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Lockhart’s passion for the arts will drive Kirkland Performance Center
Jeff Lockhart’s passion for music started when his mother took him to a Beach Boys concert as a young boy.
“It was a life changer for me as a kid,” he said. “I wanted to do that.”
Since that Beach Boys concert in the mid-1970s, Lockhart’s passion has always been at the forefront of his life, whether it was attending concerts as a kid, learning to play the drums and guitar, or co-founding a band.
“I don’t remember not being involved in music,” he said.
As the newly-appointed executive director of the Kirkland Performing Arts Center, Lockhart brings not only decades of experience and enthusiasm to the job, but an attitude that considers both the art and business side of the industry as equally vital. Lockhart had served as interim-director since February.
“I see the Performing Arts Center as being an Eastside destination for people who want quality music and entertainment,” he said. “Regionally, we like to reach out to people. We want to be the place of choice when you think of music and film or performing arts.”
Lockhart also stated the intent is to showcase art, whether it be music, theater or film, that reflects the values of the community rather than impose their own preferences and tastes. For example, they have been reaching out to indie rock artists from Seattle, which he said have a large fan base on the Eastside. They also have a “Night of Queen” event, which will recreate the rock band Queen’s concert by a cover band. Lockhart’s band, Creme Tangerine, will also hosts a concert in which they will recreate the Beatle’s “Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band” concert.
“We’ve just been trying to do more creative things musically,” he said.
Rather than see conflict between the creative and business sides of art, Lockhart considers them both equally essential. From his earliest days performing, he got directly involved in booking concerts and recording records.
“I love the music business,” he said. “I love studying the business behind music, music as a commodity, the old record labels and managing artists and managing bands. The machine that made popular music culture happen is fascinating as a study.”
With a business degree from Northwest University in Kirkland, he eventually founded Creatio Institute at his alma mater, which offers academic degree programs, a commercial recording studio enterprise and youth music industry programs with the intent of helping artists balance between their art and the industry. In 2011, he was recognized by the city of Kirkland for his promotion of the arts in the area with the Kirkland Cachet Award.
“I talk to my students about balancing the music,” he said. “The best musicians have a grip on how those things work together. Great artistry support great industry and great industry support great artistry. I see those both existing together.”
This balance between music and business is also what he regards as the key to the Performing Arts Center’s success.
“We’re not going to be bringing great art to the Eastside without having good business affairs,” he said. “We’re free to be as creative as we can be when our programming choices are what’s relevant, what’s important to the community. At the same time that creativity and passion drives us to be really good at our business ventures so we can offer what we have and not get distracted by poor business decisions.”
Though it is a new job title, Lockhart says he doesn’t consider it work.
“It’s not like I get up and go to work,” he said. “I live life. I love it that people pay me to get to do what I love. I am real fortunate to do what I do.”