Spring 2015 Arts & Culture Candidate Surveys: Los Angeles Unified School Board District 3

Spring 2015 Arts & Culture Candidate Surveys: Los Angeles Unified School Board District 3

Candidate order: Elizabeth Badger Bartels, Tamar Galatzan, Filiberto Gonzalez, Ankur Patel, Carl J. Petersen, Scott Mark Schmerelson

As part of its work to connect voters and candidates, Arts for LA presents these Arts & Culture Candidate Surveys to promote dialogue around issues related to arts education and its benefits.

Survey responses provided by each candidate are for voter information purposes only. Arts for LA does not endorse candidates seeking office. We are committed to fostering respectful, nonpartisan dialogue about issues relating to arts and culture. For more information, please read about our mission and values or our FAQ.

All eligible candidates were contacted to participate in the survey. If you would like to submit new or revise existing responses, please contact Cristina Pacheco at advocate@artsforla.org or 213-225-7580.

The Actors Fund, KCET Artbound, California Alliance for Arts Education, LA2050, LA STAGE Alliance, Latino Arts Network, Otis College of Art and Design, and the Social & Public Art Resource Center (SPARC) served as Regional Partners by promoting Arts & Culture Candidate Surveys throughout Los Angeles County.

Voting for Los Angeles Unified School Board District 3 will be held on Tuesday, March 3.

1 seat is available in this election. Elections are at large; voters may vote for any of the eligible candidates in this election.

For more information on where to vote, visit the Los Angeles County Clerk/Registrar-Recorder’s Office website.

Question 1: Tell us about a meaningful experience you had with art (visual, dance, drama, music) while growing up? (Approximately 75-100 words)

I was raised on a farm, where art was certainly not part of my experience. However, in high school, as one of my elected classes, I joined a Drama classes which gave me an escape from a world that was not my reality. I am not sure whether it led to more educational successes, but it did lead to a more confidence-building and finding and appreciating my own voice.

Growing up, I was the most untalented of kids. I couldn’t sing or read music. I’d take a couple of dance classes or a drawing lesson or two, then would be unenrolled when my lack of potential became apparent. This was very frustrating because, having gotten a taste of the arts, I knew what I was missing. Because of this experience, I can identify with LAUSD students who want an outlet for their creativity but don’t have access to the classes. My eldest son, who is like me in many ways, has discovered an affinity for animation that he’s pursuing at an LAUSD middle school. I can’t help but wonder if I could have had the same aptitude if I’d had the same opportunities.

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I did some theater in 3rd grade which I greatly enjoyed; it gave me a different perspective on my classmates and helped build strong relationships. While most of my middle and high school extracurricular energy was invested in Baseball, in hind sight, I wish I had spent more time with the arts. In grad school I embraced poetry as a creative outlet and utilized it regularly to discuss complex issues and build bridges between groups that were dealing with similar issues, but seldom reached out to one another.

I was the child in your school who had trouble fitting in, both socially and academically. When my mother signed me up for drum lessons in the third grade, she gave me a pathway out of my ostracization. Playing the drums gave me a voice; they were loud and allowed me to project beyond my shyness. They built my self-confidence; I may have failed on the athletic field, but playing music was something that I excelled at. Most appropriate to this conversation, they kept my interest in school. No matter what the struggle, band class was a welcome respite.

As a child I was always fascinated with music, especially foreign music. When I began to take foreign language classes in school, I was even more interested in improving my foreign language skills to better understand the musical lyrics. This combination took me to the wonderful world of operas and operettas. I would listen to the music and follow the lyrics with the librettos. I still have that love of music. As a school principal, I always had music playing in the morning as children and teachers arrived. What a difference it made in their attitude and sweetened the start of their day. Both children and adults would compliment me for brightening the start of their day.

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Question 2: What role do you think creativity can play in supporting key priorities of the district, such as reducing the drop out rate, closing the achievement gap, and preparing more students for college eligibility and/or meaningful careers? (Approximately 75-100 words)

Children who struggle with academics find that art build not only their academic success, but their overall confidence. Confidence certainly can lead to successes in other areas of their lives including education and overall life structure.

We encourage our children to use their imaginations when they’re babies and toddlers because we know that creative play supports their learning and development. That is why it is vital that creativity becomes an essential element of teaching and learning in every one of our schools. A student is more likely to be interested in a lesson enlivened by music, or engaged in an assignment that requires video skills. A classmate may struggle academically but find success when inspired by a theater or dance teacher. Helping a student find satisfaction or even passion for a subject is key to helping them succeed. By encouraging creativity, we are teaching our students to innovate, explore and achieve their potential.

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Creativity, especially performance and visual arts is essential to meeting the district’s key priorities. Having creative outlets for students has been proven to help with learning STEM skills. Nurturing creativity is crucial to reducing the drop-out rate because it gives students a reason to come to and stay on campus. It’s no secret that having a broad array of interests and skill sets helps in applying for and getting accepted to quality schools. While playing in band may not translate directly to music careers, the discipline one develops while learning to play an instrument or adapting to abrupt changes does.

Too often we forget what makes America great. While our iPhones may be manufactured in China, they are "Designed by Apple in California." To maintain our place in the world, we need to encourage development of our students’ creativity. Too often the LAUSD forgets that all students are not college bound and have dreams that involve the arts and vocational skills. Prioritizing academics to the exclusion of these other subjects leaves them feeling that the education system does not apply to them and makes them vulnerable to dropping out.

Most students need a hook to stay in school and succeed. For some it is sports. For others it is the music, art, dance and drama that hooks a student to stay in school and have a reason for coming to school each day. As principal at Lawrence MS I supported our award winning band and drama programs. At Cochran MS I modernized our piano laboratory and bought new instruments for our orchestra class. Cochran MS students were low income and really needed my support to maintain those two essential electives.

