Asian Cultural Council

Asian Cultural Council

name = Asian Cultural Council (ACC)
native_name = 亞洲文化協會

established = 1980 as the Asian Cultural Council
type = Non-governmental organization
chairman = Elizabeth J. McCormack
vice-chairman = Valerie Rockefeller Wayne
city = Hong Kong
country = China
website = []
The Asian Cultural Council (ACC) is a publicly supported American non-profit organization dedicated to providing support to the Asian-American cultural exchange in areas of visual and performing arts. The foundation was first established in 1980, in memory of John D. Rockefeller 3rd.


Now having been operating for more than 43 years, the council takes the role as a medium between donating bodies and worthy artists in need for financial aid. Over the years, the Asian Cultural Council has given unconditional support and effort in developing the shared arts community by creating numerous invaluable opportunities for artists in Asia and America to develop their talents on the opposite side of the globe.

The new movement in the arts community represents a big step for many hidden artists from developing countries in Asia: worthy artists who are awarded with grants or selected to take part in the ACC’s fellowship programs are not only given the chance to learn and broaden their arts knowledge, they also hold the greater duty to expose the more niche subcultures from home to the rest of the world and in turn bringing pride and glory to their country. The ACC has in its years of operation witnessed countless new artistic products resulted from gains in exchange experiences, stimulating new ideas and new works, and ultimately moving the Asian art industry forward to a new generation.

To expand the circle of the existing arts community, the ACC uses endowment incomes and donations to implement specially designed programs that intend to facilitate local artists to reach their greatest potentials in arts: The ACC offers a total of ten fellowship programs, one unrestricted project fund and one grant award so far.

The ten fellowship programs are allocated specific to their location, content or donor body. They include: ACC Residency Program in Asia, Asian Art and Religion Fellowship Program, Ford Foundation Fellowship Program, Hong Kong Arts Program, Humanities Fellowship Program, Japan-United States Arts Program, Mekong Region Fellowship Program, Philippines Fellowship Program, Starr Foundation Fellowship Program. The unrestricted project fund is known as “ACC Fellowships and Projects” and an annual grant award of $30,000 named after John D. Rockefeller 3rd.


The Asian Cultural Council was first established in 1980. Previously known as the Asian Cultural Program of the JDR 3rd Fund, the body was created in 1963 by John D. Rockefeller 3rd. The Asian Cultural Council has headquarters in New York, Tokyo, Hong Kong and Taipei. The council and The JDR 3rd Fund have provided grant assistance to more than 4000 Asians and Americans for cultural exchange experiences in visual arts and performing arts areas for the past 43 years.


The Council's main objective is to provide support for the cultural exchange between Asia and the United States. The ACC does this by providing grants to Asian applicants in areas of research, study and work in the arts areas of the United States, and similarly, to American applicants who wish to work in the art sector in Asia. In addition, grants are awarded to various educational and cultural institutions in Asia and the United States to promote Asian-American cultural exchange.

Mission Statement

"The arts are central to the lives of people around the world and offer unique opportunities for the growth of communication, respect and mutual understanding among citizens of all nations."Fact|date=February 2007

Types of Donors

Endowment Donors

Asian-American cultural exchange programs are funded by a range of endowment donors, ranging from multi-national corporations, to large charitable foundations, to smaller individual contributions from across the globe. The larger corporations who serve as donors are the Asian Oceanic Group and the Seibu Saison Group. Large charitable foundations who contribute include the [ Ford Foundation] , the [ Japan Foundation] , the JDR 3rd Fund, the [ Starr Foundation] . Loyal individual supporters of the programs are respectively Mr. and Mrs. George D. O’Neill, Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd, Mr. Laurance S. Rockefeller and various anonymous supporters.

Annual Donors

Apart from the more detached funding relationships between endowment donors and the Asian Cultural Council (ACC), the ACC Grant program also receives long-term support from annual and multi-year funds, contributed by committed donors. In the past, such contributions have led to major succession in the growth of the Asian Cultural Council by expanding the council works across Asia, allowing such programs to be accessible to developing countries as well as influencing more nations to understand the importance of cultural exchange between ethnic groups.

