Jim Knight

City: Rancho Palos Verdes City
Position Seeking: Councilmember

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

As a kid I remember my world traveling parents sharing their slides and stories with their friends. Despite all of the jokes about home slide shows, for me I soaked it all in and it gave me a fascinating window into other cultures. Later in my life I began to play music from countries across the globe. I joined the L.A. based Aman International Folk Ensemble as a musician and had performances all across the nation and the Middle East. I also shared my love for music and world culture with kids in local schools.

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?

Where the city can, they should let their residents know about local and regional arts and culture. Our city promotes a program called Shakespeare by the Sea and provides park space and advertising to the organization. We feel this kind of program provides a unique entertainment/cultural opportunity for young and old in an old fashion outdoor park setting picnic dinners and all. It gets the kids off of their digital screens and into the real world.

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

My vision for our city is to preserve why we all moved here: quality of life. Part of that quality of life beyond the normal budget process, infrastructure repairs, etc. is providing an enriched cultural experience. Urban design is within local government preview and art should part of that urban design. Supporting the arts in our community makes all of our lives a little richer. Our society would be sterile without art being part of it. The real challenge for government is to find artistic expression that has a universal appeal.

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)?

Studies have shown that exposure of students to the arts increases creativity and innovation in the science and engineering fields. Being Vice President of the South Bay Cities Council of Governments I have had the unique opportunity to engage with Chris Cagel of the South Bay Investment Work Board and encouraged him to convince the Board to incorporate more creative high tech training to prepare their students for the ever increasing South Bay high tech jobs. I then put him in touch with Director of the Palos Verdes on the Net who had already designed those classes with working professionals.