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Question 3: Los Angeles USD district has embarked on an initiative to restore meaningful sequential arts education into its core curriculum. What do you feel are the strengths and the weaknesses of the plan? (Approximately 75-100 words)

Research supports that enrichment in art education can boost a child's interest in school, educational enhancement and overall leadership skills. Art education can be instrumental in providing a well-rounded education, as well as a balanced life structure.

We’re fortunate to have Rory Pullens as the chief executive and top advocate for our arts education program. With only limited funding available, Rory is relying on outside partners to offer the arts to underserved students and train teachers to integrate arts into their daily lessons. Money will always be tight, but he is working to provide arts access to all students and an “equity index” to help ensure that no one is overlooked.

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I feel that the spirit of the initiative is in the right place, but the implementation strategy and budget is insufficient. Giving $150,000 to the Music Center, to train 20 teachers at 5 schools on integrating arts into the curriculum is just not enough to make the dramatic changes we need. If we’re going bring back arts in a meaningful way, we need far more arts teachers and classes and fewer administrators.

If a tree is chopped down to print a plan and nobody reads it, is it really a plan?The arts are a subject that is rarely mentioned in district discussions. I looked the plan up on the district’s web site and it was dated June 14, 2013. Ironically, this was about the time when the band program was disappearing from my child’s middle school. Maybe it is for the best. I distrust any arts plan that includes “systematic data collection.” The funds spent to create this plan should have been used to hire a few music teachers.

Arts education is as essential to our students' education as their prescribed academic subjects. This plan will greatly help the district in its financial position because the increased number of students attending will bolster the ADA earned. A meaningful plan will also return many students to district schools from private and charter schools. This too will help the district in its financial woes. The best part is that everyone wins with this plan.

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Question 4: How can your district make the Los Angeles USD arts education plan, and its progress on the plan, more visible to parents and leaders in your community? (Approximately 75-100 words)

District can develop partnerships with the parents and community to make Art Education more viable and successful. It can do this by collaborating with performing arts organizations, civic leaders and the music and TV industry. Radio/TV/Film industries are always looking to partner with schools to enhance not only the children's education, but their industry visibility in the community.

Since I was first elected to the school board in 2007, I’ve regularly held town hall meetings on a variety of issues, including the Common Core to LCFF. The new arts education plan fits neatly into this format, with the opportunity for our teachers and students to share and showcase their accomplishments for the audience.

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If elected I will make transparency and visibility of all LAUSD plans a top priority. I will reach out to parent groups, neighborhood councils and through new and classic media to bring as many interested parties into the discussion as possible. There are too many information silos in local government, especially LAUSD. As a full-time board member I will regularly send out reports and infographics to foster discussions and solicit input. I will make it a point to recruit students and challenge them to come up with creative and informative ways of discussing what is going on with their school district.

I entered this race because the LAUSD has lost touch with the students they serve and the parents and teachers who represent them. In my case, they forced me to fight for the special education services that my children’s teachers agreed they needed. However, this is indicative of the top-down approach the district uses to manage it’s schools. As a Board member I will set up advisory panels that will not only keep me updated on the issues facing the district’s stakeholders, but will also be useful in disseminating information back to the students, parents and teachers of the district.

I made sure that in every school in which I was an administrator, there was an active parent center. I am happy to say that my parent centers were used as models in the district. My parent leaders and I were invited to address local district meanings and present how to have an effective parent center operate. The word goes out to the community via the parent centers regarding the arts education program. The parents themselves are the best cheerleaders for the program. They can offer personal stories to other parents about the success achieved through arts education.

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Question 5: In light of the new funding structure for school districts in the state (i.e. the Local Control Funding Formula), how do you see arts education aligning with the eight new priority areas? (Approximately 75-100)

Arts education certain aligns with the goals of LCCF/LCAP as it can lead to increase success in closing the academic gap, not only for LCCF targets, but overall community. As stated earlier, studies support that art education can lead to lasting academic success and a well-rounded education alignment in life.

Whether offered as a stand-alone course or incorporated into another subject, music, drama, dance and the visual arts encourage and inspire students to succeed. The arts can be used to teach Common Core lessons in literacy, analysis and even math, and to promote collaboration and team-building skills that are at the heart of the program. Events like concerts and exhibits promote both student and parent engagement while enhancing the learning environment of the campus.

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As the school funding philosophy shifts from “equality to justice”, it’s important that we remember all our schools need robust arts programs; everyone deserves a chance to find their voice. While it’s crucial we ensure working-class students have access to instruments and art supplies with the time and space to experiment with them, we must not abandon the middle-class families either. We need robust investment in our arts programs across the district, we’re not trying to install software onto hard drives, we’re trying to instill a love of learning for whole lives, Art is a powerful tool for achieving that edict.

Access to arts education is essential for maintaining student engagement, especially for students who struggle through their academic courses but whose interests are sparked by artistic endeavors. “Research has found that learning music facilitates learning other subjects and enhances skills that children inevitably use in other areas,” improving student achievement. We need to recognize that standardized tests cannot be used to measure creativity and find other ways to measure other student outcomes. Course accesses should be expanded to include studies in art and vocational skills. Barriers to parent involvement and participation, like charging admission to student recitals, should be banned.

Arts education is essential for students to remain in school, succeed academically and become our new leaders. Arts education is related to all of the eight priority areas. It will provide to our students fully credentialed teachers, it will flow through the academic standards, have the community involved, improve achievement, engage the students in an area of interest, lower discipline problems, have classes that will lead to careers and of course improve student outcomes.