Fund Placements and Donors in Asia

The Asian Cultural Council currently has four grant programs across Asia funded by local donors. The four grant programs are located in Hong Kong, Japan, Taiwan and the Philippines.

Hong Kong

The Asian Cultural Council's work in Hong Kong involves the Hong Kong Arts Program. Established in 1986, this grant program receives multi-year funding from local donors in Hong Kong, including: the Lee Hysan Foundation, the Sir Kenneth Fung Ping Fan Foundation Trust, the Hsin Chong-K.N. Godfrey Yeh Education Fund, the [ AIA Foundation] , the Spring-Time Group Limited, the [ Sovereign Art Foundation] and individual supporters Mr. and Mrs. Paul Li.


In Japan, ACC has established a Japan-United States Arts Program. The grant program receives endowment donations from the Seibu Saison Group, a fund donated to the ACC via the [ Japan Foundation] in 1983. Since 1989, annual contributions were made on the existing fund from the Saison Foundation in Tokyo. In early 1993, a group of former grantees in Japan executed a fund-raising program in memory of Blanchette H. Rockefeller, who served as the chairman of ACC from 1980 to 1990, and the money raised was used to establish the Blanchette H. Rockefeller Fellowship Fund of the Japan-United States Arts Program.


The ACC established the Taiwan Fellowship Program in 1995, a joint project with the Sino-American Asian Cultural Foundation, which is a foundation especially formed to collaborate with the council's partner in raising funds and making grants on behalf of US-Taiwan exchange. The program is currently sustained by annual donations from corporations and other foundations including the SAACF (Sino-American Asian Cultural Foundation), the Group 33 Supporting Committee, the Yageo Art Foundation, the [ Accton Corporation] and various other donors.

The Philippines

The Philippines Fellowship Program is the newest Asia-based program of the council. The program was introduced in 2000 in collaboration with the Asian Cultural Council Philippines Foundation. The ACC Philippines Foundation is located in Manila and has formed partnerships with ACC to raise funds and make grants on behalf of the Philippines-American cultural exchange. Contributions and grants to improve and sustain the Philippines Fellowship program are provided by donors in the Philippines and the United States. In addition to the generous inputs in favor of the program, the ACC gives the program the Quimson Fellowship Award each year.


The Asian Cultural Council, as a non-governmental organization, provides the following programs to enhance the exchange of cultures between the Asian and American students:

Unrestricted Grant Funds

Unrestricted Grant Funds are funds received by the ACC that are not allocated to any specific programs and are used to support the ACC's fellowship awards and projects:

ACC Fellowhips and Projects

Artists and specialists from Asia, who undertake research, training, and creative programs in the United States, engage in the ACC's fellowships and projects which are supported by unrestricted grant funds. In 2005, seventeen individual fellowhips and eighteen projects were awarded with unrestricted grant funds.

Restricted Grant Funds

Restricted grant funds are those funds that have been allocated to serve a particular program hosted by the ACC and the council's partners:

ACC Residency Program in Asia

This program helps support Americans who visit Southeast Asia to conduct research,to teach, or to take part in creative work and residencies at cultural and educational institutions.

Visiting Americans and the host organization work together to produce results such as publication, course development, or the creation of new artistic work. This program allows the exchange of the Asian culture in the United States and American culture in Asian countries, and helps build strong bonds between the American individuals and institutions and their counterparts in Asia, in areas of arts and humanities.

Universities that have participated in this program include: University of California through the UCLA Asia Institute [] ; New York University [] ; University of Michigan [] ; University of New Hampshire [] ; and University of Notre Dame through the Institute for Scholarship in the Liberal Arts [] .

Asian Art and Religion Fellowship Program

The Asian Art and Religion Fellowship Program provides support for American artists, scholars and specialists who conduct research in Asia. Projects undertaken and research conducted involve the interdisciplinary analysis of arts and religion. The program focuses on the relationship between the traditions of arts and religion in Asia, and takes into account architecture, museum studies and historic preservation and conservation. It was established with the funds from endowment donor Lawrance S. Rockefeller. This program is eligible only to Americans.

