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Melanie Castillo-Cullather
Asian Culture Center

George Vlahakis
University Communications

Last modified: Thursday, September 4, 2008

IU's Asian Culture Center celebrating its 10th anniversary

Sept. 4, 2008

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- After years of hard work, Indiana University's Asian Culture Center (ACC) is marking a decade of being part of the university and Bloomington communities. The ACC opened its doors on October 3, 1998.

Despite its name, the ACC is everyone's center, not just for Asians.

"Just because we are the Asian Culture Center, doesn't mean one has to be Asian to come to the center or to any of our programs. We welcome everyone in our doors and enjoy the diversity that Bloomington has to offer," said Mai-Lin Poon, co-chair of the ACC 10th Anniversary Committee.

The ACC offers a variety of resources including cooking demonstrations, free language programs and its "Over a Cup of Tea" discussion forums.

"I think that the ACC is a great addition to IU because it raises awareness about Asian cultures and all the stereotypes that an Asian or Asian-American faces every day," said Thien Nguyen, co-chair of the ACC 10th Anniversary Committee. "We want everyone to use the center to expand their knowledge of different cultures."

Electric Kulintang

Photo by: Tony Cenicola

Electric Kulintang will perform on Oct. 10

Print-Quality Photo

The ACC has made a lasting mark on IU. It led the initiative to include Asian students in the Hudson and Holland Scholars program; it helped establish the Asian Alumni Association as well as the Asian Pacific American Faculty and Staff Council; and it pushed for an Asian American Studies program, which will begin offering a minor in the fall semester of 2009.

The ACC's 10th Anniversary will contribute to the community as well. The year-long celebration will feature special events each month, including:

  • A Sept. 15 screening of the silent film Red Heroine, accompanied by a live music peformed by The Devil Music Ensemble (DME). Sponsored by the ACC, Union Board and Department of Communication and Culture, the event will begin at 7 p.m. in Whittenberger Auditorium, Indiana Memorial Union, 900 E. Seventh St. Red Heroine, directed by Wen Yimin 1929, is the only feature-length Chinese martial arts film from the silent era that still exists in its entirety. DME's score was written specifically for the film.
  • The annual Moon Festival, from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. in Dunn Meadow on Sept. 27, which will feature free food samples and performances representing many of the countries which celebrate the holiday. It is co-hosted by the Chinese Student and Scholar Association, the Hong Kong Student Association, the Japanese Student Association, the Korean Student Association, the Malaysian Student Association, the Singapore Student Association, the Taiwanese Student Association and the Vietnamese Student Association.
  • A social hour at 5:30 p.m. on Oct. 3, hosted by the Asian Pacific American Faculty and Staff Council, in the Faculty Room of the University Club at the Indiana Memorial Union, 900 E. Seventh St. It will be followed by a celebration banquet in the IMU's Alumni Hall, where the Distinguished Alumni Award will be presented to Judge G. Michael Witte of Lawrenceburg, Ind. Tickets to the dinner will cost $25 for students and $35 for non-students. More information about tickets is available online at
  • A free Oct. 10 performance in the IMU Gallery by Electric Kulintang, a "Filipino trip-hop" group led by two percussionists -- Susie Ibarra and Roberto Rodriguez -- who traveled to the Philippines to reseach its Kulintang music and dance. It is named after a percussion instrument that consists of eight gongs. Guest musicians who have peformed with them include Thurston Moore of the band Sonic Youth, Sean Lennon and jazz artists Oz Noy, Craig Taborn and Trevor Dunn. Their debut album, Dialects, came out in 2007 on Plastic Records. The event is being presented in partnership with the Latino Cultural Center, Latino Studies, the Asian Student Union and the Percussion Department of the IU Jacobs School of Music.
  • A screening and conversation on Oct. 16 with filmmaker Grace Lee, who will discuss her documentary, "The Grace Lee Project." Growing up in Missouri, Lee, a Korean American, had never met anyone else with her same name. But once she moved away from the Midwest, everyone she met seemed to know "another Grace Lee" who met certain sterotypes. For her film project, she set out to interview other Grace Lees, from a fiery social activist to a rebel who tried to burn down her high school. The screening will take place at 7 p.m. in the Grand Hall of the Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center, 275 N. Jordan Ave. More information about project is available at
  • A lecture and performance in March by Magdalen Hsu Li, an acclaimed singer-songwriter, painter and cultural activist, who recently released a CD, Smashing the Ceiling, on Goldenrod Music.
  • A campus lecture next April by Jennifer 8 Lee, a New York Times correspondent and author of a New York Times best-selling book on the history of Chinese food in the United States, The Fortune Cookie Chronicles: Adventures in the World of Chinese Food (Twelve Books, 2008) and a blog,

In addition to being a fun commemoration for all those involved, the ACC 10th Anniversary will serve two main purposes, organizers said.

"It's a way of saying thank you to everyone who has made the ACC what it is today, from the students who advocated for the center to every visitor that has been to the ACC," Nguyen said. "It is also to recognize the ACC and its 10 years of service to the IU and Bloomington community."

To find out more about the ACC 10th Anniversary celebration events, visit the ACC website at