The Thai CulturalCenter’s mission is to instill pride in Thai culture among Thai-American youth, to build self-confidence, camaraderie and leadership skills through performance and to introduce Thai performing arts and music to audiences in California.
The Thai Cultural Center of the San Francisco Bay Area (TCC) is located at Wat Mongkolratanaram Thai Buddhist Temple in Berkeley, CA, and offers music and dance lessons to Thai and Southeast Asian youth. Students attend Sunday afternoon lessons and more intensive classes during the summer session. All instructors are volunteers who are either permanently settled in the Bay Area or visiting summer and year-long teachers from the Rajabhat Institute at Ban Somdej Chao Phraya in Bangkok.
Though lessons have been taking place at Wat Mongkol since 1988, TCC was officially founded in 1989 by the center’s current director, Plearnjai Kundhikanjana. As the Thai and Southeast Asian communities significantly grew in the 1970’s, she recognized the need for more formal instruction. During the center’s early years, TCC collaborated with Chulalongkorn University to host summer and yearlong instructors. In 1994, through Thailand’s Ministry of Education, the center partnered with the Rajaphat Institute at Ban Somdej Chao Praya, which began sending its performing arts students and graduates as visiting instructors at TCC.
The center performs for a variety of cultural shows, fundraisers, Thai Buddhist holidays, festivals, and private functions throughout the Bay Area, including events at the Asian Art Museum, San Francisco City Hall, the California Culinary Academy Greystone Campus and the Chinatown New Year’s Street Festival. The center has also produced a number of Thai classical dramas; each performed in the Bay Area to benefit the Thai Temple and in Thailand to fundraise for the Crown Princess’s Orphanage Foundation.