About The Kirkland Art Center

The Kirkland Art Center was established over 50 years ago in the second floor of the town library as a meeting place. From the beginning there were classes, exhibitions, films, concerts and lectures. The KAC is now an active, regional, multi-arts center, located in an old church, barn and connecting addition, on the village green. The nature of the activities and mission has stayed steadfast, but with the support of the community, members, volunteers, funding sources and guidance from the NYSCA, our programming has broadened. Demonstrating quality, diversity and multi-cultural programming, both at our facility and off-site, the KAC has become a major cultural force in central New York and through cooperation with other cultural institutions has developed a network of services and opportunities for artists and art lovers of all disciplines.


The mission of the Kirkland Art Center is to educate children and adults to advocate for artists and the arts, and to engage the community in a range of cultural experiences and opportunities.



KAC Chronology

2016 – Megan Ratcliffe was hired as Interim Executive Director

2014 – 2016
John Paul Gardner hired as new Executive Director
KAC Awarded major grants including:
NYSCA: $15,000 + $5000 for exhibitions
Partners in Prosperity $6,000
Town Gown: $4,000
New Program initiatives include
Summer Artist-in-Residence Program
Return of the Roadhouse Music Series
Partnership with Golden Artist Colors for Just Add Water exhibition: 200 works of art donated by artists from 11 states and three countries

1999– Annette Clarke hired as new Executive Director.
NYSCA funding now $34,000.

1998– Matt Mielnick resigns from Director’s position. Tina Betz hired as Interim Executive Director. Search for new permanent Director commences.

Linda Findley hired as new Exective Director.

1996– Matt Mielnick hired as new Executive Director for the KAC

1995– Catherine Westlake resigns from Director’s position. Karen Christensen hired as Interim Executive Director. Search for new permanent Director commences.

NYSCA funding now $25,600.

1994– Air conditioning installed in gallery and office spaces.

Longtime executive director Dare Thompson resigns from position to re-locate out of state.

Catharine Westlake hired as new Executive Director for the KAC

1993– Board members retired: Lorne Bardbury, Richard Foster, Pinny Kuckel, Mary Loy, Ralph Martell, Patrick Marthage, Deborah Payne, Comfort Richardson, Gail Strout, Ann Torrance.

Board Members in this year: Edwin Barrett, William Beyer, Claire Burns, Michael Cosgrove, Barbara Decker, Missy Kennedy, Francis Lallier, Jr., George Myers, Frank S. Owens, Jr., Nancy Robinson, Hester Stuhlman

1992- 1993 – NYSCA funding now down to $19,900

1992KAC Hall of Fame: Philippa Brown, Wanda Jackson, John Nye, Heidi von Bergen, Harry Wolfe

Open House to showcase new addition.

Renovation of office and gallery space completed.

New season begins in almost completely renovated KAC.

1991-1992 – KAC begins to feel State budget cuts. NYS Council on the Arts funding had grown from $5000 in 81-82 to $42550 in 90-91. Drops to $27, 032 in 91-92. Thrift shop struggles when Karen Raybeck leaves for a year. Profits go from about $17,000 to about $10,000.

1991– Entryway to KAC is made handicapped accessible with lift and bathroom added. Oak floor lad in gallery. This becomes Phase 1 of Creative Connection. Plans continue for final phases (connecting addition between original church structure and back barn, as well as office and gallery improvements.)

Phase 2 of Creative Connection goes underway.

KAC Hall of Fame: Libby Beardsell, John DeForest, Sandra Girty, Vincent Rossi

1990– Campaign brochure is prepared private solicitations begin. Campaign is launched publicly in June with 1/3 of the $375,000 goal already attained.

Elizabeth Hunt replaces Nancy Robinson as Activities Coordinator.

KAC Hall of Fame: Daniel O’Leary, Joel Pillsbury, Sidney Wertimer

1989– KAC Hall of Fame: Art Evans, Barbara Kay

KAC Board prepares for major “Creative Connection” campaign. Led by Pinny Kuckel, Board commits $30,000 in December.

1988– Barbare Carovano, Jane O’Grady, Vicki Pendergast, Ruth Ridgway, Willard Sauter

1985-1988– Various safety and energy-efficient improvements made. Increased emphasis put on improving programs, particularly Coffeehouse, youth programs, films, exhibitions. Arts in Education program begins with Clinton, Utica, New Hartford, New York Mills.

1987– KAC presents film “Hail Mary” with mounted police and 200-plus protesters standing by.

KAC Hall of Fame: Nancy Abelon, Carole DeRosa, Richard Enders, Chris Hunt, Cathy Heston, Sue Kennedy, Jackie Madina, Peter Techmanski, Art Tourville, Sally Williams, Sharon Williams

1986– In connection with 25th anniversary, Preservation Fund campaign beginfs with goal of $50,000. Intention is to use good times at KAC to prepare for possible difficult times. Nancy Robinson replaces Bev Carr.

1985– KAC Hall of Fame: Midge BEst, Naomi Jewett, Ginger Parker

1984-85 – Front door is replaced and ramp put in for future accessibility. Basement turned into dance studio and kitchen in time for a big 25th anniversary “bash” and gallery is no longer used for aerobics and dance classes. Project cost about $20,000.

Andree leaves KAC.

Bev Carr hired in new position of Activites Coordinator.

Judy Elliot becomes Office Coordinator.

