Ira Ganjikunta, 6, works on a painting at her Redmond home. CATHERINE KRUMMEY/Kirkland Reporter

Six-year-old Bob Ross-inspired painter to have exhibit at Kirkland Arts Center

  • Friday, April 14, 2017 6:30am
  • Life

For the last year, 6-year-old Ira Ganjikunta has been painting artwork that those beyond her age would struggle to complete.

She makes three paintings a week on average, and the Redmond resident is gearing up for her first show, “Expressions by Ira,” to be held at the Kirkland Arts Center (KAC) later this month.

Ganjikunta, who is a first grader at Albert Einstein Elementary School in Redmond, is looking forward to the exhibit.

“I’m feeling kind of excited and kind of nervous,” she said, adding she’s happy to have the support of her family and friends.

All proceeds from the show, which will be held from 5 to 8 p.m. April 29, will go to support Ekal Vidhyalaya, a non-profit organization that brings basic education to rural areas in India.

“I need to help people,” Ganjikunta said of the decision to have the proceeds go to a charity.

While painting classes were originally her mother’s idea, Ganjikunta has clearly taken a liking to the hobby, and she is now able to paint from her own memory and imagination without copying another piece from a book.

“How she does waterfalls is just so beautiful,” Haritha Kamakoti, Ganjikunta’s mother, said as she watched her daughter paint.

Ganjikunta’s painting instructor, Sweety Saradha, is also one of her biggest fans and said she plans to be one of the people who buys one of the 60 paintings in the upcoming exhibit at the KAC.

“It’s really fun to teach her,” Saradha said. “(The art show) is a really proud moment for me.”

Under Saradha’s instruction, Ganjikunta has become a Bob Ross-certified painter. The requirements for this certification include re-creating four Ross paintings as guided by a Bob Ross-certified instructor, which Saradha is.

More information about the one-night show at the KAC can be found online at

In consideration of how we voice our opinions in the modern world, we’ve closed comments on our websites. We value the opinions of our readers and we encourage you to keep the conversation going.

Please feel free to share your story tips by emailing

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 300 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it.

Ira Ganjikunta, 6, works on a painting at her Redmond home. CATHERINE KRUMMEY/Kirkland Reporter

Ira Ganjikunta, 6, works on a painting at her Redmond home. CATHERINE KRUMMEY/Kirkland Reporter

Ira Ganjikunta, 6, works on a painting at her Redmond home. CATHERINE KRUMMEY/Kirkland Reporter

Haritha Kamakoti holds up the canvas as her daughter, Ira Ganjikunta, 6, puts the finishing touches on a painting at their Redmond home. CATHERINE KRUMMEY/Kirkland Reporter

Ira Ganjikunta, 6, talks about the different colors of paint she uses. CATHERINE KRUMMEY / Kirkland Reporter

Ira Ganjikunta, 6, works on a painting at her Redmond home. CATHERINE KRUMMEY/Kirkland Reporter

More in Life

Local musicians hold virtual benefit concert for mental health

The stream-a-thon supports NAMI Eastside and nonprofit Hold Your Crown

Is it safe to go to the dentist?

What precautions are dentists taking to protect patients?

Little Bit riding center in Redmond counting on upcoming virtual fundraiser

The 35th annual Reins of Life Gala Auction is going virtual this year, including an online auction, raise the paddle and online event.

Medic One Foundation’s Gratitude Meals offer support to first responders, local businesses

The initiative provides hearty lunches to first responders staffing the COVID-19 testing sites as they work to test their colleagues.

UW students create Spira app to gather COVID-19 data

The app was created to screen for respiratory diseases but the teen creators shifted their focus once the COVID-19 outbreak began.

Redmond Middle School student raises money for low-income families

Om Shah, 13, created a GoFundMe to support the Seattle Foundation’s COVID-19 Response Fund.

‘Don’t assume it can’t happen to you’

Federal Way resident Evelyn Allcorn shares story of her husband’s battle with COVID-19 after he tested positive on March 28.

Savannah Lynn and Will Chadek in the Second Story Repertory of Redmond’s production of “The Fantasticks.” “The Fantasticks” had been performed three times by the organization until coronavirus concerns resulted in the cancellation of the remaining dates. Photo by Michael Brunk
How is the coronavirus affecting the arts?

Representatives from Eastside arts institutions discuss their experiences.

Madison Miller/staff photo
                                Aleana Roberts tries out the Jelly Jolts’ braille menu at Molly Moon’s on Feb. 23. From left: Roberts, Sanj Saini, Varnika Bhargava and Katiali Singh.
LWSD teens reveal braille menu at Molly Moon’s in Redmond

From 3-5 p.m. on Feb. 23, all sales from Molly Moon’s went to the Lighthouse for the Blind.

Standing room only at historical talk on Redmond’s ties to fascism

Redmond Historical Society presents latest installment of Saturday Speaker Series.

Making a human connection in a sea of social media

A monthly health column about natural medicine.