Kirkland Arts Center receives largest gift in 50-year history

Kirkland Arts Center (KAC) is announcing it has received several generous leadership gifts in honor of its 50th Anniversary. These gifts, total $200,000, and will allow KAC to expand its programs and save toward its future. As KAC reaches its 50th anniversary the Board and staff can point to the organization’s grassroots beginnings to explain its remarkable longevity. KAC was born out of the passion of a handful of citizens who banded together to save the landmark facility in 1962. This generosity is being felt again with leadership commitments from local philanthropists.

Bill and Becky (Leyrer) Ballantine, avid art collectors and well known Kirkland arts supporters, and the National Philanthropic Trust have made the largest single annual donation in KAC’s 50-year history: $125,000. Their investment will allow KAC to start the next 50 years in a strong financial position.

"Becky and I are both long term residents of Kirkland and have watched the Kirkland Arts Center gain regional and national attention over the past decade.

This is a tough time for all arts organizations and we are delighted to be able to help KAC move forward. Leadership is important for the arts and KAC is very well led today and for the foreseeable future."

Joan McBride, City of Kirkland Mayor, and Margaret Meister have committed $50,000 to KAC in honor of its 50th Anniversary and the William Radcliffe Family. William Radcliffe was the founder of KAC and Joan was one of his students. “He believed that everyone had talent, and he fostered in his students a belief that art was for everyone and an integral part of life. All these years later, what I remember most is his smiling face and sense of joy,” shared

Joan McBride.

Evelyn Bundesmann and Craig Peeper have made a $25,000 donation to KAC. Their gift has purchased a new kiln “Evelyn” for KAC. The kiln is a vital piece to the programs and classes offered at KAC each year. $10,000 of their gift will be used as a match for the upcoming fund-a-need portion of the annual REDUX auction, happening on October 27, 2012. Their donation was made possible by the Microsoft Technical Recognition Award, given to the Kinect Skeletal Tracking team for their outstanding and innovative technical achievement.

Evelyn said, “I’ve been coming to KAC over the past 14 years. KAC always provides a welcoming and creative community to explore art. My children are now starting to take classes; I want KAC to encourage and allow all children to explore their creativity.

KAC Board President Joan Wrench said, “This is a proud moment for Kirkland Arts Center. Bill and Becky have been strong and passionate arts center supporters with a desire to leave a lasting legacy. This gift does that. We are humbled by their generosity and equally as thankful that Evelyn and Craig chose to designate KAC as the recipient of their award. With Joan and Margaret's leadership gift, we have broken all the records at KAC this year - wow!”