Vote for the Kirkland Arts Center; Competition for $1 million in grants

American Express and the National Trust for Historic Preservation today launched the community-based Partners in Preservation program in Seattle and the Puget Sound region, an initiative that provides $1 million in grants from American Express to local historic sites.  This innovative online program encourages local residents and people across the country to vote for their favorite historic places from a diverse slate of 25 sites throughout the Seattle-Puget Sound area, including the Kirkland Arts Center.

Votes can be cast at www.PartnersinPreservation.com, from April 15 – May 12

Kirkland Arts Center

What is the historical significance of this site? 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 their city's founder and repurposed it to serve their community. Eleven 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.

What is the current use of the site? The original 11 owners' dream has become a reality.  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.

Why this site needs your support: Kirkland Arts Center constantly touches the lives of thousands of youth and adults through dynamic arts education and exhibitions programming.  A Partners in Preservation grant would fund the rehabilitation of the second story and entryway as well as the restoration of historic details to the building's signature Turret Room. The proposed renovations to the Kirkland Arts Center would allow increased efficiency in space and energy use, improve and expand programming, and more strongly connect the Eastside community to its rich history.

Votes can be cast at www.PartnersinPreservation.com, from April 15 – May 12.  Additionally, people can post personal stories and share photos throughout the program. The winner of the public vote is guaranteed grant funds. Runners-up will be determined by an advisory committee composed of civic and preservation leaders in collaboration with the American Express Foundation and the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

Today, representatives from the 25 sites, Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn, King County Executive Dow Constantine, the National Trust and American Express officially launched the initiative at historic Daniels Recital Hall, formerly the First United Methodist Church of Seattle.

The Seattle-Puget Sound area is the fifth region to host the Partners in Preservation program and receive funding from American Express. The program previously made grants for preservation projects in the San Francisco Bay area, Chicagoland, New Orleans and Greater Boston.

American Express and the National Trust for Historic Preservation used specific criteria to select the participating 25 diverse historic sites, including their historic significance and accessibility to the public, demonstration of community support and organizational excellence, and evidence of a coherent and sustainable preservation plan.  The 25 sites are:

·  Bowman Bay Kitchen Shelter, Deception Pass State Park

·  Ferry House at Ebey's Landing, Whidbey Island

·  Port Townsend U.S. Customs House and Post Office, Port Townsend

·  Point No Point Lighthouse, Hansville

·  Schooner Adventuress, Puget Sound

·  Kirkland Arts Center, Kirkland

·  University Heights Community Center, Seattle

·  Theodor Jacobsen Observatory, Seattle

·  Tugboat Arthur Foss, Seattle

·  Naval Reserve Armory—MOHAI, Seattle

·  Horiuchi's Seattle Mural, Seattle

·  The 5th Avenue Theatre, Seattle

·  Town Hall Seattle, Seattle

·  Washington Hall, Seattle

·  Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle Building, Seattle

·  King Street Station, Seattle

·  Japanese Cultural & Community Center—Nihongo Gakko, Seattle

·  Keewaydin Clubhouse—VFW Post 5760, Mercer Island

·  Chapel Car 5 "Messenger of Peace," Snoqualmie

·  Mill Creek Canyon Earthworks, Kent

·  Skansie Brothers Net Shed, Gig Harbor

·  Spanish Steps, Tacoma

·  Titlow Park Lodge, Tacoma

·  Anderson Island Historical Society—Johnson Farm

·  Garfield Hall—Orting Soldiers Home

Open Houses will be held the weekend of May 1 – 2 at all 25 sites, providing the community an opportunity to tour and learn more about each of the historic sites.  Hours, special activities and additional information can be found on the Partners in Preservation Web site at www.PartnersinPreservation.com.  An Advisory Committee will hold a closed-door session to review the candidates on June 8.  Grant recipients will be announced on June 15.

Additional Partners for this program are: King County, the City of Seattle, the City of Tacoma and the Washington Trust for Historic Preservation.

For more information, visit http://www.Facebook.com/pages/Partners-in-Preservation/61860401637 or followwww.Twitter.com/PartnersinPres.

About the Partners in Preservation Program

Launched in 2006, Partners in Preservation is a program in which American Express, in partnership with the National Trust for Historic Preservation, pledged $5.5 million over a five-year period toward preserving historic places throughout the United States.  American Express has already allocated more than $3.4 million in preservation grants, which has allowed recipients to make significant progress in achieving their preservation goals.  American Express has also given $1.1 million to the National Trust for Historic Preservation to support its work helping people save the places that matter to them all across the country.  Seattle is the fifth region to host the Partners in Preservation program and receive funding from American Express. The program previously made grants for preservation projects in the San Francisco Bay area, Chicagoland, New Orleans and Greater Boston.

In this partnership, American Express and the National Trust for Historic Preservation seek to increase the public's awareness of the importance of historic preservation in the United States and to preserve America's historic and cultural landmarks. The program also seeks to inspire long-term support from local citizens for the historic places at the heart of their communities.