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Mission and History

Mission Statement

Founded in 2002 as an Asian and Asian American Cultural Center and an integral component of Long Island's Stony Brook University, the Charles B. Wang Center is dedicated to being the foremost world-class center of Asian and Asian American arts and culture.

The Charles B. Wang Center manifests this commitment by creating, establishing, organizing and documenting programs of the highest caliber that reflect both traditional and contemporary Asian and Asian American cultures and societies. These programs include exhibitions, films, lectures, conferences, performances, and educational discussions. The Charles B. Wang Center also supports scholarship and publications of eminence and intellectual merit.

In public programs that respond to the broad issues of Asian and Asian American arts and culture, the Charles B. Wang Center seeks to create a dialogue between the established and the experimental, and between the past and the present.

Central to the Charles B. Wang Center's mission is the encouragement of an ever-deeper understanding and enjoyment of Asian and Asian American arts and culture by diverse local, national and international audiences. These audiences are composed of students, faculty, artists, scholars and general public members of the Stony Brook community that the Center serves.


The Charles B. Wang Center opened its doors on October 22, 2002. The building was designed by architect P.H. Tuan. Not only the huge scale of the 120,000 square foot building, which houses multifunctional facilities of theater, gallery, lecture hall, chapel and dining hall, but also Mr. Charles B. Wang's generous donation reflect Stony Brook University's deep commitment to Asia and to the growing interactions among the Asian nations. At the time, Mr. Wang's donation was the largest single private gift ever received by the State University of New York's 64 campus system.

The Charles B. Wang Center is adorned with a 100 foot octagonal pagoda, a structure that is traditionally associated with Chinese temples. Architect P.H. Tuan has captured Mr. Wang's ideals in a building resonant with the traditions of Asian design. Three red trellis entrances mounted on the spare gray external walls of The Charles B. Wang Center invite the visitor to explore the treasures of the interior. Within, Mr. Tuan has unified the elements of interior space, the outdoors and the enclosing sky, using wide expanses of glass to frame traditional Asian gardens and bridges.