LA County: Fifth District
Position Seeking: Supervisor
Question 1: What do you believe the role of the County Board of Supervisors should be in the development of the region’s cultural infrastructure?
County Supervisors should be leaders and facilitators in developing the county’s cultural infrastructure. Cultural infrastructure facilities and activities have a positive effect on the regional added value as well as the county’s image and identity, which in turn have a positive impact on the location’s attractiveness and competitiveness of the region.
Question 2: The County Board of Supervisors has a history of supporting Arts Education through its Arts for All initiative. As Supervisor, how would you address the need of all public school students to receive a well-rounded education that includes quality arts education instruction?
As someone who has studied the arts (performing arts) for a number of years, I understand the importance and significance of the arts in education. In partnership with my wife, I started a performing arts program at my daughter’s public school that has become part of that school’s curriculum. It is not an elective, it requires full participation of every student and every student eventually performs on stage. Our performing arts teachers follow teaching guidelines, facilitating the children’s understanding of the importance of performance in their daily lives. The skills they develop to perform on stage are also skills that will help them to succeed in life (learning how to present themselves, public speaking, critical thinking, teamwork, body language, etc.) and regardless of the child, the process builds immense confidence. Children who have never been on stage, discover new strengths and potentially a new activity they continue to explore. It reaches children who might otherwise never be able to participate in activities such as this due to economics or disabilities. We’ve seen major positive changes in school project presentations as a result of the skills the children have developed through this program. We have seen children continue to study the performing arts outside of school. We specialize in performing arts but it is this kind of critical thinking, creativity, and exploration of surroundings that is in the depths of all arts, including visual and music. Arts should always be at the forefront of education.
Question 3: In light of the County’s Cultural Equity and Inclusion Initiative, how would you address issues of inclusion, equity, and diversity in the region’s nonprofit cultural arts sector?
The Cultural Equity and Inclusion Initiative is a great step in addressing inclusion, equity, and diversity in the arts. Additional steps to take would be: 1) ensuring diverse leadership on arts councils, boards, committees: we need to change the thinking and representation of arts leadership. There is still prejudice and stereotyping, assuming certain groups of people can’t perform as well as their white counterparts in particular areas; 2) start targeting at the school level, ensuring children of all backgrounds get access to not only art activities but art education; 3) reach out to churches where music is of major importance to many cultures and help develop a relationship with leading art programs.
Questions 4: As Supervisor, how would you approach the development of a regional approach to cultural tourism?
Cultural tourism is a large and fast growing area of tourism, translating into potential major economic growth. To begin developing cultural tourism, the first step needs to be identifying the various local rituals and routines, unique experiences in which travelers can be immersed while visiting our region. Our county consists of many natural and manmade cultural sites that make Los Angeles unique. Identifying and creating connections between these offerings, establishing tours and experiences that are interactive and authentic.