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Spring 2015 Arts & Culture Candidate Surveys: Los Angeles Unified School Board District 1

Spring 2015 Arts & Culture Candidate Surveys: Los Angeles Unified School Board District 1

Candidate order: George McKenna

As part of its work to connect voters and candidates, Arts for LA presents these Arts & Culture Candidate Surveys to promote dialogue around issues related to arts education and its benefits.

Survey responses provided by each candidate are for voter information purposes only. Arts for LA does not endorse candidates seeking office. We are committed to fostering respectful, nonpartisan dialogue about issues relating to arts and culture. For more information, please read about our mission and values or our FAQ.

All eligible candidates were contacted to participate in the survey. If you would like to submit new or revise existing responses, please contact Cristina Pacheco at advocate@artsforla.org or 213-225-7580.

The Actors Fund, KCET Artbound, California Alliance for Arts Education, LA2050, LA STAGE Alliance, Latino Arts Network, Otis College of Art and Design, and the Social & Public Art Resource Center (SPARC) served as Regional Partners by promoting Arts & Culture Candidate Surveys throughout Los Angeles County.

Voting for Los Angeles Unified School Board District 1 will be held on Tuesday, March 3.

1 seat is available in this election. Elections are at large; voters may vote for any of the eligible candidates in this election.

For more information on where to vote, visit the Los Angeles County Clerk/Registrar-Recorder’s Office website.

Question 1: Tell us about a meaningful experience you had with art (visual, dance, drama, music) while growing up? (Approximately 75-100 words)

As a child I was a violinist and played in several orchestras including the Xavier University concert orchestra while I was still in elementary school. I also attended numerous classical operas and plays presented by the University. I have enjoyed all forms of music and was exposed to various musical genres in the New Orleans cultural community. As a high school student, I participated in the drama club and performed in several productions as a primary character. I am a self-taught piano player who currently enjoys playing for myself. My appreciation for the arts has been lifelong.

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Question 2: What role do you think creativity can play in supporting key priorities of the district, such as reducing the drop out rate, closing the achievement gap, and preparing more students for college eligibility and/or meaningful careers? (Approximately 75-100 words)

Many students who struggle with academic achievement come to school for the arts and sports. It is the art teachers’ and coaches’ classes where they find ways to participate successfully. I remember as a principal kids that would ditch other classes but show up for their art class. We know how the arts enrich the lives of our children and practicing the arts builds talent, confidence and cultural enrichment. The arts strengthen our children’s academic achievement and they gain not only an appreciation of arts but for learning as well.

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Question 3: Los Angeles USD district has embarked on an initiative to restore meaningful sequential arts education into its core curriculum. What do you feel are the strengths and the weaknesses of the plan? (Approximately 75-100 words)

The District needs to be applauded for embarking on an initiative to restore the arts. In the global workforce, creativity, innovation and competitiveness will be abilities that are greatly sought after. Including visual and performing arts as part of our P-12 core curriculum will ensure our students have the knowledge and experience that an art essential component brings to teaching and learning. It will help our students think unconventionally and use their imaginations in life and the workforce.

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Question 4: How can your district make the Los Angeles USD arts education plan, and its progress on the plan, more visible to parents and leaders in your community? (Approximately 75-100 words)

Collaborating with parents and the community will be essential. It takes a village means that the museums, performing arts venues, the music and motion picture industry and civil and other leaders should all be part of the planning. There are many opportunities for communities to come together and share in the development and the experiences that the arts bring to a school, neighborhood, and city.

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Question 5: In light of the new funding structure for school districts in the state (i.e. the Local Control Funding Formula), how do you see arts education aligning with the eight new priority areas? (Approximately 75-100)

There is a direct connection between art education and the priority areas for funding. Art education inclusion can enhance the quality of the LCAP plan with the expectation that the programs and services provided under the new funding include curriculums that increase students’ engagement and achievement.

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Spring 2015 Arts & Culture Candidate Surveys: Los Angeles City Council District 14

Spring 2015 Arts & Culture Candidate Surveys: Los Angeles City Council District 14

Candidate order: Mario Chavez, Nadine Momoyo Diaz, Jose Huizar, Gloria Molina, John O'Niell

As part of its work to connect voters and candidates, Arts for LA presents these Arts & Culture Candidate Surveys to promote dialogue around issues related to arts education and its benefits.

Survey responses provided by each candidate are for voter information purposes only. Arts for LA does not endorse candidates seeking office. We are committed to fostering respectful, nonpartisan dialogue about issues relating to arts and culture. For more information, please read about our mission and values or our FAQ.

All eligible candidates were contacted to participate in the survey. If you would like to submit new or revise existing responses, please contact Cristina Pacheco at advocate@artsforla.org or 213-225-7580.

Voting for Los Angeles City Council District 14 will be held on Tuesday, March 3.

1 seat is available in this election. Elections are at large; voters may vote for any of the eligible candidates in this election.

For more information on where to vote, visit the Los Angeles County Clerk/Registrar-Recorder’s Office website.

Question 1: What was the most meaningful arts and cultural experience you had growing up?

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My Nana Marie Diaz introduced me to art, dance, writing and music as a child growing up in Boyle Heights. Her small and quaint home was complete with a piano, an organ, mandolin, clarinet, guitars, tambourine, flute, bass, bongos and several drum sets. Nana Diaz created a little work station in the living room for me. A little corner of the world with crayons, water colors, finger-paints, pencils, coloring books, paper and pens. It was a place I stayed content for hours while she took care of me from ages 2 to 6.

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Question 2: What do you believe the role of City Council should be in the development and support of the region's cultural infrastructure?

