Philanthropies, the CCC has
been faithful to its continuing commitment to
building a strong community as it seeks, in
its Mission Statement, to spark intercultural
discover y through art, education and
engagement. In fact, CCC believes it has
elevated its community activism through its
partnership with the Chinatown Community
Development Center, Chinese Progressive
Association, and other groups dedicated to
social, labor, and political advancement. Art
and the efforts to advance social justice and
community go hand in hand.

The history of Chinese Culture Center in 21st century / History

Opening celebration of the Him Mark Lai Learning Center on

June 22, 2013.
L-R: Assemblyman David Chiu, Supervisor Eric Mar, Helen
Y.H. Hui, Laura Lai, Dr. Rolland and Kathryn Lowe, Supervisor
Norman Yee, and Mabel Teng.

Children learn about art and history with Artistic

Director, Abby Chen.

Youth are engaged in the Chinatown Democracy Walk

with Education Director, Darin Ow-wing.

The history of Chinese Culture Center in 21st century / History

The history of Chinese Culture Center in 21st century / History

Keywords Mural made for SF Chinatown Keywords School project

Justin Hoover and youth participants, 2014

Inspired by the famous story of Borrowing Arrows with Boats in the

Chinese classical novel the Three Kingdoms, students keywords follow
the trajectory of the arrows, and turn into roses flowing to the boat, a
resemblance of the Asian fishing junk. This is the idea of sharing findings,
with reference to The fragrance always stays in
the hand that gives the rose. (Hada Bejar, 1640-1689 British Playwright
Poet). An archive of this project published in 41 Ross Dictionary from San
Francisco Chinatown Keywords School. For the first time, organizations,
artists, youth, property owners, merchants came together for culture
production. This was the start of CCF and CCDC's joint vision of turning
Chinatown into an open art and cultural museum without walls.



The history of Chinese Culture Center in 21st century / History

The history of Chinese Culture Center in 21st century / Board of Directors

Chinese Culture Foundation

The mission of the Chinese Culture Foundation is to spark intercultural
discovery through art, education and engagement.

2015 Board of Directors

Share Their Insights
The Chinese Culture Center continues to lead the efforts to empower and educate our youth
by working alongside our community artists and other wonderful organizations. Our youth
initiative serves as a powerful place for them to grow and develop their understanding of
Chinese history through great programs such as the Visual Art Center and the Chinatown
Democracy Walk. Of course, we couldnt have done it without the generous support from our

-Gin Y. Ho, CO-chair

s the CCC enters its sixth decade, it remains a vibrant, energetic,

and bold community-based organization that engages multiple
audiences. It seeks to serve, as well as to enlighten audiences,
understanding its responsibility to empower vital cultural and
social identities in defining what Chinese art and culture mean in
a rapidly changing world.

Art and Culture have no limits and we must dream big and become a global leader linking
art and culture together.
-Minna Tao, CO-chair
When light passes through CCF, it beams out millions of colorful rays that spark
intercultural discovery through the arts, education, and engagement with the community.
-Sherman Tang, President

The End

Culture embraces many aspects of our lives. The Chinese Culture Foundation (CCF) has
continued to evolve to bestow and compare our heritage in traditional, contemporary and
intercultural forms. CCF offers exciting activities that reach into our communities and touch
people of all ages. And I am honored and thrilled to be part of these innovative experiences.
-Shannon Yip, Executive Vice President
It is an exciting time to be part of the Chinese Culture Foundation. Since its inception, the
Foundation has grown and evolved. With the opening of the Him Mark Lai Learning Center,
a new chapter for the Chinese Culture Foundation begins. The Chinese Culture Center will be
the place where people of all ages, young and old, come together to learn, view, communicate
and experience culture, art and history.
-Esther Li, Treasurer