For instance, University of Hawaii, University of California - UCLA International Institute, University of Michigan allow funding from this program.

Ford Foundation Fellowship Program

The [ Ford Foundation] Fellowship Program provides fellowship to predoctoral, postdoctoral and specialists from Asia which supports their training, travel and research in the United States in the study, documentation and preservation of Asian traditional arts. Only Asian applicants who are involved in traditional Asian culture are eligible to apply.

Hong Kong Arts Program

The Asian Cultural Council's Hong Kong Arts Program seves Hong Kong students, scholars, and promising artists. This program allows artists to enhance their skills and brings for them a better understanding of the arts they pursue, by studying different cultures, training, and research projects in areas of interest.

Humanities Fellowhip Program

This program aims to assist American scholars, doctoral students, and specialists in the humanities to undertake research, training and study in Asia, especially in the following fields: archaeology, conservation, museology and theory, history and criticism of architecture, art, dance, film, music, photography, and theater. Its primary objective is to support American scholars and graduates. This program was initiated by a supporting grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, The JDR 3rd Fund and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Apart from assisting American scholars, the program also supports Asian scholars to participate in international conferences, exhibitions, visiting professors and similar projects. The duration of fellowship grants range from one to nine months.

Japan-United States Arts Program

The Japan-United States Arts Program of the ACC aims to encourage the study and understanding of Japanese art and culture. The program provides grants to individuals and institutions in Japan and the United States. Japanese artists, scholars, and specialists who are awarded fellowship grants are able to travel to the United States for research, observation, creative work and allow their American counterparts to visit Japan for similar purposes.

The Japan- United States Arts Program is supported by Seibu Saison Group which provides funds as well as an endowment gift from the Japan Foundation. The Saison Foundation has contributed annual supplementary funding for the program since 1989.The ACC's Blanchette H. Rockefeller Fellowship Fund in Japan also provides additional support. The ACC's office in Tokyo assists the administration of the program.

John D. Rockefeller 3rd Award

This award is funded by The JDR 3rd Fund with a worth of HKD$30,000. The award is granted to one individual from either Asia or the United States who has contributed the most to the international understanding, practice, or study of the visual or performing arts of Asia. Candidates for this award are selected by artists, scholars, and others who are professionally involved in Asian art and culture. The recipients are chosen by the trustees of the ACC after obtaining in depth knowledge on the nominees' background, such as the professional activities and accomplishments obtained. This award allows the recipient to continue work in areas of arts in Asia with awarded subsidies in travel and research expenses.

Mekong Region Fellowhip Program

The Mekong Region Fellowship program assists individual artists and specialists from Burma, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Vietnam, and China’s Yunnan Province in undertaking research, study, and creative projects in the United States and Asia.It is a six-year program which is funded by the Rockefeller Foundation. Special projects that encourage regional collaboration and partnership are also provided by the program.

Philippines Fellowship Program

The Philippines Fellowship Program was established by the ACC in 2000 to support talented artists and scholars in the Philippines. The scholarship grants however began in the 1960s, and, as of present, has sponsored more than 100 talented artists and scholars in the Philippines. This Fellowship program allows Filipinos to harness and practice their talents.

Grants in fields such as archaeology, music, art history, art criticism, painting, photography, etc., are offered to qualified individuals. It is important to note however that priority is given to those who are incapable to fund their studies or research in the United States. This also suggests that any recipients of said grants are expected to go back to the Philippines and apply their research and field of study in their hometown. This arrangement not only allows the students and scholars to apply their new found knowledge in their home country, but also, allows the Philippines to develop more as scholars and learned individuals who are given the chance for better higher learning come back to apply their skills.

Starr Foundation Fellowship Program

Established by endowment incomes from the Starr Foundation, Starr Foundation Fellowship Program intends to promote Asian-American art exchange by funding Asian art specialists to visit the United States for art development.

