Kirkland Arts Center hires new Exhibitions Director and Marketing Manager

The addition of these leaders to KAC's team is part of the Center's strategy to improve access to contemporary art on the Eastside

Known for its excellence in visual art education and contemporary art exhibitions, Kirkland Arts Center (KAC) has launched a series of initiatives to improve the public's access to compelling art experiences and to train the artists and curators of tomorrow. These initiatives will be furthered with the hiring of two dynamic leaders: Jayme Yahr, Exhibitions Director; and Renata Almeida, Marketing Manager.

Jayme Yahr will join Kirkland Arts Center on March 21st.  Yahr will set the vision for KAC's Exhibitions program, which includes eight contemporary exhibitions in the KAC gallery, six to twelve satellite exhibitions throughout the region, and several public lectures, discussions, and art events. Yahr will also mentor graduate students through KAC's flagship Emerging Curator Initiative (ECI), which provides a national model for training curators in the field.

Entering its third year, the ECI mentors students from the University of Washington's (UW) Museology graduate program to prepare and present ambitious exhibitions. Led by Wilson E. O'Donnell, Associate Director of the UW's Museology Graduate Program, and KAC, the initiative presented Jill Hardy's Off the Map in 2010 and featured work by Maya Lin and other notable Northwest artists. 2011's exhibit(Be)Longing, by ECI curator Mercy Trent features work by Zhi Lin, Diem Chau and others. (Be)Longingalso includes works on loan from the Frye Art Museum, galleries, and private collections and is currently on view in KAC's free-admission gallery through April 9.

Yahr is currently the curatorial assistant at the Frye Art Museum. She has previously worked at Indianapolis Museum of Art, Crocker Art Museum, Mingei International Museum, and the San Diego Historical Society. She has taught at the UW, University of California Davis and Seattle Pacific University. Jayme is completing her Ph.D. in Art History at the UW, working with Susan Casteras. Yahr received the UW Excellence in Teaching Award in 2010, and was a Kollar Endowed Fellow in the Humanities 2008-2009.

KAC has also hired on January 29, 2011 Marketing Manager Renata Almeida to lead KAC's marketing department and establish practices to reinvigorate KAC's initiatives through research and communications. Her work will focus on three main areas: education (student outreach and content marketing initiatives); development (community outreach and special events); and retail (promotion and customer service strategies for the KAC Store at the Kirkland Parkplace mall).

Almeida will also work with MarketFitz ( ), a leading marketing strategy firm that serves clients ranging in size from start-ups to Fortune 500 companies, to reach new audiences. MarketFitz will conduct research to better understand the needs of KAC's students, patrons and the community on a pro-bono basis, and work with Renata to develop a long-term strategic marketing plan for the organization. MarketFitz, Inc. is a Seattle-based strategic marketing firm that is committed to helping clients deliver measurably improved financial returns on marketing investments. MarketFitz focuses on addressing the three most common areas where traditional marketing leads to poor performance. Leveraging a mix of sophisticated research strategies, proprietary methodologies and consistent execution, MarketFitz positions clients for success in a way that optimizes financial returns.

Almeida has worked as an independent marketing consultant with clients such as Shunpike and 4Culture, offering strategic advice on public relations, content marketing and internal communications initiatives. One of her last projects before joining KAC was the successful launch of Storefronts Seattle, a program to bring art and creative enterprises to empty storefronts in Seattle neighborhoods. Previously she has worked for public relations firm Waggener Edstrom Worldwide, where she led public and analyst relations programs for Microsoft's Developer Platform Evangelism team. Almeida received a Master of Communication in Digital Media from the University of Washington in 2006 and holds a Bachelor's degree in Social Communications/Journalism from the Federal University of Pernambuco (UFPE), Brazil.