City: Pasadena
Position Seeking: City Council – District 7

Question 1: Please share a meaningful experience you had with art (visual, dance, drama, music, media arts) while growing up and its impact on you.

Growing up I was never particularly “artistic” in the way this survey defines it (visual, dance, drama, music, media arts)—although I did spend some time figure skating and I did play the violin for a short time in middle school. I was more interested in learning different skills like knitting, sewing, baking, and jewelry making. Participating in any art or craft teaches you various skills such as perseverance, focus, problem solving, and self confidence, to name a few—all of which are beneficial in every day life. Whether practicing a certain figure skating skill over and over again (focus and perseverance), seeing a project come to fruition (self confidence), or following instructions and pivoting when needed (problem solving), I undoubtedly benefited by engaging in a variety of different arts and crafts growing up.

Question 2: What do you believe the role of City Council should be in developing and supporting the region’s arts and cultural infrastructure?

I believe that City Council should support our region’s arts and culture infrastructure by promoting and increasing awareness of our city’s artistic and cultural assets, addressing the needs of our artistic community, promoting local arts and culture events, and presenting community arts and culture events in conjunction with local organizations. Our city’s Arts & Cultural Affairs Division, local cultural institutions, and non-profits should serve in an advisory capacity to City Council to make sure that these goals are being met. The City of Pasadena should assist in promoting local art and culture events and making sure that residents are aware of all of the opportunities that exist for families and kids to participate in these activities. Too often, I don’t think this information is aggregated in an easily digestible way for our residents. Making an effort to engage in partnerships within the business community to provide our artists with exposure and opportunities to promote their work would be a valuable way to support our art community as well.

Question 3: What’s your vision for the city? What role, if any, does art and culture play in advancing that vision?

My vision for the City of Pasadena is that we’re working to create a community that honors its past while simultaneously positioning itself to be successful and competitive in the future. This includes a strategic look at growth and development that doesn’t impede on our historic buildings/public spaces/way of life, making sure that our students are educated so that they have the skills they need to be competitive in the local workforce, and promoting entrepreneurship. For all the reasons that I mentioned above (perseverance, focus, problem solving, self confidence), art is important to our youth and community. I’ve been teaching classes and workshops to kids for a couple of years now and it’s great to see kids being creative thinkers and being engaged in learning—I just taught a class to a young kid in San Pedro whose dream is to work for NASA and formulate rocket fuel. I think it is imperative that we keep our kids thinking creatively and engaging in art is a great way to do this. The skills promoted by engagement in art are the same skills required to be successful adults in the workplace and successful entrepreneurs.

Questions 4: A recent report by the Otis College of Design found that 1 in every 6 jobs in LA County supports the creative sector and economy in Los Angeles County. If elected, how will you aim to ensure the continued vitality and growth of the creative economy and the artistic community that it supports?

I’d like to see opportunities for artists and artisans to integrate themselves into the business community and have an affordable place to sell and promote their work to the public. In addition to being the founder of a public relations company, I’m also the owner of Banter & Bliss Candle Co. I have a split retail/studio in San Pedro, CA at LA’s largest year round artisan warehouse called CRAFTED at the Port of Los Angeles. My ultimate dream would be to find an opportunity to partner with a property owner who has an interest in furthering the art community in Pasadena and creating a place where our artists can sell their goods, offer workshops and classes to community, and perhaps test out the viability of their products in the community so they can gauge the potential profitability of branching out on their own—an artisan incubator of sorts. We have many rich art and cultural opportunities in Pasadena like our museums and galleries, but I think creating opportunities for artists to turn their passion into a business would be valuable to the art community and their skills could also be utilized to engage the community as a whole. A few ways to make this more feasible for the art community would be to promote more artist/live/work lofts like you see in other creative communities across the United States like downtown Los Angeles, Boston, and Washington.