The program is mainly interested in modern-day visual arts in Asia, and supports art devotees from Asia for personal projects and researches, training courses and observation in the United States for one month to one year. Grants are awarded to art-related proposals that contribute to art criticism, arts craft, filmic arts, museology arts, painting, photography, print-making, sculptures and video.

The fellowship assists three quarters of the full tuition fees and a reasonable amount for living expenses over the course. The program is eligible for applicants from specific countries of the South East Asia: Burma, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, The Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam.

Apart from the program’s primary incentive of funding local Asian art specialists to experience a foreign taste in artwork, many institutions in the United States now also take the opportunity to promote the program to students from South East Asia. Universities in the United States that collaborate with the Star Foundation Fellowship Program include:
* [ Ohio State University, Institute for Japanese Studies]
* [ East Asian Art and Archaeology, University of Michigan]
* [ Stanford University, Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies (FSI)]
* [ University of California Santa Barbara, East Asia Center (2004 – 2005)]

Facts and Figures of the Starr Foundation Fellowship Program:
* 1998 – Nine Starr Foundation Fellowship grants supported artists from China, Hong Kong, the Philippines and Vietnam.
* 2002 – Fourteen Starr Foundation Fellowship grants supported Artists from China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam.
* 2005 – Seventeen Starr Foundation Fellowship Programs supported artists, curators and critics from Asia to the U.S.

Taiwan Fellowship Program

The Taiwan Fellowship Program was established in 1995 by the Asian Cultural Council (ACC) and the Sino-American Asian Cultural Foundation (SAACF). The latter established SAACF was purposely set-up to serve as the ACC’s helping hand in raising funds to make grants for art devotees in Taiwan for research in the United States, and to American art devotees to participate in cultural exchange projects organized by local institutions in Taiwan. As a result in efforts to push forward the Taiwan art culture, a support group Group 33 was started by Cecile Shah, director of ACC-SAACF, five years ago and formed by Art fanatics who meet twice a month to organize art-related funding activities and gains are donated to support ACC grantees each year.

The ACC-SAACF office in Taipei, under the chairmanship of Mr. Douglas Hsu, supports up to eight grant recipients each year. This new collaboration is in charge for all fundraising, application procedures, grantee programming for the project and acquires funds from individual, corporate, foundational donors in Taiwan. These donors include:

* Taiwan Fellowship

The program funds up to three Taiwanese visual-based and performing artists and scholars to the United States or Asia for research and creative work.

2003 – Taiwan Fellowship (Documentary) – Chen Li Herng-Ching
*Chen is a Taiwanese aboriginal filmmaker, with a specialty in documentaries and New Media Art. His work uses poetic imagery and sound to express tribal sensibility and environmental consciousness. He is recommended by Director Zhang Zhao Tang, Institute of Sound and Image Studies in documentary, Tainan National College of Arts.2003 – Taiwan Fellowship (Music) – Chao Yi Wen
*Chao is the first violinist from Taiwan admitted to D.M.A, an advanced course of study at the Juilliard School). She also received scholarship to study at Leipzig Music Festival Summer 2003 and trained with principal violinist of Berlin Philharmonic during her stay.2003 – Taiwan Fellowship (Theatre) – Hsu Yen Ling

*Hsu is an actress who worked with directors Wang Chi Mei, Lai Sheng-Chuan, Wei Ying-Juan. She is interested in both traditional and modern controversial theatre and is recommended by Theatre Department of National University of Art.2003 – Taiwan Fellowship (Art Festival) – Dylan Jones
*Dylan is an American musician and composer who is the founding member of music group “ATASH”. Interested and largely influenced by Persian Music, Jazz and Blues, his work expresses a feeling of ‘free and mysterious’. The boy band was also invited to attend Puli Arts Festival at Taiwan.2002 – Taiwan Fellowship (Theatre) – Pisuiciyo
*Pisuiciyo performed at Flamenco Dance Festival in New York during her stay.2001 - Taiwan Fellowship - (Theatre Director) - Wu Shi Wei2000 – Taiwan Fellowship – (Documentary Director) – Tsao Wen Chieh