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The role of City Council is to embrace all cultures and people equally with an appreciation and understanding for identity, culture, art and connection to music, dance, poetry, literature and food. Because of my unique background of being Japanese and Mexican (Yaqui/Basque) American, it is important for me to recognize, respect, acknowledge and celebrate the cultural diversity of the City since that is what living in Los Angeles is all about. Angelenos represent the world...

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Question 3: How would you champion modifications to, or expansion of, the city's current funding stream for local arts and culture?

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As councilwoman of CD 14, I will seek private and public funding for the arts, cultural preservation and the creation of legislation to support all forms of art at the local level. Private monies from all resources such as philanthropists, celebrities, artists, actors, filmmakers and others to build a strong and thriving empire of art that attracts people from all over the world. Dialogue with those already interested and immersed in the local arts and culture to create a plan that includes a solid and continuous funding stream.

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Question 4: What three things would you do to deepen the city's investment in its creative economy (cultural tourism, indirect and direct jobs, nonprofit and for profit)?

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The City of Los Angeles is the mecca of art, culture, television, music, media, entertainment and film-making. It is important to implement a program that creates innovative business opportunities in these areas. Network, establish and build a collaboration of people, artists, neighborhoods, schools, institutions, foundations, organizations (for profit/nonprofit), philanthropists, celebrities, businesses; large and small to contribute and advocate for the advancement of the arts throughout City of Los Angeles. Create and develop policies to define and establish direct jobs and indirect jobs associated with the arts and the entertainment industry.

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Spring 2015 Arts & Culture Candidate Surveys: Los Angeles City Council District 12

Spring 2015 Arts & Culture Candidate Surveys: Los Angeles City Council District 12

Candidate order: Mitchell Englander, Daniel Garcia

As part of its work to connect voters and candidates, Arts for LA presents these Arts & Culture Candidate Surveys to promote dialogue around issues related to arts education and its benefits.

Survey responses provided by each candidate are for voter information purposes only. Arts for LA does not endorse candidates seeking office. We are committed to fostering respectful, nonpartisan dialogue about issues relating to arts and culture. For more information, please read about our mission and values or our FAQ.

All eligible candidates were contacted to participate in the survey. If you would like to submit new or revise existing responses, please contact Cristina Pacheco at advocate@artsforla.org or 213-225-7580.

Voting for Los Angeles City Council District 12 will be held on Tuesday, March 3.

1 seat is available in this election. Elections are at large; voters may vote for any of the eligible candidates in this election.

For more information on where to vote, visit the Los Angeles County Clerk/Registrar-Recorder’s Office website.

Question 1: What was the most meaningful arts and cultural experience you had growing up?

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Question 2: What do you believe the role of City Council should be in the development and support of the region's cultural infrastructure?

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Question 3: How would you champion modifications to, or expansion of, the city's current funding stream for local arts and culture?

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Question 4: What three things would you do to deepen the city's investment in its creative economy (cultural tourism, indirect and direct jobs, nonprofit and for profit)?

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Spring 2015 Arts & Culture Candidate Surveys: Los Angeles City Council District 10

Spring 2015 Arts & Culture Candidate Surveys: Los Angeles City Council District 10

Candidate order: Delaney "Doc" Smith, Melvin Snell, Herb Wesson, Grace Yoo

As part of its work to connect voters and candidates, Arts for LA presents these Arts & Culture Candidate Surveys to promote dialogue around issues related to arts education and its benefits.

Survey responses provided by each candidate are for voter information purposes only. Arts for LA does not endorse candidates seeking office. We are committed to fostering respectful, nonpartisan dialogue about issues relating to arts and culture. For more information, please read about our mission and values or our FAQ.

All eligible candidates were contacted to participate in the survey. If you would like to submit new or revise existing responses, please contact Cristina Pacheco at advocate@artsforla.org or 213-225-7580.

Voting for Los Angeles City Council District 10 will be held on Tuesday, March 3.

1 seat is available in this election. Elections are at large; voters may vote for any of the eligible candidates in this election.

For more information on where to vote, visit the Los Angeles County Clerk/Registrar-Recorder’s Office website.

Question 1: What was the most meaningful arts and cultural experience you had growing up?

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Question 2: What do you believe the role of City Council should be in the development and support of the region's cultural infrastructure?

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Question 3: How would you champion modifications to, or expansion of, the city's current funding stream for local arts and culture?

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Question 4: What three things would you do to deepen the city's investment in its creative economy (cultural tourism, indirect and direct jobs, nonprofit and for profit)?

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Spring 2015 Arts & Culture Candidate Surveys: Los Angeles City Council District 8

Spring 2015 Arts & Culture Candidate Surveys: Los Angeles City Council District 8

Candidate order: Bobbie Jean Anderson, Robert Cole, Marqueece Harris-Dawson, Forescee Hogan

As part of its work to connect voters and candidates, Arts for LA presents these Arts & Culture Candidate Surveys to promote dialogue around issues related to arts education and its benefits.

Survey responses provided by each candidate are for voter information purposes only. Arts for LA does not endorse candidates seeking office. We are committed to fostering respectful, nonpartisan dialogue about issues relating to arts and culture. For more information, please read about our mission and values or our FAQ.

All eligible candidates were contacted to participate in the survey. If you would like to submit new or revise existing responses, please contact Cristina Pacheco at advocate@artsforla.org or 213-225-7580.

Voting for Los Angeles City Council District 8 will be held on Tuesday, March 3.

1 seat is available in this election. Elections are at large; voters may vote for any of the eligible candidates in this election.

For more information on where to vote, visit the Los Angeles County Clerk/Registrar-Recorder’s Office website.

Question 1: What was the most meaningful arts and cultural experience you had growing up?

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Question 2: What do you believe the role of City Council should be in the development and support of the region's cultural infrastructure?

