Big Grant in Little China
CSUMB awarded $600,000 grant to develop Asian Cultural Center
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
CSU Monterey Bay's Service Learning Institute has been awarded $600,000 to fund an Asian Cultural Center in Salinas' Chinatown and continue redevelopment work on the city's Skid Row, the university announced today.
The three-year federal grant will be used to renovate the historic Republic Cafe on Soledad Street into a cultural center detailing the histories of Chinese, Japanese and Filipino families that once lived in the neighborhood. The initiative builds upon several years of work by CSUMB service learners, from handing out meals in Dorothy's soup kitchen to creating the community garden.
"This has been an incredibly rich process for the university and our community partners,” said Seth Pollack, director of the Service Learning Institute, in a prepared statement. “In opening the Soledad Street community unity garden, we planted the seeds that showed to the neighborhood that change is possible."
Students enrolled in the university’s museum studies program will be involved in picking the arifacts for the cultural center. “Students now have the opportunity to see a museum collection unfold from scratch. They will interview Asian residents and help them to uncover artifacts stashed in closets, attics, garages, under beds, in photo albums and china closets," said Lila Staples, museum studies professor. "They will assist in curating these objects into a compelling story of Salinas’ diverse past.”