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Asia Institute – Crane House

Southern Cultural Treasures

Asia Institute – Crane House

Recipient Information


Louisville, Kentucky

Year of Award


Grant or Fellowship

Southern Cultural Treasures

Grant Amount



Asia Institute - Crane House (AICH)'s mission is to serve as a community resource that promotes understanding of Asian cultures and heritage through education, outreach and the arts. While it was founded as The China Institute, with the growth of immigration in Louisville, AICH recognized the need to include the emerging diverse Asian communities from Japan, India, Vietnam, South Korea, Thailand, Nepal, the Philippines and other groups. In 1996 the name was changed to Asia Institute, Inc. (dba/Asia Institute-Crane House). The program, now located at 1244 South Third Street in an Old Louisville mansion, continues to offer cultural and educational opportunities for both children and adults, educators, artists, businesses and governmental leaders and staff. In the last two years, AICH has partnered with over 16 Asian communities, Metro Louisville Government, the University of Louisville, Fund for the Arts, the Louisville Free Public Library, the Mayor's Office for Globalization, the World Affairs Council, Jefferson County Public Schools, Greater Louisville Inc, and the Kentucky Arts Council and many others. As Louisville, Kentucky and Southern Indiana grow as a globally-minded region, the need for culturally-aware and internationally-minded citizens is increasing. It is clear that AICH has a vital role to play. AICH is the only Asian Cultural Center serving Kentucky and the five state region.

Leadership - Joel Buno

Joel BunoJoel Buno currently serves as Executive Director of Asia Institute – Crane House (AICH) - 6+ years. He has recently traveled to Asia (China, Philippines 2018 & 2019) coordinating AICH’s long standing Teach in Asia Program with partner sites in Jiujiang (Louisville’s Sister City) and Fujian, CHINA.

Joel, through fund development, grant writing and expense management, has positioned AICH to its best cash position in many years. Previous local positions include, Development Director, Mattingly Center Inc., Donor Relationship Manager, Metro United Way, and Membership Development Manager with GLI – the Metro Chamber of Commerce. Joel’s community service includes Junior liaison for the Kentucky Opera and Senior Liaison for Actor’s Theatre of Louisville. In 2007 Joel was awarded YPAL’s MV”Y”P – Most Valuable Young Professional. He is a past Executive Committee member of FREML (Fundraising Executives of Metro Louisville), serving as Programing Co-Chair. 

After receiving a bachelor’s degree in Social Sciences from The University of Chicago, Joel began his career in advertising in agencies in Chicago. Born in Manila, Philippines, and raised in Jersey City, New Jersey, Joel is very proud to call Louisville, Kentucky home where he is a Commissioned Kentucky Colonel in good standing.

In his spare time Joel enjoys gardening, baking, renovating his old home in the Original Highlands, and spending quality time with his spouse and their 150 pound Mastweiler (Rottweiller / English Mastiff).

Southern Cultural Treasures is a program of South Arts and made possible with support from the Ford Foundation, the Alice L. Walton Foundation, and the Community Foundation of Louisville.