Robert Arthur Canales
City: Whittier City
Position Seeking: Councilmember
Question 1: Please share the most meaningful arts and cultural experience you had growing up.
The most meaningful experience I had was actually toward the end of high school. My family was impoverished and had no money for pretty much anything. It was only on very rare occasions we went to museums.
In high school I joined the choir because I needed a performing arts class and I kind of sucked in the band class a couple of years previously. I must say I preferred the choir because it was more engaging, allowing me to use my voice. We also did actual concerts in the community.
Question 2: What do you think should be the role of City Council in the development and support of the region’s arts and cultural infrastructure?
The City Council should fund the arts and promote greater multiculturalism. In Whittier we have a fund that we have a street banner program that gives money to people who win a banner contest. We also have photography and painting contests. We have extensive programs for this area in Whittier and they have been very successful.
I am very supportive of these programs because they make give our city a higher quality of life. I look forward to continuing the funding of them and other programs that may come up in the future.
Question 3: What’s your vision for the city? What role, if any, does art and culture play in achieving that vision?
I am looking for the revitalization of our city. One area we are working on is the Uptown Business district. Our city has hired consultants for the purpose of renovating and beautifying the area to make it more attractive to shoppers. The current plans will incorporate both art and culture. We will be redoing our streets, our sidewalks, benches and new art will be installed along Greenleaf.
In addition to this we have many Asian and Mexican restaurants, some with live entertainment, in the area with more scheduled to open.
Questions 4: A recent report by the Otis College of Design found that 1 in every 7 jobs in LA County is supports the creative sector and economy in Los Angeles County. What strategies, if any, would you pursue to enhance the region’s creative economy (i.e. cultural tourism, indirect and direct jobs, nonprofit and for profit organizations)?
What I am promoting for my city is cultural tourism We have a history and a set of values as a community that dates back to our founding There have been conversations about marketing our city as a cultural tourism destination I am also promoting a cultural exchange between our city and a city in northern Spain as part of a trade mission to that country that will put Whittier on the map of international trade I am in fact organizing a trip to Spain for this October which include visiting the historic cathedrals of the area.