Kirkland Arts Center finalist for national preservation funding

The Kirkland Arts Center - built by Kirkland
The Kirkland Arts Center - built by Kirkland's founder, Peter Kirk - during its early years.
— image credit: Contributed photo

Built by Kirkland's founder, Peter Kirk, the Kirkland Arts Center has been named one of 25 historic places selected to participate in the Seattle-Puget Sound area Partners in Preservation initiative by The National Trust for Historic Preservation.

The community is invited to vote on which building or place they believe should be awarded a grant. With 24 other finalists, the Kirkland Arts Center was selected out of 150 applicants from the region, said Post Commander Bob Brahm.

American Express, the National Trust for Historic Preservation and the National Trust's Western Office in San Francisco, recently announced 25 projects that will compete for funding as a part of the effort to preserve and enhance historic places throughout the Puget Sound region that reflect the area's diverse heritage. The public is invited to vote online through May 12 for the places they would like to receive preservation funding. The winner of the public vote is guaranteed to receive a grant. The remainder of the $1 million in available funding will be distributed among a yet to be determined number of projects by American Express, the National Trust for Historic Preservation and an advisory committee comprised of Seattle-Puget Sound area civic and preservation leaders taking into account the results of the public vote. The final grant decisions will be announced on June 15.

To vote, go to: Participants may vote once daily and post personal stories and photos in support of Kirkland Arts center.

Housed in the historic Peter Kirk building, the Kirkland Arts Center represents a realization of the dream of 11 Kirkland citizens to share the gift of art with the community. The charming brick building contains airy studios in which students, teachers, and friends come together to create and appreciate art.

Built in 1892, the Peter Kirk Building provided offices for Kirkland founder and steel magnate, Peter Kirk. The building dropped out of commercial use in 1962, but citizens came together to protect the most important building associated with Kirkland's founder and re-purposed it to serve their community.

A small group of Kirkland residents led by art instructor William Radcliffe rallied to purchase the building with their own money, envisioning the creation of an arts center for all members of the community. First established as the Creative Arts League, the Kirkland Arts Center promotes the creation of and appreciation for contemporary art in the community. Today, the Kirkland Arts Center welcomes thousands of individuals from the Eastside and other Seattle areas, and in 2012 will celebrate its 50th anniversary.

A Partners in Preservation grant would fund the rehabilitation of the Kirkland Arts Center’s second story and grand staircase entryway, as well as the restoration of historic details to the building’s signature Turret Room. The proposed renovations would allow increased efficiency in space and energy use, improve and expand programming, and more strongly connect the Eastside community to its rich history. Protecting this stately structure not only preserves a piece of town history, but also ensures that the Kirkland Arts Center will be able to engage the community for years to come.

To celebrate this distinction and show the public the recent efforts to upgrade and maintain the building, two days of celebration and tours are planned:

May 1: Art For All, 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.: Join the Kirkland Arts Center for this fun, free drop-in event for all ages; public remarks at 2 p.m.; Ceramics Open Studio, 12-5 p.m.

May 2: Sunday Life, 1-4 p.m.: Work from a live model in this drop-in drawing, painting or sculpting session in the historic Skylight Room on the third floor ($8 model fee); Printmaking Open Studio, 12-5 p.m.

Both days feature art making demonstrations, tours, prize drawings and more. For information, call 425-822-7161 or visit The Kirkland Arts Center is located at 620 Market Street, Kirkland.

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