The Kirkland City Council received a report from the Kirkland Performance Center (KPC) executive director Jeff Lockhart at its Oct. 15 meeting.
A partnership between the city of Kirkland and the KPC has been in effect since 1998, with the city serving as the owner and landlord of the facility.
“It’s because of this partnership and because of our shared vision…that KPC is truly a gathering space,” Lockhart said.
At the meeting, he discussed the gains the center has made as of late, as well as where the facility intends to go in the future.
“Besides the report I’ll show you tonight…we’re really thinking hard in our leadership about accessibility, youth and adult arts education, how we’re going to launch a new speaker series,” Lockhart said. “We’re excited that we’re going to be launching programming for people that are dealing with Alzheimer’s and early dementia; better supporting community members and artists with presentation services…to be in a strong position to give back to the community in these ways are exciting to us.”
The center is celebrating its 21st anniversary this year. Before it became what it is today, the KPC was led by a small group of residents who believed an arts outlet was important to Kirkland, ultimately connecting with the city for support.
Throughout its existence, the center has sought to be demographically inclusive, and bring a plethora of performing styles to the city. Lockhart also noted that it’s been important to showcase the diversity of the community.
According to the meeting presentation, 200-plus of the performances that take place at the KPC each year are by local performers, like the Seattle Rock Orchestra, Studio East and others. Many of the performances are multilingual and multicultural, and catered to a range of ages.
The KPC also estimates that it gets around 84,000 visitors a year, with 40 percent of its shows free or open to the public.
Something exciting to see, according to Lockhart, is how many notable figures have stopped by the center over the last few years, like Stephen Stills and Judy Collins, Arlo Guthrie, Rufus Wainwright, Kenny G and others.
“The caliber of artists that’s starting to come to Kirkland and bypass Seattle — go, Kirkland — is actually really cool,” Lockhart said.
According to the presentation, the KPC needs to tangibly progress in five areas to successfully transition into a new generation: increase contributed income, further focus education programs, engage the community, enhance programming and optimize KPC leadership.
Over the last two decades, Kirkland, according to the meeting agenda item, has included in its support $500,000 toward the building’s initial renovation as well as toward operational and capital maintenance, admissions tax rebate, annual funding allocations, gratis rent and limited use of the Kirk Community Center lobby. About $2.5 million in funding has been given to the KPC in the last two decades, according to the meeting agenda item. Currently, the KPC has had to provide a biennial report to the city that includes a financial statement via an agreement enacted in 2019.
KPC’s agreement with the city also necessitates the completion of a business plan by July 1, 2020.