By Nina Huang
Northwest Asian Weekly
As the Asia Pacific Cultural Center (APCC) celebrates its 25th anniversary this year, they are also excited to unveil plans to remodel their current building, as well as expand to a new building to be completed in 2025.
APCC was established in 1996 as a 501(c)3 nonprofit with a mission to bridge communities and generations through art, culture, education, and business.
Last year, the Tacoma-based center served more than 410,000 people throughout Washington through many cultural, art, youth, education, and outreach programs and services.
Faaluaina Pritchard, executive director of APCC, has been part of the organization for the past 25 years. She was one of the founding board members and in 2010, she jumped into operations and took on the role of executive director.
The project will include the rehabilitation of APCC’s current 10,500-square-foot building on South Tacoma Way and the construction of a new wing that will add 10,000 additional square footage.
Pritchard is most excited about how the community raised money for the new building that will be located at 4851 South Tacoma Way in Tacoma.
“It’s really exciting to see the community more and more excited about the development of the home,” she said.
Getting the community involved has certainly been a part of the design process as demonstrated by their vision for the soon-to-be expanded center.
The groundbreaking will begin in 2023 and construction is scheduled to be complete in 2025.
APCC raised over $550,000 at its auction on Nov. 6 to raise funds for the new building and to commemorate this huge milestone.
Included in the expanded facility will be a gallery space along with a cultural display space, a tea room, martial arts and dance studios, a performance auditorium with a full commercial kitchen, a small library, more classrooms, a gift shop, and an Asian Pacific garden.
Another exciting addition will be a culinary kitchen that will be utilized to teach Asian culinary skills to aspiring students, preparing them to enter the food industry workforce.
Pritchard said that they also hope to partner with Bates College and Clover Park Technical College for the culinary program.
They will also feature an Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) night market twice a month in the new space. Through hosting the night markets, APCC hopes to generate community camaraderie and ensure the surrounding area has a wonderful place to gather and purchase AAPI items.
“To better meet the needs of the community, the entire space will be upgraded and pull in traditional features and colors from AAPI cultures,” said Pritchard.
For example, the garden will focus on the beautiful florals from the islands and gorgeous trees, fountains, and sculptures from Asia.
The architect for the new building will be SMR Architects based in Seattle and they will be selecting a contractor soon. Pritchard said that they’re excited about SMR Architects because the majority of their employees are AAPI.
“They’ll know exactly what we want and how we want to design it. We know they’ll do the best according to their skills and national backgrounds,” she added.
With the expansion, there will be more volunteer opportunities for the community to partake in.
Pritchard said that they already have successful AAPI business men and women ready to volunteer to train students on how to become an entrepreneur. The program will be open to high school and college students interested in starting their own businesses.
These new programs, along with the expansion, will allow APCC to continue to serve the growing needs of the greater Tacoma community.
Nina can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.