Contact Us & Staff Information

Contact Us & Staff Information 2022-09-06T13:14:02-07:00

To contact us by phone, dial (425) 822-7161 followed by the extension to reach the appropriate staff member. View our office hours.

Executive Director

Ashlie Beach
(425) 822-7161 x108

Ashlie Beach has been part of the Kirkland Arts Center team since 2017, most recently as Education Director. Over the course of her tenure, she led a wildly successful period of education programming, raising average enrollment from 400 students per quarter to 600. In 2019, Beach completed an Executive Program Certificate in Arts & Culture Strategy through the University of Pennsylvania. Beach’s lifelong commitment to visual arts is underpinned by her passionate belief in providing scholarships and equitable access to arts programming.
Previously, Beach worked in recruitment at the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan, maintaining relationships with McKinsey, Bain, Microsoft, and Amazon.  As a new parent, she volunteered extensively at Perinatal Support International of Washington, where she did development work and organized an international conference. Beach later served on the board of her children’s cooperative school as the Parenting Education Program liaison for seven area co-op preschools and Shoreline College.
Learn more about Ashlie’s background in the recent announcement of her leadership.

Gallery Director & Chief Curator

Miha Sarani
(425) 822-7161 x103

Miha Sarani is a visual artist, an art historian, and an art educator. Born and raised in Ljubljana, Slovenia, he moved permanently to the United States in 2007, becoming a citizen in 2021. He earned a BFA (painting + drawing, ’15), and an MA (art history, ’19) from the University of Washington.

Miha’s work has been shown at art museums and galleries, featured in art journals, publications, promotional material, and on music album covers. His large Koncentrik Painting series is owned by the University of Washington and on permanent display at the Mary Gates Hall. He lectures on art history for Seattle Central College CE, and OSHER program at the University of Washington, as well as practical art making at the Kirkland Arts Center.

Also passionate about music, Miha released his first music album Emona Au Revoir in 2016. It was included in Seattle Public Library’s PlayBack program the following year. He is a member of the Shift Gallery in Seattle, where he works and lives with his wife Tomitha, and their dogs Blue and Sister Ray.

Education Assistant

Glenda Cooper

Glenda Cooper has been an integral volunteer member of the KAC staff for the last twenty years, and holds amazing institutional memory. She deftly helps students register for class, and assists staff and teaching artists prepare for, and then execute classes. In addition, she is a talented painter and mixed media artist, who has a passion for plants and archery. Glenda has taken a number of painting, art history, and abstract art classes at KAC, and is a great resource for class recommendations, or sourcing art supplies. Originally from Virginia, she lives with her husband and dog in Woodinville.

Ceramics Studio Manager

Sean Tessandori

Sean Tessandori is a California-born artist living in Tacoma, WA. Sean began working with clay during high school, and then more seriously while attending University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. Sean received his BA in 2017 from the Humboldt State University in Studio Arts with a focus in
Ceramics. His functional forms are thrown and trimmed on the potter’s wheel with added slip trailed texture. The slightly ridged forms which are broken up by sections of recessed and raised texture draw upon his roots in metal and woodworking, and he explores the idea relationship
between handmade functional objects and their effect on everyday life.

Ceramics Technician Emeritus

Pat Colyar

Pat Colyar is a longtime ceramics technician at the Kirkland Arts Center and has taught ceramics since 1988. She enjoys helping people learn about the joys of clay work while discovering their own abilities. She specializes in making functional ceramic ware and two-dimensional wall pieces.

Assistant Curator

Holly Koelling

Holly began in the arts. She earned a BFA in Studio Arts (large scale oil painting and screen printing) and a BA in Art History. After 25 years as a career librarian and library administrator she returned to a life in the arts, both as a maker and a supporter. Along with her renewed love of oil painting and printmaking, Holly holds a recent Certificate in Photography from the UW and is studying ceramics. Holly believes deeply in the power of making and experiencing art, and especially recognizes the value of engaging people in the extraordinary and diverse world of artists and artworks. In addition to her arts background, Holly brings years of organizational and executive experience in support of KAC’s dynamic Gallery team.

Associate Curator

Ellen McGivern

Ellen McGivern is a Curator and Arts Administrator whose research focuses on the unique and symbiotic relationship between makers and artist communities. Originally from the Great Plains, Ellen received her undergraduate degree from the University of Kansas with degrees in both Journalism and Art History. Since moving to the Pacific Northwest in 2017, Ellen completed her MFA in Arts Leadership from Seattle University, interned at contemporary performance organization On the Boards, and was a writing resident in the University of Washington’s Black Embodiments Studio. Most recently she has worked in Access Services at her alma mater, Seattle University’s Lemieux Library and McGoldrick Learning Commons, was a Curatorial Assistant for the exhibition, Abstractions of Black Citizenship: African American Art of Saint Louis, and was contracted to assist in Shunpike’s Storefront project, a creative initiative to provide public art experiences in downtown Seattle.

Assistant Ceramics Technician & Registrar

Eleanor Stelter

Eleanor Stelter is an interdisciplinary artist focused on three-dimensional functional work who finds great joy in helping people express themselves creatively. Since graduating with a BFA in 2018, they have worked primarily in the ceramics community. Eleanor has taught every age demographic and loves to continuously expand their skill set and pass useful and sustainable practices on to others.