Chinese Culture Center

Ancient Traditions and Future Directions

First-time visitors to San Francisco often marvel at the city’s kaleidoscopic cultural landscape. Longtime residents experience every day the influence and inspiration of cultures whose origins may be an entire ocean away. Chinese culture in particular permeates the city and surrounding Bay Area, making it impossible to leave the metro without increased appreciation for China’s colossal contribution.

The Chinese Culture Center of San Francisco encourages this appreciation with an in-depth look at the links between culture, community and change. Starting in 1973, the center has been inviting visitors to educate themselves via art and engagement. Both Chinese and Chinese-American ways of life are on display, just as they are on the diverse streets of San Francisco and in the center’s Chinatown neighborhood. In the center, though, visitors can ask questions, linger in front of works of art and even enroll in Mandarin language lessons.

Truly bridging the two regions, throughout the year the center also invites learners to gain skills in martial arts and language in China. A heritage-focused walk through Chinatown is another chance to stroll between history and modernity. Most visitors, though, don’t have to even leave the building to absorb the array of artifacts and exhibits the center offers.

The center has two flagship exhibitions: the “fresharp,” or Xian Yui, yearly series and the Present Tense Biennial. Thousands of square feet of gallery space remind visitors there is even more to take in. Traditional works mingle with more contemporary pieces to challenge definitions of Chinese culture. Workshops beckon visitors to experience past, present and future through a lens of exploration. Past workshop topics have included tastings, dinners with artists, tea ceremonies and puzzle game parties.

For those who want to examine their personal connection to Chinese culture, the Chinese Cultural Center provides the opportunity to conduct genealogical research. Participants first review their family’s footprints in the United States, then visit the Guangdong Province to further examine their ancestry. Finally, their work comes full circle during the Lunar New Year celebration at the center, when researchers can exhibit their own findings.

The Chinese Culture Center of San Francisco is located at 750 Kearny Street, #3, in San Francisco. They can be reached at (415) 986-1822 or online at Galleries are open Tuesdays through Saturdays from 10:00 – 4:00.

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