Allied Arts of Yakima Valley going away for good

YAKIMA, Wash. -- A blow to the community: one of Yakima's leading players in the arts is going away for good. After five decades, Allied Arts will cease to exist. KIMA learned what led to its downfall.

For Allied Arts, the curtains have closed. The board of directors decided to dissolve the organization.

Thomas Botkin is a local sculptor.

"I think it's a huge loss for the community," Botkin said.

Allied Arts has been losing money for years. Its Gilbert Park headquarters sits abandoned, deemed uninhabitable by architects.

"Something that we could not overcome," said board president Meredith Bruch. "It has a lot of structural problems and has cost of lot of money."

Bruch says the building was only one of many problems. Allied Arts went through four executive directors in three years. That disrupted operations and undermined donor confidence.

The organization also lacked the financial systems needed to keep operations running smoothly.

"I feel saddened," said Bruch. "I feel anxious. I've had a lot of sleepless nights thinking about this."

Local supporters of the arts share her sadness.

"It's woven into the fabric of this community," said Botkin. "And, for it to be gone, there's a hole there."

A hole that is half a century deep. Once filled by spontaneous art displays and a traveling arts center for children. Allied Arts helped create Millennium Plaza and launched the Fresh Hop Ale Festival.

A lot of its art collection now sits in the Yakima Valley Museum. Museum director Jon Baule says it will be tough to fill the void.

"Extremely saddened. Certainly, they have done much to further the arts and the arts education in this community."

A mantle now left to a new generation to find ways to explore.

Bruch says the organization has enough assets left to pay its outstanding debts, which total about $50,000. Two employees are still on the job for now. Their last day is Friday.