The history of Chinese Culture Center in 21st century / Board of Directors

The history of Chinese Culture Center in 21st century / Board of Directors

My lifelong passion has been to teach children about the rich culture and traditions of our
Chinese ancestry. I am proud to be a Director of an organization that promotes our culture
and the arts in a very forward movement. The Center is always on the move and we, as board
members, feel empowered to help and move with this vibrant energy.
-Susan C. Tom, Secretary
As a kid, I learned Kung Fu and Chinese Painting at the CCC. It instilled in me an
appreciation for the rich cultural heritage that I was born into, and I am privileged to support
the foundations important work as an adult!
-Ben Choi, Vice President
I value the steady expansion of the variety of the Centers programs to engage the diverse
people of the city through innovative and traditional programs. The future holds a great deal
of promise for the Center.
-Dennis A. Lee, Esq Vice President
The steady expansion of the diversity of the Centers programs to engage the diverse people
of the city through innovative and traditional programs. The future holds a great deal of
promise for the Center.

It is very important to preserve our history, our heritage and our culture. I am proud to be a
part of the fine work being done at the Center.
-Wai-ling Eng
"I am grateful to be part of a great organization in which arts and cultural diversity are
conduits for bringing people together and appreciate each other."
-George Mak
I am proud to be part of the CCC family and I look forward to along, rewarding and fun
association. I am amazed by its diverse,rich, and deep offerings and programs.Just like the
Chinese American community as a whole. CCC has far to go.
-Cecilia Sze
The Foundation has undergone many transformations in its 50 years of history. One thing
remains constant - the generous giving of time and resources from our donors and volunteers.
Without them, we would not be here today to celebrate this milestone so Thank You!
-Clare Lee

-Tom Klitgaard, Esq Vice President

It is not the end of an era, rather it is the beginning of one.
-Warren Seeto, Vice President
My vision for the next 50 years for CCC is that it will survive and THRIVE. Hopefully,
it will become indispensable in the view of all Americans when thinking of Chinese
-Helen Y. H. Hui, Esq
CCC is such an amazing place. As a first generation Asian American, its a place where I
can learn about my past but also look forward to the future.
-Ryan Lee
CCC offers some of the best educational and cultural programming in the city. Im proud
that the Foundation has created a new narrative of Chinese in America.
-Garry K. Wong


L-R: Mabel Teng, Shannon Yip, Clare Lee, Ryan Lee, Helen Y.H. Hui, Minna Tao, Warren
Seeto, Sherman Tang, Wai-Ling Eng, Ben Choi, Susan Tom, George Mak, Esther Li,
Tom Klitgaard, Gin Y. Ho.

Chinese Culture Foundation

The history of Chinese Culture Center in 21st century / CCF Staff


Mabel S. Teng, Executive Director

Abby Chen, Artistic Director & Curator

Mabel Teng has been the Executive Director

of the Chinese Culture Foundation since 2009.
As San Franciscos first Asian American female
Supervisor and Assessor-Recorder, she brings
over three decades of public policy, advocacy,
and nonprofit experience to the arts.

Abby Chen is the Curator and Artistic Director at the

Chinese Culture Foundation of San Francisco. She
initiated the Xian Rui/Fresharp Artist Excellence
Series since 2008, the first of its kind in the country
supporting mid-career artists of Chinese descent.
In 2009, she launched Present Tense Biennial. In
2010, she organized Gender Identity Symposium,
a multi-city forum in Guangzhou, Beijing and
Shanghai, followed by the 2011 exhibition WOMEN
(Shanghai, San Francisco, and Miami). Her
most recent project is the social practice based
experiment in San Francisco neighborhood with
Keywords School and Social Botany, led by
artist Xu Tan with support from San Francisco Art
Commission and National Endowment for the Arts.