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Question 3: How would you champion modifications to, or expansion of, the city's current funding stream for local arts and culture?

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Question 4: What three things would you do to deepen the city's investment in its creative economy (cultural tourism, indirect and direct jobs, nonprofit and for profit)?

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Spring 2015 Arts & Culture Candidate Surveys: Los Angeles City Council District 6

Spring 2015 Arts & Culture Candidate Surveys: Los Angeles City Council District 6

Candidate order: Nury Martinez, Cindy Montanez

As part of its work to connect voters and candidates, Arts for LA presents these Arts & Culture Candidate Surveys to promote dialogue around issues related to arts education and its benefits.

Survey responses provided by each candidate are for voter information purposes only. Arts for LA does not endorse candidates seeking office. We are committed to fostering respectful, nonpartisan dialogue about issues relating to arts and culture. For more information, please read about our mission and values or our FAQ.

All eligible candidates were contacted to participate in the survey. If you would like to submit new or revise existing responses, please contact Cristina Pacheco at advocate@artsforla.org or 213-225-7580.

Voting for Los Angeles City Council District 6 will be held on Tuesday, March 3.

1 seat is available in this election. Elections are at large; voters may vote for any of the eligible candidates in this election.

For more information on where to vote, visit the Los Angeles County Clerk/Registrar-Recorder’s Office website.

Question 1: What was the most meaningful arts and cultural experience you had growing up?

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Question 2: What do you believe the role of City Council should be in the development and support of the region's cultural infrastructure?

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Question 3: How would you champion modifications to, or expansion of, the city's current funding stream for local arts and culture?

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Question 4: What three things would you do to deepen the city's investment in its creative economy (cultural tourism, indirect and direct jobs, nonprofit and for profit)?

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Spring 2015 Arts & Culture Candidate Surveys: Los Angeles City Council District 2

Spring 2015 Arts & Culture Candidate Surveys: Los Angeles City Council District 2

Candidate order: David Hernandez, Paul Krekorian, Eric Preven

As part of its work to connect voters and candidates, Arts for LA presents these Arts & Culture Candidate Surveys to promote dialogue around issues related to arts education and its benefits.

Survey responses provided by each candidate are for voter information purposes only. Arts for LA does not endorse candidates seeking office. We are committed to fostering respectful, nonpartisan dialogue about issues relating to arts and culture. For more information, please read about our mission and values or our FAQ.

All eligible candidates were contacted to participate in the survey. If you would like to submit new or revise existing responses, please contact Cristina Pacheco at advocate@artsforla.org or 213-225-7580.

Voting for Los Angeles City Council District 2 will be held on Tuesday, March 3.

1 seat is available in this election. Elections are at large; voters may vote for any of the eligible candidates in this election.

For more information on where to vote, visit the Los Angeles County Clerk/Registrar-Recorder’s Office website.

Question 1: What was the most meaningful arts and cultural experience you had growing up?

Looking back although I did not think so at the time, listening to classical music, show tunes and a wide variety of music on Wednesday evening with the family. Now when I hear them I recall fond family memories. I also reflect back on going to plays with family and how they play such a vital role in bringing the family together in a shared experience.

I grew up in the San Fernando Valley, which always had culture, but not the fantastic public amenities we have today. One memory that I cherish was going to the Lincoln Savings Bank at the corner of Riverside Drive and Woodman. The entire seventh floor was dedicated to Abraham Lincoln, with memorabilia gathered from across the country. The lack of public options for arts and culture in the Valley, and my love of both, has led me to prioritize making the Valley a hub of culture. From public murals to museums and art galleries, the Valley has taken on a positive cultural identity.

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Question 2: What do you believe the role of City Council should be in the development and support of the region's cultural infrastructure?

Unlike many districts, the 2nd district offers a unique opportunity to expand, strengthen and establish a thriving cultural center in areas which have sat under utilized for over a decade. The Valley Plaza area which sits for the most part unoccupied is a challenge which I believe can be met with the creative community at its base.

The City Council must play a leading role. In my time on the City Council, I have done everything in my power to strengthen our cultural infrastructure. Some examples of my work are supporting and funding the citywide mural program, making the arts development fee into a program that works, directing resources to install and promote public murals, and hosting an annual film festival for LA County student filmmakers.

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Question 3: How would you champion modifications to, or expansion of, the city's current funding stream for local arts and culture?

Given the vast amounts of non directed funding streams, I believe it is not only possible but vital to focus on those projects within the creative community which have a proven tract record of success.

As chair of the Budget and Finance Committee, I have championed funding the city’s mural program, including money for restoring public murals. When the city pursues development agreements, I will work to make increasing public art a requirement when those developments happen throughout LA. The city already sponsors many cultural events, but I will look for ways to increase those opportunities by holding more cultural events in public parks and recreation centers.

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Question 4: What three things would you do to deepen the city's investment in its creative economy (cultural tourism, indirect and direct jobs, nonprofit and for profit)?

Establish a destination zone in the Valley Plaza area, Providing a venue and opportunity to all those who wish to promote their craft, teach and educate in the arts field. Establish a performing arts center serving the residents of the East San Fernando Valley.

1. As chair of the City Council’s Ad Hoc Committee on Film and TV Production Jobs, I will continue to promote film and TV production and the tens of thousands of jobs it creates in Los Angeles. 2. I will utilize Council District 2’s very rich mural infrastructure to promote more cultural tourism in the San Fernando Valley, starting with the Great Wall of Los Angeles. 3. I will find ways to bolster and enhance pedestrian, bicycle and transit access to culturally significant areas as I have done along the Los Angeles River.

