Thomas Aujero Small

City: Culver City
Position Seeking: Councilmember

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

As a small child I clearly remember going with my family to the theater and the winter-season Charles Dickens Faire in San Francisco… and our extended sojourns with my mother’s family in the Philippines, being immersed in that unique and vastly foreign culture (both South East Asian and Catholic), the food, the tropical childhood entertainments… In high school I began singing and then studied Comparative Literature at Yale University, singing and touring Europe with the Yale Russian Chorus, and then studying art in Italy before graduate school in France at the University of Paris.

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 am running for City Council as Commissioner of Cultural Affairs, a highly unusual candidacy focused on arts and culture. As a Councilmember I would advocate for the region’s arts and cultural infrastructure with more vigor than any previous member of the council. First, I would promote additional support and resources for the Cultural Affairs Commission, and then further improvements and renovation of the Veterans Auditorium complex, as well as additional facilities for arts of every kind. As Commissioner, I have overseen the Public Art program, Performing Arts Grants, our first International Film Festival, and our new Artist/Poet Laureate program.

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

I envision Culver City as an exemplary, diverse model small city at the heart of a major international metropolis. Art and culture play a major, central, and crucial role in achieving this level of excellence, (including an extremely high quality of life and vigorous creative economy). We need to nurture our burgeoning arts district, our museums and theaters, and grow our civic cultural and artistic offerings, particularly those that serve our youth, our seniors, and the less affluent who have less easy access to the world class performances, museums, and cultural diversity available throughout greater Los Angeles.

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)?

As Commissioner of Cultural Affairs, I commissioned Culver City’s first Report on the Creative Economy based on the Otis Report on Los Angeles, which is now being drafted. I believe that nurturing our creative economy is critical to the successful future of Culver City. All of these aspects of this market sector: cultural tourism, indirect and direct creative jobs, nonprofit and for profit arts and cultural organizations, work together to support our vigorous economy. Our vital, growing, and essential high-tech, media, and design-oriented businesses particularly interact and depend on these other aspects of our creative economy.