“"At the time I was there, ACC was filming its 40th Anniversary documentary film. Rhoda, the director asked what was it that I found to be most rewarding? I think little bits of life's experiences, including all the people and ACC friends I got to meet must be my reward.”" -- Tsao Wen Chieh (source: [ ACC-SAACF 2003 Newsletter] )

* Fu Hwa Art AwardThe Fu Hwa Art Award was established in 2003 in collaboration with the Fu Hwa Cultural and Educational Foundation, a non-profit organization established by the Fu Hwa Financial Holdings Company. The award funds one Taiwanese artist to conduct studies and creative works for three months at [ The Headlands Art Center] , located near San Francisco, accompanied by a research visit in New York for one to two months. The award is responsible to support accommodation, training, flight tickets and cultural exchange opportunities in the United States.

2003 – Yang His-Hsia
* Yang pursues a specialty in ‘metal art’ and experiments with shape using copper and wax to express human senses. 2002 – Yu Wen-Fu
* Yu pursues a specialty in art focused on nature.

* Yageo Tech Art AwardEstablished in 2001 by the ACC-SAACF in collaboration with the [ Yageo Foundation] , the award serves to support a six month stay period of one Taiwanese artists in [ Location One] , a non-profit institution of Arts, in Greene Street, New York. The award is used for expenses of accommodation, training course, flight tickets and cultural exchange opportunities over the time of exchange.

2003 – Hsio Sheng-Chien
* Hsio is a graduate from [ Tainan National College of the Arts] , whose main focus is on interaction video imagery, and studies relationship between human and technology.2002 – Lin Jiun–Ting

"“During my stay, I participated in an exhibition with resident artists from Poland, Spain and Portugal, where my new works were shown alongside theirs.”" -- Lin Jiun–Ting (source: [ ACC-SAACF 2003 Newsletter] )

*ARCUS Project, Artist-in-Residence Program

The [ ARCUS Project] sponsors Taiwanese artists to Moriya City, Ibaraki, Japan for creative work and cultural exchange experiences from October to January.

2002 – ARCUS Residency Program – Lee Wan Chen

"“This residency program also gave me an opportunity to observe the daily life in Japan as well as social conditions. I also got to learn more about the culture of comics in this society, which is quite plentiful in the Japanese public realm, as well as the preserved materials in writing and prints and in performances in museums and theatres.”" -- Lee Wan Chen (source: [ ACC-SAACF 2003 Newsletter] )

Asian Cultural Council Hong Kong (亞洲文化協會香港分會) - Fellowship Awards 2006

Lee Hysan Foundation Fellowships (利希慎基金獎助金)

Pak Sheung Chuen (白雙全), a conceptual artist whose works frequently appear in "Ming Pao" newspaper, will spend a year in the United States observing contemporary art activities and development. He will also take part in a residency program and create new work there.

Lawrence Pun (潘國靈) is a well-known writer ad cultural critic. He will spend 8 months in the United States attending writers’ workshops and urban culture conferences.

Dr. Joseph K. W. Li Arts Fellowship (李國威醫生藝術獎助金)

Wei Qiingji (魏青吉) is an active ink painter in China and a lecturer in th eArt Department of South China Normal University in Guangzhou.

Lady Fung Memorial Music Fellowship (馮秉芬爵士夫人紀念音樂獎助金)

Carol Lin (連皓忻) is a music graduate of the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts (HKAPA). This fellowship was established in 1997 and supports one HKAPA student to do summer studies at the Aspen Music School in Colorado every year.

AIA Foundation Music Scholarship (友邦慈善基金音樂獎學金)

Peggy Sung (宋沛樟), a music student at the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts (HKAPA), will use the scholarship which was established in 2001 to participate in the ten-week summer program of the Aspen School in Colorado in 2006.

Citigroup/ACC Dance Fellowship at The Ailey School(花旗集團/亞洲文化協會艾利舞蹈學校獎學金)

Phan Van Luong is an exchange student form the National Hanoi Opera and Ballet in Vietnam. A 2-year scholarship from the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts (HKAPA), has supported his academic studies in the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts (HKAPA), and the Ailey School.