1984– Lisa Bohling, Judith Bush, Patty Fox, Ann Frey, Nan LaBreque, Caroline Lawrence, Mary Lou Owens

1983– KAC Hall of Fame: Alice Bradfield, Denise Christ, Debbie Fitzsimmons, Elaine Goera Fobare, Morag Galloway, Gayla Higgins

KAC campaigns to raise about $5000 to paint exterior. Utica Foundation grant used to improve gallery. Publicity increases. Dare finds part time clerical person, Judy Elliott is hired and there is also a part-time assistant, Andree Leidig.

1982– KAC Hall of Fame: Twainhart Hill, Dare Thompson, Jerry Weiss, Bill Wertz

Dare Thompson takes over “until they can find someone.” (Remains as Director for the next twelve years.)

First KAC Coffeehouse

1981– KAC Hall of Fame: Mary Earl, Pearl Gapp, Andree Leidig, Lois Lemmer, Lois Pete, Dave Tewksbury

Mary Lou Young replaces Butcher and improves publicity, but resigns after a year of attempting to perform a full-time job in part-time hours.

1980– KAC Hall of Fame: Helen Baietti, Phyllis Boyton, Cindy Crossley, Hank Harding, Jan Livingston, Elaine Muirhead, Irma Rosenfeld, Debbie Rusnock, Doris Rutz, Chris Sinclair, Lory Wedow

1979– KAC Hall of Fame: Barbara Anway, Rolla Bitteker, Chris Covert, Al Denholm, Winn Gulick, Debbie Hilton, Jane Keenan, David Millar, Sue OStwald, Gail Perretta, Judy Sanders, Alba Scott,  Terri Sears, Helen Seyse, Marilyn Smith

1978– Cindy Butcher replaces Lohden. KAC continues to struggle with limited resources and limited publicity.

KAC Hall of Fame: Mickey Adams, Michele Conte, Ruth Denholm, Rosalind Diamond, Susan Endy, Maureen Hinkson, Jerri Karin, Jane Potter, Barbara Pratt

1977– KAC Hall of Fame:Mr. and Mrs. Craig Carlson, Linda Doremus, Judy Heverly, Mr. and Mrs. Robert Schwinger, Carl Wrightman

1976– KAC Hall of Fame: Jean and Robert Buskirk, Eileen Enders, Janet MacDonald, Pat McKelvey, Curt and Linda Smith

1975– Started KAC Thrift Shop to help KAC with its fiscal difficulties

KAC Hall of Fame: Laura Butterfield, Frank Cittadino, Bill English, Tom & Margaret Evans, Steve Kelly, Bertha Lawson, Greg Pavlin, Margie Salzillo, Gail Scarafile, Chetta Vona, Malcolm Wentworth

Mid 70’s– Sate money to cover part of director’s salary runs out. Bernardine Lohden, a past president, becomes part-time Director.

1974– KAC Hall of Fame: Jack Allen, Carole Burdick, Leslie Freudenberger, Audrey Kaiser, Ann Lockwood, Roger & Joanna Moore, George Newman, Heidi Rockwell, Ann Smallen

1973– KAC Hall of Fame: Albert Bowen, Bob Brooks, Connie Burns, Red Goering, Ken Iles, Philipa Kennedy, Ann Kinnel, Ruth MacWilliams, Phyllis Murphy, Mary Venezia, Tony Woodin

1972– KAC Hall of Fame: Sidney Bennett, Joy Kelly, Bernardine Lohden, Rachel Penney, Elden Shaut, Barbara Stowens, Joanna Woodin

1971– KAC Hall of Fame: Ray Martin, Mary Perra, Dave Young

1970– KAC Hall of Fame: Don Bakemeier, Sally Ball, Virginia Breznak, Stretch Depuy, Helen Gleason, Barbara Grogan, Pat Rowan, Nonie Scott, Pat Simshauser, Lettie Tourville, Marjorie Worden

Early 70’s– Ken Kahn replaces von Bergen and helps KAC get grants and donations to renovate the barn for classes.

1969– KAC Hall of Fame: Edith Barrett, Harriet Cameron, Steve Cocks, Joyce Davison, Barbara deShong, Joan Drake, Marian Leary, Irene Shiverick, Barbara Storrier, Beth Wennberg, Bill Williams

1968– KAC Hall of Fame- Muff English, Joyce Olsom, Barbara Plovonich, Ruth Trovato

Late 60’s– John von Bergen becomes the first paid, full-time Director of the KAC

1967– KAC Hall of Fame: Wes Anderson, Trudy Hawley, Beverly Mundt, Steve Robbins

1966– KAC Hall of Fame: Kay Bodmer, Marge Bryden, Gil Hubbard, Gina Hunt, Nancy Jenkins, David Katz, Jackie Kennedy, Charles Meinert, Helen Soezek.

Heintz Funeral Home donates barn to KAC.

1965-66 KAC buys, renovates, moves into former Methodist Church.

1965– KAC Hall of Fame: Mildred Benson, June Berg, Howard Chaney, Madie Compson, Catherine Edmunds, Sue Grant, Dean Howard, Ed Ingalls, Jean McComas, Ray Mellen, Helen Rudd, Shelly Whiting, Thirza Wittig.

1964– KAC Hall of Fame: Trudy Hawley

1963– KAC hall of fame: Marion Lyon, Harriet White

1962– KAC hall of fame: Kitty Culbertson, Esther Donahue, Ruth Johnson, Charles Vogt

1961– KAC hall of fame: Mrs. Clarey, George Hopp, Florence Morgan

1960–  Idea for a KAC presented by Howard Chaney, Head of Clinton Schools Art Department, at a MOther’s Club meeting.

KAC opens doors on second floor of Town Library and begins offering classes, exhibitions, classes, lectures, films, concerts, etc. for adults and children.

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