Spring 2014 Arts & Culture Candidate Surveys: Whittier City Council

Spring 2014 Arts & Culture Candidate Surveys: Whittier City Council

Candidate order: Ben Ahern, Nick Donovan, Fernando Dutra, Bob Henderson

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 Charlie Jensen at advocate@artsforla.org or 213-225-7580.

The Actors Fund, KCET Artbound, 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 Whittier will be held on Tuesday, June 3.

2 seats are 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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Too numerous to mention but the very first experience was having the opportunity to fling my arms and body around at the age of 6-7 to the sounds of West Side Story in a movement class at school. The teacher was a heavily crippled man, very little ability to walk or move his body, yet he had the ability to transfer his passion for this art form, Drama, to a bunch of young kids who would hopefully connect with the music and maybe do something with it! Later in life I became an actor, am a graduate of RADA, worked for many years as an actor in London on stage and television and look forward to supporting the arts in my community.

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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 education/cultural system in the US has been exposed to a systematic attack on the arts for obvious reasons. An education system based on music, drama and art creates critical thinkers, which is something our corporate owned political system does not encourage, critical thinking. The City Council should be actively engaged in turning this system around within the confines of school boards and the current structure of control. Every attempt should be made to fund and promote an arts based education and I will do everything within my power to promote and support such an idea within my community.

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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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Once upon a time CALIFORNIA could look back and lay claim to one of the best education systems in the world. During that time education was practically free, included the arts and was seen as a way to create the worlds future leaders and entrepreneurs. Sadly those days are long gone. Someone at a local political level needs to champion those ideas once more and effectively communicate that message with passion and conviction, citing real life examples of that former model. I myself am a great example of that theory being put into practice, not from CA, but from the UK, however same principles apply. Until you get the buy-in and support from those around you nothing will change, so that has to be one of the first steps. The arts should be seen as a vehicle for creating the next generation of leaders and thinkers, so any investment made today would be seen as the planning for tomorrow.

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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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Tough question. We have a cultural arts center of sorts at Whittier College with the Shannon Center. It is a great space and could be used for numerous events. The first step would be to encourage talent of note to perform within our community, they play other venues within our region so why not Whittier? We appear to be over looked? Support for sports attracts funding but the arts seems to be looked over? This needs to be addressed but once again it needs leadership with experience, that would be me creating outreach to those that would be willing to support that funding. We have very little history of professional talent visiting our town so this would be a work in progress, identifying the tastes and interests of the community would need to be considered as another first step.

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Arts for All and Arts for LA Announce Arts Education Support for LA County School Districts

Arts for All and Arts for LA Announce Arts Education Support for LA County School Districts

Mon, 11/26/2012 - 2:15pm

Photo: map of Arts for All and Arts for LA's current districtsArts for All, Los Angeles County’s collaborative effort to ensure curriculum in all public schools includes the arts, recently announced that four new districts and one charter school group have joined the initiative. Of the eighty-one school districts in the county, fifty-four are now part of Arts for All.