Hilltop Artists Have a New Executive Director

Submitted by Hilltop Artists

The Hilltop Artists Board of Directors invites the community to help welcome the organization’s new Executive Director, Dr. Kimberly Keith. A Tacoma-native, Keith brings to the position over 22 years of experience in arts, education, and cultural institutions.

Kimberly Keith
The Hilltop Artists Board of Directors invites the community to help welcome the organization’s new Executive Director, Dr. Kimberly Keith. Photo courtesy: Hilltop Artists

“Dr. Keith’s breadth and depth of experience impressed us from the start,” says Dr. Christopher Kodama, Board Member and Chair of the Hilltop Artists Transition Team, “Her combined personal and professional background speak to an individual who is committed to improving outcomes for underserved youth through the power of art.”

Keith references her own experience as an underserved youth who found inspiration in the arts as a motivating factor in developing arts programs for young people. Notably, Keith created opportunities for at-risk youth at the Seattle Children’s Museum and Tacoma’s own Museum of Glass. At Museum of Glass, Keith established the Remann Hall Women’s Project, the precursor to Arts Connect, a program that now resides with Hilltop Artists.  Keith’s dedication to cultural experiences for non-traditional audiences shaped her doctoral work in sociology at Goldsmith’s University of London. While there, she became involved with the Black Cultural Archives, the UK’s first black heritage center, where she continues to serve as a Trustee. Locally, Keith volunteers weekly at the Oasis Youth Center drop in program and as a part of the Bridge Builders Advocacy Group.

“I grew up on the Hilltop in Tacoma, was a student at Jason Lee, and was an at-risk, mixed race kid who loved the arts.” Shares Keith. “I know from lived experience that mentorship in the arts can develop critical thinking skills, academic success, and a lifelong connection to community.  I am uniquely positioned to understand the young people in the programs at Hilltop Artists and I am thrilled to carry forward its organizational mission, vision, and values.”

Keith will be the fourth Executive Director to take on this leadership role since Hilltop Artists’ foundation in 1994. She replaces outgoing Executive Director, Kit Evans, who led the organization for the last ten years.

About Hilltop Artists

Established in 1994 with the help of Dale Chihuly, Hilltop Artists is a 501(c)3 non-profit, tuition-free glass arts program that provides classes and individualized instruction to over 650 students, ages 12 to 20, each year. Through the program, young people have an opportunity to learn the art of glassblowing, mosaics, fused glass and beadwork. Hilltop Artists serves a diverse group of youth and is especially effective with young people who are searching for ways to connect and belong.

Hilltop Artists mission “Using glass arts to connect young people from diverse cultural and economic backgrounds to better futures.”

About Dr. Kimberly Keith

Kimberly Keith is a Tacoma native who has worked in the arts and culture sector since 1992. Kimberly earned her PhD in Sociology at Goldsmiths, University of London, researching how US and UK museum practitioners develop and engage diverse audiences in relation to disparate organizational cultures and strategic policies. She also holds a Master of Non-Profit Leadership from Seattle University and a BA from The Evergreen State College with a focus on art history and studio art.  Kimberly worked in museums developing and delivering educational programs, most specifically for at-risk youth and diverse audiences, at the Children’s Museum of Seattle and the Museum of Glass in Tacoma. She is a Trustee on the board of Black Cultural Archives in the Brixton area of south London, and served on its capital project board to raise 7 million pounds to build the UK’s first national black heritage center, which opened in July of 2014. She has curated many exhibitions of contemporary and archival photography, including Staying Power: Photographs of Black British Experience, 1950-1990s, which was the culminating activity of a seven-year collaborative project between Black Cultural Archives and the Victoria & Albert Museum. Kimberly serves on the Bridge Builders Advocacy Group at Oasis Youth Center and is a weekly volunteer in Oasis’ drop in program.

For more information on Hilltop Artists and this leadership transition, please visit the

Hilltop Artists website.

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