Matthew Vitalich

City: Rancho Palos Verdes
Position Seeking: City Council

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.

I have a great appreciation for the arts as a result of my schooling. Being a writer and coming from a Liberal Arts tradition, I feel that I have a unique perspective on the importance of the arts. One of my most meaningful experiences would have to be my first short story workshop in college.
There were about fifteen or so students and we would all sit with our desks in a circle and share our short stories. It’s a powerful experience because it is a great exercise in being able to give precise criticism and being able to receive it on something you worked hard on, all towards the end of making things better.
I remember racking my brain all week trying to come up with a good plot, spending hours trying to get it right on the page and then of course having to present it to the class. At the start it can be daunting because you want to be Faulkner on the first day, but that is not how the writing process works. It is a journey.
The best part was when the readers would pick up on something the writer placed in the story, a deeper meaning and we would then expand on it. The entirety of the human condition is wanting to be heard, understood and being able to connect with one another. The arts facilitate this and it is something I think we could do with a lot more of in public discourse.

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 think that the City Council has been supportive of the arts. The city has partnered with the Palos Verdes Library District to have free "storytimes" at the Point Vincente Interpretive Center, Hesse Park and Ladera Linda Park, which includes songs, stories and a craft session on the third Thursday of each month. This allows early access to the arts for the younger residents in our city.

The city has also welcomed concerts, "movies in the park," as well as Shakespeare by the Sea at the Terranea Resort.

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

I want to ensure that as a city we have all our residents involved in their local government and make sure that they have a voice.

I also want to ensure that all residents and businesses in our city are safe from crime and able to live their lives and provide their services free from fear.

Coming from the humanities, I think I am able to see issues from both sides and make a decision. I am also able to communicate effectively with people from all backgrounds.

I plan on using the skills I learned from my Liberal Arts education to build a consensus and work with my colleagues to get things done for the residents, while valuing the perspective of each resident.

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?

Creativity manifests itself in all aspects of our daily lives, from the small business owners who create their businesses to serve others and share their crafts, to the artists and local authors here in our city who create art to enrich our lives.

I will work with my colleagues on the council to recognize those in our community who contribute artistically to our wonderful city of Rancho Palos Verdes.