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Spring 2015 Arts & Culture Candidate Surveys: Burbank Unified School District

Spring 2015 Arts & Culture Candidate Surveys: Burbank Unified School District

Candidate order: Armond Aghakhanian, Steve Ferguson, Vahe Hovanessian, Roberta Reynolds, Greg Sousa, Jesse Tangkhpanya

As part of its work to connect voters and candidates, Arts for LA presents these Arts & Culture Candidate Surveys to promote dialogue around issues related to arts education and its benefits.

Survey responses provided by each candidate are for voter information purposes only. Arts for LA does not endorse candidates seeking office. We are committed to fostering respectful, nonpartisan dialogue about issues relating to arts and culture. For more information, please read about our mission and values or our FAQ.

All eligible candidates were contacted to participate in the survey. If you would like to submit new or revise existing responses, please contact Cristina Pacheco at advocate@artsforla.org or 213-225-7580.

Arts for LA thanks the Burbank Arts for All Foundation for supporting the process as a local partner. The Actors Fund, KCET/Artbound, the California Alliance for Arts Education, LA Stage Alliance, Latino Arts Network, Otis College of Art and Design, LA2050, and the Social & Public Art Resource Center (SPARC) served as Regional Partners by promoting Arts & Culture Candidate Surveys throughout Los Angeles County.

Voting for Burbank Unified School District will be held on Tuesday, February 24.

Elections are at-large, with three seats available in this election.

For more information on where to vote, visit the Los Angeles County Clerk/Registrar-Recorder’s Office website.

Question 1: Tell us about a meaningful experience you had with art (visual, dance, drama, music) while growing up? (Approximately 75-100 words)

I come from a family of artists. Growing up, I was fortunate enough to be around arts & music all the time. My mother, a former teacher and a theater actress, made sure that I attended theater plays from a young age. As a result, this sparked my interest in theater. I have been acting in theater plays since my first play of the "Red Riding Hood". My last play was staged at Barnsdall Art Park. Our home was and continues to be filled with music, ranging from classical to jazz. I played classical piano from young age with my older sister who went on to become a much better player. In middle school, I became a member of the Melkonian School\'s choir, under the direction of the great Maestro Sebouh Apkarian. Later, I developed an interest in the actual history of music and musical instruments. More specifically, I learned about ancient flutes and bagpipes. This led me in to "Duduk", an instrument I play today. Duduk is a traditional woodwind instrument indigenous to Armenia. Variations of it are popular in Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Central Asia. It is a distant relative of East Asian instruments, such as the Chinese guanzi, the Korean piri and the Japanese hichiriki.

Art played a significant role in my development growing up. In kindergarten I learned that I loved to sketch and took classes up until I attended middle school. When my parents divorced, I was able to see a therapist that used art therapy to help me understand and articulate what I was experiencing. In middle school, I joined the string orchestra and learned to play the viola which had a surprising impact on my performance in math. Lastly, in high school I took up photography and grew to appreciate the ability to capture images of the world from my own perspective. Upon reflection now, as an adult, I find all these experiences were equally meaningful and have done nothing but enhanced my appreciation for the arts.

While growing up, I was fortunate to have the opportunities to learn and play the violin and accordion. I remember taking years of accordion lessons and playing new music almost every day after school to my grandmother who would endure my ongoing practice with praise. Now, my household normally wakes up to dance music and very frequently we dance in the mornings together before we each head off to school or work. My wife and I have focused on educating our kids about visual arts, dance, drama and music through various mediums.

I must confess that I do not recall meaningful experiences with the arts as a child with respect to participation. I was always scientifically and mathematically inclined; not artistically inclined. However, I was always an avid member of the AUDIENCE for artistic endeavors of my friends. Audience appreciation is important as well. When I became the Council PTA president in 2005, I was completely captured and convinced by new Unit president Karen Broderick to support every PTA unit in doing SOMETHING for the Arts Day in October. I responded by focusing Burbank Council PTA’s unit participation in the arts as a theme for my presidency. I established an Arts for All position on the Council and encouraged the identification of a parent Arts Coordinator at every school. This continues to be my passion.

As a child growing up in the 70’s I enjoyed many opportunities for artistic expression. Our elementary schools provided the means for kids to express themselves through arts, crafts, and music. There was a piano in every classroom, and every teacher knew how to play. In junior high and high school, an entire period of instruction was devoted to art, theater, or music. I especially enjoyed performing in the theater, and going on field trips to the various play festivals and held throughout southern California.

I was a very shy boy growing up and it didn't help that I was born with no fingers on my left hand. Because of that I felt "different", and I was always afraid of other kids making fun of me so I hid my hand in my pocket often. When I was in Preschool, my teacher noticed that I was embarrassed so she had us create a giant mural with the outside frame being our painted hand stamps. I remember all the kids dipping their hands in paint and "stamping" the wall with their hands. I pretended I was sick because I didn't want to do it in front of the other kids. So while the kids were out playing she had me do it alone. When everyone came back in, my teacher said to all of us "woah, who's cool art is that! WOW that person must be really special!" All the kids thought whoever it was, was a "way cool kid", or a "ghost kid" so I raised my hand and said it was me. That moment really meant a lot for me and I believe that art can have a connection with all children.

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Question 2: What role do you think creativity can play in supporting key priorities of the district, such as reducing the drop out rate, closing the achievement gap, and preparing more students for college eligibility and/or meaningful careers? (Approximately 75-100 words)

Studies have shown that students who participate in arts education have higher academic achievement scores than students who do not participate (Babo, 2001; Cardarelli, 2003; Cox, 2001; Frakes, 1984; etc.). Furthermore, current research has shown that arts education can play a critical role not only in a child’s academic development but also social development. Exposure to the arts, builds intent, focus, Imagination, engagement, drive, communications, and leadership skills necessary for twenty-first century workforce success.