eng has led multiple creative placemaking

initiatives in San Francisco Chinatown. Under
the banner of "Without Walls", Teng has
realized significant projects that have made
several locations in this historic neighborhood
key sites to engage in excellent art that
carries a vision for a healthy, vibrant, and
conscious world. Among these projects are
the Music Festival in Portsmouth Square, the
Arts in Storefronts project in Wentworth Alley,
Dancing on Waverley in Waverly Place. The
most important thread in these activities is to
engage the community through a broad range
of strategies that promotes activism.
Under Tengs leadership, the Foundation has
gained national and international recognition
as the community anchor to spark intercultural
discovery. This past year, the Foundation broke
new ground by reaching 250,000 people,
changing minds, and touching lives of new
Californians. Perhaps the most important
thread throughout all of these activities is the
ability to involve the community at deeper
levels through a broad range of strategies that
promote activism and engagement.


Her other curatorial ventures include Moment

For Ink, challenging nationalism and sexism in
traditional Chinese Painting. The exhibition opened
in various sites including Asian Art Museum, San
Francisco State University, and traveled to Zhejiang
Art Museum in China. She has curated and had
loaned her exhibition to Yerba Buena Center for
the Arts and Museum of Chinese in America in
New York. Beginning in 2009, she also led and
managed San Francisco Public Art Initiative of Artsin-Storefront and Central Subway Temporary Public
Art for Stockton Station, as well as Culture Mapping,
to investigate arts in immigrant neighborhood
and advocate for city funding on underserved
In 2012, Abby Chen was Summer Scholar from
the National Endowment for the Humanities. She
graduated with an MA in Visual and Critical Studies
from California College of the Arts.


The history of Chinese Culture Center in 21st century / CCF Staff

Xavier W. Tsang, Development Director

Francis Wong, Special Project Consultant

Xavier Tsang serves as the Foundations Development

Director. He is responsible for the overall development
of corporate partnerships, donor cultivation in addition
to overseeing grant compliance. Xavier brings more
than a decade of experience in management from the
finance sector and has served in various managerial
roles at multiple Fortune 500 companies.

Francis Wong shares decades of art resources

development skills as the Foundations Special
Projects Consultant. Francis has a AB in Economics
from Stanford University and has received national
recognition for his work with awards from Rockefeller
Foundation, Ford Foundation, and the National
Endowment for the Arts.

Xavier completed an executive education in leadership

at Harvard Business school, and previously obtained
his bachelor's degree in management and professional
study in financial management from Cornell University
and Golden Gate University.

Jenny Leung, Director of Communication

Jenny Leung is the Director of Communication, where
she is responsible for the management of all of CCCs
internal and external communications, as well as
branding efforts. She plays a key role in transforming
the Visual Art Center into a contemporary space. Jenny
brings a passion for the arts, community building, and
impactful storytelling. She graduated from the University
of California, Berkeley with her MA in Asian Studies.

Darin Ow-wing, Director of

Education & Engagement
Darin Ow-Wing has 30 years of experience in youth
development, education, and nonprofit administration.
As Education & Engagement Director, he leads the Him
Mark Lai Learning Center. In its first 2 years, the Center
has introduced a contemporary understanding of the
Chinese American experience to over 10,000 students in
grades 4-12, and over 1,200 college students and adults.


The history of Chinese Culture Center in 21st century / CCF Staff

Art Team

Education Team

Jing Wang
Maria Wang
Xiaoxiao Zeng
Kai Lin Carlson
Swing Zhou

Daisy Deng
Christy Xu
Janet Chan

Tony Cheng, Grants Manager

Tony Cheng is Grants and Development Manager of
the Chinese Culture Foundation and is responsible
for all aspects of grant process: research, compliance
and management. Tony holds a bachelor's degree in
Economics from Northwestern, an MBA from INSEAD
in France, and master's degree in International Policies
Studies from Stanford University.

Lydia Han, Communications & Development Associate

Lydia Han plans and executes all communication and
marketing strategies and activities for the CCF. She
introduced "Keep Exploring" to invigorate and showcase
the forward momentum of the organization. She brings
years of branding and messaging experience to the
team. Previously, she worked at Cartier and MercedesBenz China headquarter offices.

