City: South Pasadena City
Position Seeking: Councilmember
Question 1: Please share the most meaningful arts and cultural experience you had growing up.
I grew up in Yerevan, Armenia until age 10. This city left a lasting impression on me with its parks, fountains, welcoming tree lined streets, public art and performances that were attended by families. Getting families out to public spaces and walking to recreation and shopping centers fosters active lifestyles and community building.
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?
I think City Councils can promote arts and culture by recognizing that public funds can serve to provide seed money for public art programs that leverage the resources of non-profit art councils and local artists to stimulate more programs. Our City is doing just this with a utility box art program, a program I helped launch.
Question 3: What’s your vision for the city? What role, if any, does art and culture play in achieving that vision?
I see public art as an important part of making public spaces more appealing for people of all ages to come out and engage with these spaces, as well as one another. Cities are stronger when residents are engaged with one another and celebrate creativity together. Art and cultural offerings stimulate economic engines and enhance dining, shopping experiences.
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 public sector has a few less tools to leverage in forming public private partnerships with developers with loss of redevelopment resources, but a few remain. As mayor, I appointed an arts director to serve in an advisory role on our dwntown development committee to bring arts and culture to the discussion and planning. Our city works closely with business owners to support creative manufacturing businesses, and to facilitate P3 or non-profit partnerships where possible.