From both a student development perspective and an administrative perspective, creativity is an integral part of supporting district priorities. I believe we need to do more to not only ensure creativity in the lesson plans of our teachers but in our programmatic offerings as well. Developmentally, we know that greater access to diverse educational experiences reduces the dropout rate and increases the performance of students because students are able to study and grow skills in areas which interest them. Lesson plans which are creative inspire class participation and lesson retention. Diverse course offerings as well as professional development for our teachers can do wonders to inspire students with creativity. Administratively, we are going to need to be as creative as possible if we are going to deliver the kind of education our students deserve. This means that members of the board of education must be willing to reach out to our community like never before to secure the resources necessary to offer new programming and to build toward a more comprehensive educational experience for future students.

I think creativity can play a crucial role in helping children succeed. I support arts education in our schools because I think it would result in more engaged students. The more engagement our children have, the more likely they will attend school and grow into prepared students. Creativity can be very useful in arts and media related careers, industries and technologies. It is important for the district to provide a broad base of various opportunities for all kids to be inspired.

The research abounds in demonstrating that the experience of education and teaching strategies grounded in the arts support student achievement and college readiness through engaging students in the curriculum and in providing alternative pathways to learning. I do not see this as a possibility; I see this as a fact. The district simply must support the arts as part of the core curriculum as it has for the last ten years.

Instruction in the creative arts may provide some students with a career pathway, but for most, it represents a chance to work with their hands, or to find their voice, or to find themselves. This leads to more social connections within the campus community, which in turn makes students more enthusiastic about being at school. Thus, attendance improves, as do graduation rates.

I'd like to expand the after school programs we have to include Art programs and Math/Science tutoring programs in addition to the traditional athletics we have after school. Studies show that strong after school programs directly correlate to the reduction in youth crime. In addition to traditional vocational opportunities in the business, finance and technology sector, we also have an exciting opportunity to partner with local talent and media/dance studios right here in Burbank for internship credit and portfolio building.

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Question 3: Los Angeles USD district has embarked on an initiative to restore meaningful sequential arts education into its core curriculum. What do you feel are the strengths and the weaknesses of the plan? (Approximately 75-100 words)

We must make sure that all of our students have access to variety of arts programs. The weakness lies with funding. As a community, we must make certain that funding arts program at our schools are one of our priorities, but that requires the participation and unity of the whole community (parents, teachers, businesses, and all residents of Burbank).

I am a strong proponent of the district's Arts for All Plan. When it comes to district plans the arts plan is by far the most well articulated and thought out. I don't find weaknesses in the plan but I do believe that it is critical to have arts champions on the board who will ensure the plan is funded.

I understand and appreciate the Arts for All Plan 2012-2022. There is much strength to the plan including the various focus areas. For example, the first focus area seeks to fully develop arts curriculum and instruction in dance, music, theatre, visual and media arts with a success indicator. Moreover, the entire plan includes many goals, implementation tasks, timeline and persons responsible. Possible weaknesses include the district's funding capabilities and limitations that may affect the implementation timeline. Moreover, presumptions include elementary schools capabilities that may or may not be immediately present for certain implementations.

The Burbank Board of Education adopted the strategic K-12 arts plan to integrate standards based arts curriculum into the core curriculum in December 2005. This was two years before I was elected to the Board. During that time, I was serving as Burbank Council PTA President. At that time, I advocated for strong parent participation on the Arts for All Committee. Karen Broderick and Alexandra Helfrich moved in to serve as parent representatives. Since that time, parent representation has increased substantially. Under the guidance of our District Arts Coordiator, the Committee developed a strong plan that I do not see has ANY material weaknesses. The plan has undergone the first five year revision and continues to guide the district implementation. My goal as a board member is to continue to support the plan through the Local Control Accountability Plan.

As approved, the plan calls for a fully developed arts curriculum, the expansion of the school day, and the hiring of additional teachers. The plan represents an excellent start, but we will realize these goals only if the board makes them a priority. Thus, one weakness of the plan is its vulnerability to budget shortfalls, competing priorities, or simply a lack of political will.

The greatest strength is the timing in which this initiative is being pushed. The LCFF changed the method in which stakeholder input is weighted, so the Arts for All program is as meaningful as ever, at this critical point in education funding. Most of the weaknesses are from forces outside our control. For instance, it's not fair that a strong Arts foundation is only good if your entering college or vocational program deemed "artistic" in nature. In my opinion, a strong arts background should also be a factor in "non-artistic" college degree programs and vocational programs as well. That being said, there may be push back from outside forces that rely heavily on traditional testing models to determine "student achievement".

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Question 4: How can your district make the Los Angeles USD arts education plan, and its progress on the plan, more visible to parents and leaders in your community? (Approximately 75-100 words)

I have over fifteen years of experience in the field of education & public service, serving on several local non-profit boards, commissions, and teaching. Currently, I serve as a member of Burbank School Facilities Oversight Committee & Burbank Parks, Recreation & Community Services Board. I am a former member of Burbank’s Community Development Goals & Civic Pride Committee. As a member of the Burbank School Board, I will create a district-wide Arts advisory committee. The committee will consist of students, parents, teachers, artists, businesses and anyone interested in expanding arts in our schools. Furthermore, as a school board member I will organize: • Annual district wide Arts summits • Partnerships with local businesses to showcase our students’ artwork • Art galleries where part of the proceeds will go toward district art programs and more... As an artist, I will continue my advocacy for more art programs and arts education because it is essential to our children\'s growth, academic achievement, self-development, and well-being.

I believe the district's website should have an entire section called "Accountability" This should list all of the district's current master plans, a copy of the district's audits and financial statements, as well as a list of bond projects and their current status. Providing this information to the public would allow for greater scrutiny of board actions.