Justin P. McDonnell, Executive Assistant

As Executive Assistant. Justin works closely with the
Executive Director and Board of Directors to increase
the impact of the organizations mission. Justin holds a
dual bachelors degree at Goucher College in Spanish
and Communication. Before CCC, Justin worked at the
intersection of media and advocacy in New York and


The history of Chinese Culture Center in 21st century / Support

The history of Chinese Culture Center in 21st century / Support

Corporate Support

orporate Support
Philanthropic Support
Government and Public Grants
Major Donors


Adobe Foundation


AHK International



Kwok Shing Hong LLC

Apex Components Inc.

Lincoln Property Company Gemdale

Arnold & Porter LLP

Lui & Associates, Inc.

Bank of America


Bank of the Orient

Morrison & Foerster

Bay Area Medical Services

Plentea Inc.

Bay Area Metro Radio

Portsmouth Plaza Parking Corporation

Charles Schwab Foundation

Realty World Advanced Group

CTBC Bank Corp. (USA)


DAE Advertising, Inc.

Reuben, Junius & Rose, LLP


Roller Coaster Road Productions LLC

Double Tree Hotel

Schwab Charitable Fund

East West Bank


Ellision Enterprises Corp.

Todays Hotel Corporation

First Republic Bank

U.S. Enterprise Corporation

Galerie du Monde Ltd.

Vincent Trading Co

Hall, Yee & Associates

Wells Fargo Foundation

Heller Manus Architects

WI Harper Group

Hilton Hotel Financial District

Wu Hoover & Co.


The history of Chinese Culture Center in 21st century / Support


Philanthropic Support

Friends of Chinese Culture Center:

Major Donors

Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts

Bloomberg Philanthropies
CCI Quick Grant
Center for Cultural Innovation

Three years ago, the Chinese Culture Foundation established

C-Cubed, Friends of the Chinese Culture Center. C-Cubed includes
current and past board members, as well as artists and art collectors,
and others who make an annual major gift. With their leadership,
the artistic vision of Foundation in showcasing innovative artists and
daring work becomes a reality. We would like to acknowledge their
dedication in the arts.

Creative Work Fund

Gee Family Foundation
Hop Wo Benevolent Association
James Irvine Foundation
Lowe Family Trust Foundation
Phyllis C. Wattis Foundation
Robert J. Louie Memorial Fund

For those who are passionate about contemporary art and believe in
the affirmation that art inspires change and action, we invite you to
become part of this family and make an impact.

Rose T.Y. Chen Charitable Fund

San Francisco Chinatown Lion's Club
San Francisco Foundation

To inquire further, please contact Xavier Tsang, Development Director

at 415. 986. 1822

SF Symphony
The Seeto Family
Tom Do Hing Foundation
Walter & Elise Haas Fund

Government and
Public Grants

Yerba Buena Center for the Arts

Zellerbach Family Foundation

California Arts Council

SF Community Challenge Grant
SF Grants for the Arts
Hong Kong Economic & Trade Office
Institute of Museum and Library Services
National Endowment for the Arts
San Francisco Arts Commission
SF Municipal Transportation Agency
SF Neighborhood Arts Collaborative
San Francisco Office of Economic and
Workforce Development
Mei Lam and Tatwina Lee of C-Cubed



The history of Chinese Culture Center in 21st century / Support

The history of Chinese Culture Center in 21st century / Support

Acknowledge the Generous Support

of C-Cubed 2013-2015
C-Cubed are major donors who contribute
$1,000-$10,000 on an annual basis.

