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Arts community continues to thrive in Kirkland
From sophisticated and international to quirky and colorful, Kirkland’s arts community may take on many guises but its central role in the city’s quality of life continues unabated.
A strong sense of community was one reason Ryan James chose Kirkland as the location for his new art gallery. Previously located in Bellevue, Ryan James Fine Arts opened Sept. 12 in Kirkland’s Totem Lake district.
The gallery, which handles only Washington state artists, represents three categories of artists: well-known professionals, up-and-comers (the gallery has a partnership with Cornish College of the Arts) and talented hobbyists who may have art degrees but did not pursue careers in art.
The gallery has five artist studio spaces for rent and plans to schedule special events throughout the month, from open-mike poetry sessions to music performances.
Ryan James Fine Arts is located at 11905 124th Ave. NE.
“Totem Lake is the perfect place to grow our business,” James said. “Once I met my neighbors from the wine industry, I knew I made the right decision. I saw those businesses working as a team to build clients and I wanted to be a part of that positive energy.”
The gallery’s featured artists are Charlotte Dean, Dan Freeman, Angela Gilham, Peter Juvonen and Jara Mohlman.
One of the city’s most vibrant art institutions is the Kirkland Performance Center, which is celebrating its 15th anniversary.
Since opening its doors in June 1998, the center has welcomed more than 800,000 patrons who have enjoyed some of the nation’s top performers from the world of theater, music and dance. The 402-seat venue, in Kirkland’s historic downtown core, is close to restaurants, shops and galleries.
The 15th anniversary season includes performances by composer Philip Glass (Oct. 20) and comedian Mark Russell (March 2), among many others.
Kirkland Performance Center also conducts educational and community outreach programs at area schools, bringing visiting artists into the classrooms and allowing students to perform on the stage.
The Kirkland Arts Center has enjoyed an even longer run as a mainstay of the local arts community. Founded in 1962, the center offers innovative classes, contemporary exhibitions and community-wide events.
Located in the 1892 Peter Kirk Building, a prime example of Victorian-era commercial architecture, the Arts Center includes a printmaking studio, ceramics studio, exhibition and classroom space.
This spring, Pam Rembold joined the center as its executive director. Rembold brings extensive experience in the visual arts to her new role, serving most recently as executive director of The Northwest Art Alliance. Before joining the alliance, she was a founding member of the Sammamish Arts Commission, held an advisory board position at Bellevue Arts Museum and served on the Redmond Arts Committee.
Kirkland Arts Center’s current exhibition, on display through Nov. 2, is called “Observations from the New Gold Mountain.” The exhibit features the work of Lu Yansheng, a visiting artist from Beijing. Complementing his paintings will be a collection of new work by talented local artists Alan Lau, MalPina Chan, Kathy Liao, Lily Liu, Bartry Wong and Ron Ho. More information at: www.kirklandartscenter.org.
Kirkland Arts Center’s gala fundraising event, Redux, will be held Oct. 5 at Bellevue’s Meydenbauer Center, inspired by the distinctive style of Bauhaus. Artwork, travel packages, fine wine and dining will be auctioned, with proceeds supporting community outreach and maintenance of the historic Peter Kirk Building. More details at http://kacredux.org/.