The district can make the Burbank USD arts education plan and its progress more visible to parents and the community through optimization of technology to communicate arts messages, develop high visibility events to promote and support, use community venues for displays, encourage cooperative communication between all schools, and communicate progress through quarterly reporting of progress to the BUSD School Board and City of Burbank. In addition, the district can conduct town-hall meetings at various schools to update and educate the public regarding progress on not only the arts education plan, but also the implementation of Common Core.

While opportunities for improvement in any endeavor always exist, our district has done an excellent job in supporting the work of the Burbank Arts for All Foundation and the Community Outreach Working Group to educate our community. Participation of Board Members and District staff is vital in this effort. Publicity efforts include monthly community meetings featuring arts programs within the district and Creative Circles Forums highlighting the work of our partnerships. These events have reached standing room only attendance, including City and Business leaders, as well as parents and community members. Visibility of the plan and progress is achievable through the ongoing efforts to highlight student artistic endeavors in our community newspaper, media news website and through presentations at community group meetings, televised board meetings and city council meetings.

Progress is made visible to parents through recitals, exhibits, and feedback from the students. In addition, the District should reach out to parents and community leaders directly; the Board can maintain public awareness and expectations by insisting on regular progress reports from the Superintendent.

It can be brought forward to the LCAP, which can be streamlined into regular, quarterly town halls and E-Townhalls. Stakeholders now have real input into the process at the LCAP phase.

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Question 5: In light of the new funding structure for school districts in the state (i.e. the Local Control Funding Formula), how do you see arts education aligning with the eight new priority areas? (Approximately 75-100)

Student & Parent Engagement: Students with access to arts education have higher attendance rated and lower drop out rates. The arts also engage the parents and families of students who are involved in performances and exhibitions. Student Achievement & Pupil Outcomes: Students of all backgrounds and cultures are more likely to achieve higher GPA and test scores, graduate from high school and attend college when they have access to the arts. The arts also develop valuable skills like creativity, problem-solving and critical thinking that can help our students to succeed in today’s job market. In a recent study by IBM, CEOs ranked creativity as the most important leadership quality they were looking for in workers. Common Core Standards: Professional development for arts teachers to align with Common Core is being rolled out right now across the state. The arts can assist teachers in working smarter instead of making it harder to transition to Common Core.

I believe that arts education can contribute in one way, shape or forum to six of the state-identified priority areas: Student Achievement, School Climate, Student Engagement, Implementation of Common Core Standards, Parental Involvement and Other Student Outcomes. The arts can transform school site communities, encourage students to get active in their lessons, convey common core standards more clearly than a textbook and we've seen the involvement of parents soar through the Burbank Arts for All Foundation. It's clear to me that the Local Control Funding Formula allows us the opportunity to innovate with arts education and I plan to be a champion of that cause on the Board of Education.

I see the Local Control Funding Formula promoting arts education in multiple funding categories including implementation of visual and performing arts standards, improvement of student achievement, increase of student engagement, improvement of school climate and connectedness, and provision of access to all students to prepare for college and careers, and measure of outcomes including arts education. Overall, the new funding structure will greatly enhance and promote arts education.

Arts Education aligns with all eight of the priority areas in the Local Control Funding Formula. As a Board Member, I have been committed to the establishment of the District Goal of increasing access to arts and music education K-12. The 2014-2017 Local Control Accountability Plan specifically includes the following priorities: Implementation of the Common Core Standards (through professional development on incorporating the arts into Common Core State standards), Basic Services (through providing additional funding to school site budgets for instrument repair/replacement and arts supplies), and Student Engagement/ Student Achievement/ Course Access (through hiring additional music teachers.) Continuous priorities are school climate (through a multitude of performing arts opportunities) and parental engagement (through parent participation in advisory committees)

Arts education aligns with several of the LCAP priorities, including: o Priority 5 - Pupil Engagement: as discussed in my response to Question 2, arts education builds the student’s connection to the campus community, leading to increased attendance and lower dropout rates. o Priority 6 – School Climate: as previously discussed, arts education creates an emotionally secure place for students, which leads to a positive school climate. o Priority 3 –Parent Involvement: as the student’s connectedness to the school grows, so does the parent’s. o Priority 7 – Course Access: the LCAP incorporates the language of the Education Code, which provides for instruction in the visual and performing arts, "including dance, music, theater, and visual arts, with emphasis upon development of aesthetic appreciation and the skills of creative expression."

Technically, an argument can be made for any of the eight areas. However, the ones that would be easiest to argue would be: Pupil Achievement and Engagement - Studies show that students with creative and emotional intelligence can do just as well as those who work exclusively in math and science. Student engagement can be an argument for the outreach portion of the Arts for all plan. Key Phrase: "Well rounded" School Climate - Arts programs allow students to break out of their shells and achieve new levels of creativity. I can make an argument that more students engaged in the arts will add to the school climate. Parental Involvement - As long as parent allies of the Arts for all Program are sitting on the LCAP, Parents and the arts will always have a seat at the table Pupil Outcomes - A strong argument can be made that students who have well rounded achievements will have greater student outcomes than those focused exclusively on one area

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Three LA County Elections Advance to November Run-Offs

Three LA County Elections Advance to November Run-Offs

Mon, 06/09/2014 - 9:52am

VOTE by Theresa Thompson, on FlickrFormer California State Senator Sheila Kuehl and former Santa Monica Mayor Bobby Shiver are still in the race to be the Los Angeles County Supervisor of District 3. Kuehl received a total of 43,348 votes, accounting for 36.18% of the votes cast. Shiver came in second with 34,509 votes with (28.80%). The results indicate they will face a run off on the November ballot.