Kelly gets retirement send-off – an AKCHO Board Award

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With AKCHO President Alice Stenstrom looking on, Jim Kelly reacts to a standing ovation from the audience at the AKCHO Awards – photo credit Tyler Ray

by Pat Filer – AKCHO Awards Selection Committee Chair

The AKCHO Board wanted Jim Kelly, one of King County’s most beloved and respected cultural leaders in King County’s thriving cultural community, to know how much the heritage community has appreciated his tireless efforts, by bestowing upon him their highest honor, an AKCHO Board Award. Kelly retired as 4Culture’s Executive Director as of March 31, 2018 after 25 years of advocacy for public investment in arts and culture.  Under Kelly’s leadership, 4Culture has become the largest cultural funder in Washington State. During his tenure, over $130 million has been distributed into the sector to 2,800 individuals and groups.

Kelly was hired in 1993 to provide funding and technical assistance to the King County Arts Commission and the Landmarks and Heritage Commission, then a small division of the Parks Department. Forging partnerships with elected officials, Kelly advocated successfully for increased cultural investment throughout the region and managed the County’s first wave of investment in cultural facilities. The Office of Cultural Resources was elevated to a department of the Executive’s Office in 1997 and Kelly was appointed Executive Director in 1999.

During the 2001 Dotcom crash, Kelly was asked to restructure and downsize. Instead, he seized the opportunity to propose a plan to transition the department to an independent public agency—known as a public development authority, or PDA—with an independent board, budget, and self-governance. Once approved, Kelly led the transition with grace and earned the confidence of the cultural community. The agency was moved to the newly renovated Tashiro Kaplan Building in Pioneer Square and was rebranded as 4Culture to represent the four program areas it supports: arts, heritage, preservation, and public art.

In 2007, realizing that 4Culture’s revenues would be insufficient to keep pace with the needs of a growing region, Kelly organized what would become a 7-year effort at the state legislature to extend the lodging tax to support arts and culture in King County.  With Kelly at the helm, King County was able to renew its commitment to support a thriving cultural community.

Recently, Kelly worked with Executive Dow Constantine and the King County Council to leverage funds to create Building for Culture, a $28 million initiative that funded the development of cultural facilities county-wide, including KEXP and the Federal Way Performing Arts Center.

As King County’s population continues to grow and diversify, Kelly has pushed for equity and access to funding for communities that have been underrepresented during 4Culture’s history. Kelly is passionate about making it possible for everyone in King County to experience and participate in our rich cultural heritage.

According to Joe McDermott, King County Council Chair, “Under Jim Kelly’s leadership, 4Culture has become a trusted and respected resource, supporting the vibrant arts and cultural community that is a hallmark of King County.”


ABOUT THIS NEWSLETTER

Heritage Advisor is published by the Association of King County Historical Organizations as a service to members and those who support its mission. We update our website continually throughout the month, and on the first of every month we e-mail a condensed version of Heritage Advisor to our mailing list – you can subscribe to this service by filling out the requested information in the right sidebar on this page.

AKCHO was established in 1977 to encourage cooperation among historical organizations; promote and encourage the study and preservation of the history and heritage of King County through member organizations, individual members, and the community they serve; and support such preservation efforts through public awareness and understanding of legislative issues.

The Heritage Advisor welcomes submissions of news items, calendar items, and opinion columns from AKCHO members, HA subscribers, and readers. Articles are limited to 300 words and they should have a strong relevance to historic preservation and heritage issues in King County, Washington. Submission of an article does not guarantee publication. AKCHO does not pay for published submissions. All articles are subject to review by AKCHO staff. Please send your article within the body of an email (no attachments, please) to heritageadvisor@akcho.org.

AKCHO welcomes new members year round. Individual memberships are $25, and we have a three-tiered system for organizational memberships, with dues dependent on budget size. For more information and an application form, visit http://www.akcho.org/members.

More than 150 individuals and organizations support heritage work and historic preservation in King County, thanks to their membership in AKCHO. Please join us!


THIS INFORMATION IS AVAILABLE UPON REQUEST IN ALTERNATIVE FORMATS




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AKCHO was established to encourage cooperation among historical organizations and to promote and encourage the study and preservation of the history and heritage of King County through member organizations, individual members, and the community they serve, and to support such preservation efforts through public awareness and understanding of legislative issues.

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