Ira Ganjikunta, 6, works on a painting at her Redmond home. CATHERINE KRUMMEY/Kirkland Reporter

Six-year-old Bob Ross-inspired painter to have exhibit at Kirkland Arts Center

For the last year, 6-year-old Ira Ganjikunta has been painting artwork that those beyond her age would struggle to complete.

She makes three paintings a week on average, and the Redmond resident is gearing up for her first show, “Expressions by Ira,” to be held at the Kirkland Arts Center (KAC) later this month.

Ganjikunta, who is a first grader at Albert Einstein Elementary School in Redmond, is looking forward to the exhibit.

“I’m feeling kind of excited and kind of nervous,” she said, adding she’s happy to have the support of her family and friends.

All proceeds from the show, which will be held from 5 to 8 p.m. April 29, will go to support Ekal Vidhyalaya, a non-profit organization that brings basic education to rural areas in India.

“I need to help people,” Ganjikunta said of the decision to have the proceeds go to a charity.

While painting classes were originally her mother’s idea, Ganjikunta has clearly taken a liking to the hobby, and she is now able to paint from her own memory and imagination without copying another piece from a book.

“How she does waterfalls is just so beautiful,” Haritha Kamakoti, Ganjikunta’s mother, said as she watched her daughter paint.

Ganjikunta’s painting instructor, Sweety Saradha, is also one of her biggest fans and said she plans to be one of the people who buys one of the 60 paintings in the upcoming exhibit at the KAC.

“It’s really fun to teach her,” Saradha said. “(The art show) is a really proud moment for me.”

Under Saradha’s instruction, Ganjikunta has become a Bob Ross-certified painter. The requirements for this certification include re-creating four Ross paintings as guided by a Bob Ross-certified instructor, which Saradha is.

More information about the one-night show at the KAC can be found online at facebook.com/events/778036205682864.

Ira Ganjikunta, 6, works on a painting at her Redmond home. CATHERINE KRUMMEY/Kirkland Reporter

Ira Ganjikunta, 6, works on a painting at her Redmond home. CATHERINE KRUMMEY/Kirkland Reporter

Ira Ganjikunta, 6, works on a painting at her Redmond home. CATHERINE KRUMMEY/Kirkland Reporter

Ira Ganjikunta, 6, works on a painting at her Redmond home. CATHERINE KRUMMEY/Kirkland Reporter

Haritha Kamakoti holds up the canvas as her daughter, Ira Ganjikunta, 6, puts the finishing touches on a painting at their Redmond home. CATHERINE KRUMMEY/Kirkland Reporter

Ira Ganjikunta, 6, talks about the different colors of paint she uses. CATHERINE KRUMMEY / Kirkland Reporter

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