On Monday night, we gathered with current and past staff, board, and advisory members underneath the stunning ceiling of the Paramount Theatre to celebrate Jim Kelly’s 25 years of leadership at 4Culture. The location was fitting—a historic building that hosts artistic performances of all disciplines, run by an organization that, while based in Seattle, works tirelessly to share their programming with all of King County. The Paramount is emblematic of how the four disciplines of 4Culture—arts, heritage, preservation, and public art—are intertwined. Our agency’s vision of supporting culture on all of these levels is a product of Jim’s leadership.
Throughout his tenure as Executive Director, Jim’s focus has been on the individuals, cultural organizations, and communities of King County. True to form, Jim put those we serve at the center of his comments on Monday night: “What we do is try to help them do their work. What could be greater than that? Is there a job that’s better than helping people who are trying to bring beauty to community?”
Jim’s commitment has set the tone for how we work at 4Culture. As our colleague Charlie Rathbun said on Monday, “Jim always showed up, in every way.” It’s impossible to deny that Jim’s retirement represents the end of an era, but our core belief that all of King County deserves access to arts and culture will not change.
We thank Jim for building our organization on that foundation.