Kirkland Arts Center looks to the future

KAC recently completed a strategic planning process for 2019-2023.

The Kirkland Arts Center (KAC), which owns and occupies the historic Peter Kirk building, recently completed a strategic plan for 2019-23.

KAC was founded as the Creative Arts League in 1962 by artists and citizens interested in providing local opportunities in the arts and preserving the Kirkland landmark, which they transformed into an exhibition gallery, community arts studios and classrooms serving students of all ages and skill levels.

KAC executive director Kelly Dylla told the Kirkland City Council on Feb. 5 that the center’s enrollment is continuing to grow, and that its reach is expanding outside of the community and into the broader Eastside. After a strategic planning process in 2018, KAC decided to rewrite its mission and vision to be more about people than art, reaffirming that “the Kirkland Arts Center is about the verbs of art, not the nouns.”

The organization is also emphasizing its commitment to youth. Last year, KAC piloted a low-cost after school arts program at two elementary schools — Bell and Frost — and then expanded it to four locations. KAC charged as little as $20 for the eight-week program, and said it taught kids not only about art, but also social and emotional development.

“Research shows that just 45 minutes of doing art, even by a novice, can reduce cortisol levels and multiple studies by health researchers show that arts engagement supports youth social skills, essential both for individual health as well as for career development,” Dylla said.

Dylla said she sees the arts and KAC in terms of historic preservation, cultural vibrancy and public health. She said the KAC also plans to look through racial and equity lenses to react to the changing demographics on the Eastside.

“The Kirkland Arts Center has been a leading voice in Kirkland for arts learning,” she said, adding that people have valued the center because it provides access to high-quality arts education, and because it is warm, inclusive and accessible.

Its biggest issues are space, and parking. During the winter quarter, KAC served 500 students in painting and pottery classes and had an “unprecedented” waitlist of 50 people, Dylla said. Still, she believes in the possibility of growth, and sees increased need and demand for art, especially as a way to “get away from endless scrolling.”

“We’re the only organization that has the scale and the ability to grow on the Eastside,” she said.

The new vision statement notes that KAC “strives to be the regional leader of engaging arts experiences for all.” Its mission is to unleash “the power of art to ignite individual growth, build community spirit and cultivate cultural vibrancy.”

Stewardship of the Peter Kirk building is also embedded in the mission, “as an unwavering commitment to KAC’s legacy for future generations,” Dylla said.

KAC’s 2018 impact report highlights some of the work already in progress, including building preservation.

“Over the past two years, KAC has invested over $200,000 on seismic retrofitting for the first and second floors,” she said. “I’m deeply grateful for the council’s approval of significant funds for phase one of this work. 4Culture and ArtsWa were the key funders of phase two, which was finished just a few weeks ago.”

Phase three, set to start in 2020 or 2021, will conclude the seismic work by retrofitting the third floor, including the turret room. As part of strategic plan, KAC is investigating the feasibility of larger capital campaign for the building, which is “a very special place,” Dylla said.

Another strength of KAC is its people. In 2018, KAC’s 64 teachers served 2,131 students with 4,881 hours of instruction. KAC put on 15 exhibitions at KAC gallery and Kirkland library, as well as installed public art on Park Lane. The report also notes the organization’s 101 volunteers of all ages and abilities, who served 4,507 hours.

KAC also has 257 donors and community supporters who help support its almost $1 million budget, along with revenue from classes.

Dylla encouraged the council to keep supporting civic building preservation and restoration, as well as public art, as the arts help cultivate community.

More in Life

Comcast Cares Day comes to Friends of Youth in Kirkland

Employees from the company’s Redmond office volunteered their time at the Eastside nonprofit.

149 volunteers participate in Edith Moulton Park Earth Day celebration

The team removed ivy and blackberry brambles, spread mulch and hauled debris, contributing a total of 604 volunteer hours.

Kiwanis Club of Kirkland’s annual pancake breakfast set for May 18

The event will feature performances by local youth musicians.

Ramit Malhotra and Tanvee Kale star in “Devi” at Allen Theatre at ACT. Photo courtesy of Siddhartha Saha Photography
Pratidhwani produces ‘Devi’ with Eastside actors

The show will feature actors from Bellevue, Redmond and Kirkland.

Regional anesthesia improves outcomes for total knee replacement

The technique not only reduces pain, but allows patients to maintain muscle strength in the leg.

LWTech students McKenzie Gross (left) of Granite Falls and Christian Hogue of Lynnwood (right) each received scholarships from Leading2Lean. Courtesy photo
LWTech’s Gross and Hogue receive Leading2Lean scholarships

They were each awarded $1,250 to put toward the cost of their education.

Stephanie Quiroz/staff photo
                                Annie Crawley visited Mark Twain Elementary and encouraged students to be a voice. Her presentation, “Our Ocean and You” inspires students to protect the world and save the ocean.
‘Ocean Annie’ Crawley speaks at Kirkland’s Twain elementary on Earth Day

Annie Crawley encourages students to be the change in the world.

LWSD students receive National Merit corporate scholarships

Two students are from Tesla STEM and one is from Juanita.

From left: Philip, Mary Madaline, Dee, Tom and Thomas Roe pose together at the award ceremony. Photo courtesy of St. Vincent de Paul
Kirkland’s Roe receives second honor for volunteer work

Dee Roe received her second St. Vincent de Paul Least of My Brethren Award.

Public invited to comment on Kirkland Shoreline Master Program update

Comments will be accepted via email May 8 and at a public hearing on April 25.

From left: Flower Pot program chair Anne Hess, KDA executive director Michael Friedline, and Flower Pot program chair Kathy Feek pose near flower pots in downtown Kirkland with a sample of the new plaques. Stephanie Quiroz/staff photo.
Looking to adopt a flower pot?

Kirkland Downtown Association continues to keep downtown beautiful and vibrant.

Ayuka Sakak, Hadley Cole, KJ Bradley, Cate Harrington, Willow Cook and Shreya Jaisingh of the LEGO Lassies were acknowledged for their accomplishments at the Kirkland City Council meeting on April 2. Courtesy photo.
Kirkland Council proclaims April LEGO Lassies month

The sixth-grade robotics team will be going to the world championships next week.