Amie Shepard

City: Hawthorne City
Position Seeking: Councilmember

Question 1: Please share the most meaningful arts and cultural experience you had growing up. 

In my twenties, I drove down the Baja Peninsula through a small town called Santa Rosalia. It was originally colonized as a French mining town. Remnants of the French litter the streets with the iron buildings and distinct architecture. During my journey, we pulled into Santa Rosalia to make a stop and were caught up in their festival honoring the creation of the town. Men danced in a parade down the streets, with homemade masks celebrating their history. It was one of the most beautiful, spontaneous cultural experiences I have ever had.

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?

City Council oversees the economic development of the City. Arts and culture improve a community’s competitive edge, drive tourism and spending, and creates a skilled labor force. I believe our role as Council should be to support the progress of fine arts in the community. Hawthorne is an incredibly diverse town, with cultures from all over the world. We have a close proximity to LAX and Downtown LA, making us very accessible for art tourism. Arts and culture also give our students a creative belonging within the community, and creates positive role models for our youth.

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

The City of Hawthorne has an iconic, nostalgic history as the Home of the Beach Boys and the Cradle of Aerospace. It is my vision to see Hawthorne return to that quaint, beachside community. Our neighboring cities benefit from downtown business & retail districts where residents can stroll, dine and shop. This creates the perfect space for the art community to thrive. San Pedro honors their art community with the First Thursdays in their revitalized business district, and I would love to see Hawthorne follow that trend.

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)?

The premise of my campaign platform is business development in Hawthorne. I think that with any progressive city, the mix of businesses should be as diverse as the residents. As part of my commitment to Hawthorne, bringing professional, livable wages to the City is one way I plan on improving our economy. Creative businesses improve the ambience of any neighborhood and offer a unique atmosphere, creating jobs and entertainment/retail experiences for residents. I would support streamlined licensing, tax incentives and other pro-business benefits for companies looking to enhance our cultural and art environment.