Brian A. Gutierrez
City: West Covina City
Position Seeking: Councilmember
Question 1: Please share the most meaningful arts and cultural experience you had growing up.
In high school, I saw how many of my peers did not have the resources for extracurricular activities like arts and music. No one, including the school administration, could help them. So I organized a fundraising effort, went walking to local businesses, and brought in money to help fund after-school activities. I still do it to this day and have raised over $100,000 for these programs. These dual passions for arts and community service had a major influence on my career path, and today I am a community relations executive for a major record label.
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?
Southern California is an international beacon for creativity. Paintings, sculptures, music, and scripts created in our county affect the world. In order to ensure that West Covina maintains an atmosphere of creativity and innovation, I believe that the City Council must foster artistic passions in schools, encourage students to follow those ideas, and then give them the resources to enact their vision. I would not be where I am today if my passions for music and public service were not encouraged, and I believe that the City Council has a fundamental duty to students to foster their passions in life.
Question 3: What’s your vision for the city? What role, if any, does art and culture play in achieving that vision?
I envision West Covina as a city filled with small business owners, passionate artists, and optimistic leaders ready to tackle the complex problems that face our society. Art, in all of its forms, requires creativity and fosters creative problem solving, something I have benefited from personally. For me, music is not only about culture; it is also about expression, growth, and discovering something new. Our future leaders and businesspeople need to possess these qualities. Having a background in or access to art fosters original thought and innovative answers to questions, which is necessary to solve problems.
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)?
In order for our region’s creative economy to flourish, we must not only ensure that citizens have the infrastructure and tools needed to create freely, but also provide economic incentives to keep artistic jobs in Southern California. This means funding art programs, providing a tax structure that encourages the arts as our competitive advantage, working with local businesses, and creating open spaces for expression. We must give our artists a voice and an economic incentive to create in West Covina and across Los Angeles County.