Wu Mi (吳覓) is a ballet major in the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts (HKAPA). The fellowship supports his Advanced Diploma in Ballet which will be completed in 2007.

Hsin Chong - K. N. Godfrwy Yeh Education Fund Young Architects' Award (新昌 – 葉庚年教育基金青年建築師獎)

BillyTam (譚漢華), now a director with Thomas Chow Architects Ltd, will spend 3 weeks in the United States observing contemporary architecture.

Hsin Chong - K.N. Godfrwy Yeh Education Fund Residency Program for Chinese Architects (新昌 - 葉庚年教育基金中國建築師駐校計劃)

Lin Peng (林澎) is the assistant director of the Urban Planning Institute and teaches urban planning at Tsinghua University's School of Architecture. He will study at MIT's Special Program for Urban and Regional Studies for one semester.

Alisan Fine Arts Fellowship (藝倡畫廊獎助金)

Yu Ding (余丁) is the director of the Art Management Research and Training Program at the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing. He has begun work on a textbook about comparative arts administration practices in China and the U.S. with Professor Joan Jeffri from Columbia University.

Sir Gordon and Lady Wu Fellowship (胡應湘爵士伉儷獎助金)

Yang Zhen (楊臻), a music critic form Beijing and an editor of the monthly magazine "Philharmonia", has been awarded a 5-month fellowship to go to the United States, visiting New York, Chicago, Boston and other music centers to meet with music publishers, critics and managing agencies.

Credit Suisse Arts Management Fellowships (瑞信藝術管理獎助金)

He Lin(何琳), the deputy director of the Public Education Department of the National Art Museum of China in Beijing, will spend 2 months doing research in the art and art education program of Columbia University’s Teacher College in New York. At the same time she will visit museums in New York and in other cultural centers around the country.

Yang Shaolin (楊紹林) is the CEO of the Shanghai Dramatic Arts Centre. Nick Yu (喻榮軍) is a professional playwright and is involved in many aspects of theatre work. They will spend 4 weeks in the United States visiting performing arts centers and conducting research on arts management and marketing practices.

(The Credit Suisse Arts Management fellowship is established in 2006)

Kenneth and Nelly Fung Fellowship (馮慶鏘伉儷獎助金)

Devashis Thoudam, a documentary filmmaker and musician form Manipur, India, and the creative director of Shallow River Studios, will spend 6 months in the U.S. collaborating with American artists in producing work on the AIDS epidemic. He will also meet with community-based media organizations.

Desiree and Hans Michael Jebsen Arts Fellowship (捷成漢伉儷藝術獎助金)

Jaffa Lam (林嵐) is an artist, arts administrator and educator. She will make use of the 5-month grant to meet with artists and curators, participate in a residency program and undertake research on public art in the United States.

The Sovereign Art Foundation Fellowship (Sovereign 藝術基金會獎助金)

Anton Del Castillo, a painter from Manila and an assistant professor of painting at the University of the Philippines Integrated School in Quezon City, will spend 6 months to undertake research on Byzantine icon paintings in American collections and to participate in a residency program.

Ford Foundation Fellowship (福特基金會獎助金)

Yang Yuanzheng (楊元錚) is a doctoral candidate of at the University of Hong Kong. He will spend 6 months conducting research in Princeton University’s Department of Art and Archaeology and with scholars of early Chinese music at the University of Arkansas.

Starr Foundation Fellowships (Starr Foundation 獎助金)

Chen Qiulin (陳秋林), a conceptual artist from Sichuan, is a full member of the Chengdu Painting Academy. She is awarded a 6-month grant to meet with artists and curators in the United States and the create new work.

Teresa Kwong (鄺珮詩) is an arts promoter, curator and producer for film and media arts. She is the Director of the Hong Kong Independent Short Film and Video Awards (ifva). She will spend 6 months to undertake research and residencies in New York and Los Angeles at arts organizations.



External links

* [ Asian Cultural Council]
* [ Asian Cultural Council: Japan-United States Arts Program]
* [ Asian Cultural Council: Hong Kong Arts Program]
* [ Asian Cultural Council: Taiwan Fellowship Program]

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