Marion native Chris Kennedy and his wife Kim are retiring to be with family on the southern Mississippi coast, but will help perpetuate a family legacy in Marion, Indiana, through the Kennedy Art Center. The Kennedy family long ago built a foundation around the arts in which Chris and Kim hope to honor. After a long search, the family worked with BDP Real Estate to purchase the first and lower level of 326 S. Washington St., and the Kennedy Art Center opened in May of 2023.
“The K.A.C. was a calling. A collaboration. It’s a place where people can come together, and arts organizations can have a home,” said Chris. “We knew we would eventually retire to Mississippi to be with our two daughters and their families, but didn’t know how it would happen. In October of 2022, the opportunity came forth to sell our family countertop manufacturing and cabinet distribution business, Hartson-Kennedy, to a longtime supplier, the Formica Corporation and their parent, Broadview Holding. It’s a dream come true. We can now all be together, while the legacy in homage to my family can live on.”
Chris was born and raised in Marion, and Kim was born and raised in Biloxi, MS, where the two met and were married. Both share the Catholic faith. Therefore, upon moving to Indiana to be near Chris’ family, they resided in Noblesville to raise their daughters in the Catholic school system through graduation. Over the years, Chris and Kim were highly involved in their church, St. Louis de Montfort in Fishers, and their daughters’ schools, Our Lady of Grace Elementary and Guerin Catholic High School in Noblesville. Now the daughters are grown with husbands and kids of their own, and reside in the Ocean Springs, Mississippi area.
Chris and Kim have let their faith lead them to serve in numerous ways in and around Marion. Chris has served on the board of the Community Foundation of Grant County, and in 2019 honored the request of Mayor Jess Alumbaugh to initiate and lead the Marion Arts Commission from its infancy through May of this year. He and Kim together have supported various other groups such as Radiant Health, the United Way of Grant County, Hope City, and more. For the past seven years, the couple has been instrumental in carrying forth the nonprofit mission of a Rwandan genocide survivor and helping refugee families. Utilizing her nursing career background, Kim has volunteered at their daughters’ schools, and has helped families which connected them with the Rwandan refugee.
Chris said they have been blessed to be a part of the community. “We not only want to carry on my family’s legacy, but help Marion serve and grow as a vibrant welcoming community.”