Betty Chang
Abby Chen & Steve Liang
Ben & Lydia Choi
Eugene Y.C. & Anita Choi
Julie Chu
Maury Edelstein
Wai-Ling Eng
Fong Chung-ray
Gin Y. Ho
Roderick Hong
Helen Y.H. Hui & Gordon Lew
Tom & Patricia Klitgaard
Katherine Lam
Mei & Peter Lam
Kenny & Suey Ling Lau
Clare & Chris Lee
Dennis & Anna Lee
Dr. Richard & Tatwina Lee
Emory & Ayleen Lee
Robert E. Lee
Ryan & Terri Lee
Tzu-Chen & Benny Lee
Esther & Calvin Li
Dr. Rolland & Kathyrn Lowe
George Mak
Tom & Bobbie McChristy
Jonas & Christina Miller


Maggie Mui
Supervisor Norman & Catherine
Carol P. Peckham
Collin & Betty Quock
Daniel & Irene Yee Riley
Warren Seeto
Blossom F. Strong
Lucy Sun
Cecilia Sze
Sherman & Philomena Tang
Minna Tao & Cynthia Blackford
Mabel S. Teng & Lawrence Ngan
Erick & Susan Tom
Xavier Tsang & Rodolphe Herbrich
Pat Tseng
Ling-Chi & Linda Wang
Cai Weijie
Garry K. Wong
Pausang Wong
Peggy & Edwin Wong
Vicky Wong
Dennis Wu
Ronald & Lillian Wu
Barbara & Jackie Yee
Shannon Yip
Zheng Chongbin

I am tremendously impressed at the direction of

the Foundation and the work being exhibited.
- the late Michael Sullivan,
preeminent Chinese art scholar
Collaborating Curators

Global Art Council

Terese Tse Bartholomew

Hou Hanru

Kevin Chen

Mami Kataoka

Glen Helfand

Pi Li

Mark D. Johnson
Manni Liu
Margo Machida
Ellen Oh
Alpesh Kantilal Patel
Pi Daojian
Kuiyi Shen
Heather Snider
Matthew Tedford

Art Advisory Board

Terese Tse Bartholomew
Tatwina Chinn Lee
Manni Liu
Gang Situ
Pat Tseng

Him Mark Lai

Learning Center
Established by the generous
contribution of
Laura Lai
Dr. Rolland & Dr. Kathryn Lowe
Dr. Richard & Tatwina Lee


The history of Chinese Culture Center in 21st century / Exhibitions


The history of Chinese Culture Center in 21st century / Exhibitions

February 8 April 30: Celebrating Spring, the Chinese Folk Art Way.
August 26 March 25: Rustic Splendors, Kiln treasures from Shiwan.



January 29 April 23: San Franciscos Old Chinatown, photographs by Arnold Genthe.

February 11 March 18: In Search of Roots

May 13 July 2: Dreams of San Francisco, paintings by Zhao Zhunwang.

April 25 September 9: Duk Duk Chaang: The Clamor and Glamour of Chinese Opera.

July 15 October 8: Small Wonders, snuff bottles from Bay Area collectors.

October 7 November 25: Breaking the Mold, ceramic art by Dottie Low.

October 22 February 18: Bruce Lee: A Retrospective

December 9 February 17: International Modern Brush Painting



March 3 April 30: Dong Kingman: An American Master by Dong Kingman.

March 2 May 19: Present Tense & In Search Of Roots, work of young emerging Chinese

May 8 July 7: made in usa: Angel Island Shhh, mixed-media installation of Angel Island Immigration

American artists.

Station by Flo Oy Wong.

June 1 August 25: Cheers to Muses, contemporary works by Asian American women.

July 25 October 7: Marvel and Reflection, prints by Liao Shiou-Ping.

September 7 January 4: Nostalgia, photography, video, and installation.

October 26 February 24: Room within a Room


January 18 March 15: In search of Roots & Gateway to Gold Mountain

February 8 April 21: The 108 Heroes of Shui Hu Zhuan Exhibit

May 9 July 5: "Xian Rui 2008: Lure/ ", installation art by Beili Liu

March 15 April 7: A Glance at Taiwan

July 22 October 11: Chinese Puzzles, traditional chinese puzzles from the Yi Zhi Tang Collection

April 26 June 12: Magic of the Brush, paintings by Catherine Yi-Yu Cho Woo.

