A Letter from our Board President

Dear Friends, Partners, and Community Members,

It is my honor to announce that the Hilltop Artists Board of Directors has appointed Dr. Kimberly Keith as our new Executive Director.

Kimberly brings to the position a wealth of experience and a longstanding commitment to arts and youth. She has developed programs for young people from diverse backgrounds and has deep roots in the Tacoma community, including attending our very own Jason Lee Middle School. As a child, she fell in love with art and has made it an important thread throughout her career. As a self-described “at-risk youth,” Kimberly saw first-hand how mentorship in the arts could make a difference in a student’s social and academic success.

While at the Seattle Children’s Museum and Tacoma’s Museum of Glass, Kimberly developed intentional programming for underserved youth. Kimberly has also traveled far – earning a PhD in sociology and working on the Black Cultural Archives in London – but she looks forward to being at Hilltop Artists where she can share her skills and knowledge in service of her beloved community.

We invite you to join us in welcoming Kimberly, whose first official day was May 1st.

Warmest regards,
Angel Blanford
Board President, Hilltop Artists

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“I am very excited to be the Executive Director at Hilltop Artists. This position will allow me to utilize my full range of personal and professional skills and give back to the community that has given me so much.”
– Dr. Kimberly Keith

Bio for Dr. Kimberly Keith


Kimberly Keith was born and raised on the Hilltop in Tacoma and once upon a time she was a student at Jason Lee Junior High (now Middle School) – so she is very excited to step into the role of Executive Director at Hilltop Artists and give back to a school and a community that has given so much to her. After graduating from Stadium – go Tigers! – she earned a BA from The Evergreen State College with a focus on art history and studio art. She began working at the Children’s Museum of Seattle in 1992, developing and delivering educational programs, most specifically for at-risk youth and diverse audiences, who resided in public housing. She then moved to the Museum of Glass in 2001, where she developed the Remann Hall Women’s Project (which was the origin point of Hilltop Artists’ Arts Connect program) and several other education programs.

Kimberly went on to earn a Master of Non-Profit Leadership from Seattle University in 2004, moved to London in 2005, and in 2011 she 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. As the first person in her immediate family to go to college, she took that opportunity seriously and pursued education to its fullest extent – which is a value she hopes to nurture in the youth at Hilltop Artists.

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. She loves to travel– exploring museums from the Pergamon in Berlin to the Museum of the Antiquities in Cairo, checking out historic sites like the Parthenon in Athens and a Troglodyte home in Tataouine, Tunisia, and eating everything from haggis in Scotland to fresh Buffalo mozzarella in Italy to jellied eels in London. She enjoys walking on Ruston way with her English Bulldog, Lilly.