October 23 January 3: Icons of Presence

May 18 August 10: China And Beyond: Artistic Influences Into and Out of China
June 20 August 10: Radiance of Life, paintings by Chu Ko.


August 16 August 24: GOT ART?

May 2 August 23: Present Tense Biennial

August 23 October 13: Infinite Harmony, watercolors by Chen Yang-chun.

September 12 January 10: Xian Rui 2009: Chromatic Construction - Dora Hsiung

November 21 February 18: Chang Dai-Chen, paintings by Chang Dai-Chen.


January 30 March 28: Celebrate the Year of the Tiger with Kan Kwok Fan

March 1 May 24: Chinese Fauve, paintings by Lin Feng-Mien.

April 23 September 5: "Xian Rui 2010: 0-Viewpoint", by Stella Zhang.

June 5 August 30: Raymond Hu Brush Painting Exhibit

September 25 January 11: Emblems of Ethereal Grace, by Pat Tseng.

September 23 December 13: Calling for the Ancients, painting, poetry and calligraphy by Lo Ching.



February 27 June 13: "Daily Lives: the CCC is Present at YBCA." Collaboration with Yerba Buena

January 30 June 5: Shanghai Meinu Yuefenpai

Center for the Arts, on exhibit in the Room for Big Ideas, and Discarded Spaces, a storefront public

June 11 July 17: Chinatown Revisited, photographs by Maurice Edelstein.

art initiative.

July 30 November 27: Purple Sand, Fragrant Tea, contemporary Yixing wares by artists from China.

May 19 July 30: Xian Rui 2011: White Ink by Zheng Chongbin.

December 17 January 22: "Ancient Threads, Newly Woven, recent Art from Chinas Silk Road.

Dec 16 Jan 10 (Shanghai): WOMEN


The history of Chinese Culture Center in 21st century / Exhibitions

The history of Chinese Culture Center in 21st century / Publications

March 15 April 5: On the Edge of Culture, by Carol Koffel, with Stella Zhang, Jiang Xueman,
Liang Liting, and Liu Yin.
May 12 August 25: Xian Rui 2012: Orange Peel, Harbor Seal, Hyperreal by Adrian Wong.
September 15 December 15 (San Francisco): WOMEN

Publications (Partial list)

January 13 February 2: Images from Chinatown: Four decades of Photographs by Maurice H.

The Curiosity Box

February 23 May 18: The Moment for Ink: Shaking off tradition





November 15 December 20 (Miami): WOMEN on the Go


Lam Tung-pang

June 13 December 21: The Curiosity Box by Lam Tung-pang.




Wu Guanzhong

February 15 May 31: Between Modern and Contemporary by Fong Chung-ray.


Lam Tung-pang

The Curiosity Box

(Lam Tung Pang)

Present Tense Biennial 2009

White Ink (Zheng Chongbin)

0-Viewpoint (Stella Zhang)

July 11 December 20: Xian Rui 2014: Into the Nearness of Distance by Summer Mei Ling Lee.
March 7 April 11: Mind Traveling by Lu Chuntao.
June 13 September 19: Present Tense -Future Perfect, by J Kung Dreyfus ,Tanja Geis,
Chiyomi McKibbin, Minji Sohn, Haisu Tian, Jingwei Qiu.
Fong Chung-ray:

August 1: Sky Bridge by Beili Liu.

Between Modern & Contemporary

41 Ross Alley Dictionary

Lure/ (Beili Liu)

Between Modern &

Fong Chung-ray

Chromatic Constructions
(Dora Hsiung)

Emblems of Ethereal Grace

(Pat Tseng)

The Moment for Ink

Now available on Amazon

Contact Jenny Leung,
Chinese Puzzles


415. 986. 1822



415. 986. 1822 / WWW.C-C-C.ORG