Notes by Patricia Frischer
One of the missions of The San Diego Regional Coalition for Arts and Culture (SDRACC) to educate our county elected leaders about the role that arts and culture plays in our lives. These are wide ranging and the conversations that SDRACC held with the candidates for the upcoming elections are a wonderful opportunity to not only inform but to get verbal confirmation of support that might be forthcoming.
A consortium of arts and culture leaders from throughout the County assessed arts and culture priorities with the County of San Diego and prepared this roster of discussion items, which was presented to all candidates who participated in the Virtual Coffee and Forum. The intent was to educate and inform the candidates to lay the groundwork for advancing our discussions after the election. All candidates interviewed express positive support for exploring opportunities outlined in the priorities and questions below.
The panelist with
Terra Lawson-Remer (many of these are board members of SDRACC) were:
Steve Snyder, Fleet Science Center: SDRACC came into existence when the SD County Arts Council folded to help support funding for the city of San Diego. SDRACC is now county wide.
Alan Ziter, Arts District Liberty Center: launching ArtWalk 2020 Liberty Station Arts District
Alex Goodman, New Village Arts: budget cut in half
Caroline Nordquist, Mingei Folk Art Museum: Just received a Care Grant
Andrew Utt, Lux Art: t Institute 54% now online outside of SD
Lawson-Remer, candidate for Supervisor District 3: Her opening remarks contained
these thoughts. People know that the arts are part of our quality of life,
but they don’t realize how much the arts contribute to the economy. The arts
are not a luxury. Investing in the arts has a massive affect. She would like to
see a more vibrant grass roots artist community to go with the established
great museums. She loves Liberty Station and attended Dewey when she was
growing up. She likes that it brings a large community together and combines
food, parks, shopping, and all the arts. Wants to know how do we do that more
widely so it benefits everyone?
In these times of pandemic and protest, artists and creative industry workers truly are essential as “second responders” – as catalysts and leaders for rebuilding communities and fostering healing and connection. Would you support countywide investments in nonprofit arts and culture organizations and the livelihoods of artists across our County—especially in unincorporated areas where the County has direct oversight?
Terra Lawson-Remer: She is going to look to the arts community to tell her what will make a real difference. She supports a SD County Arts Council (SD County Arts Commission, SD County Office of Cultural Affairs) which could be a vehicle to coordinate and cross pollinate the arts community with other county needs. She wants to hear about really big ideas that are innovative.
In the FY21 budget, the County created a new Office of Equity and Racial Justice. As artists and creatives have been at the forefront of social movements to bring about change to dismantle systemic racism and structural inequities, would you support the appointment of artists and creative to that Office—and to boards and commissions where their perspectives would be valued?
The arts have the ability to inspire, uplift, and heal. Would you support the arts as a solution to move forward other priorities the County has historically invested in: public health, housing, public safety, and the environment?
Terra Lawson-Remer: She wants to make the arts accessible to everyone especially the young and isolated. She will be looking for big community art projects. She hopes there are public building that could have big art works. She would like to see an Inventory of buildings and needs to see how those unused places could be enlivened and available to all. There needs to be an environment created that can foster the arts.
If you’re elected to represent the District, can we count on you to be a Champion for the Arts—to support measures like those we’ve discussed today, to support budgets that make real investment in arts countywide, to support more resources to our county’s artistic community and creative industries?
Terra Lawson-Remer: We will need to get the economy back on track, make sure there is a vaccine and invest in public health, and get the kids back in school. The arts are not a silo need but a part of the strategy to get going again.
As the second most populous county in California, San Diego does not have a countywide arts council—unlike Los Angeles and Orange. As County Supervisor, would you support the County taking a more active role in policy making and in investing in arts and culture for our region?
Terra Lawson-Remer: Most of the county policies are stagnant and that includes the arts policy. No initiative has been taken. We can look at other counties arts programs which are affective and visionary and work from there. We have to invest in the arts. A County Arts Council could combine the needs between lots of agencies. Office of Cultural Affairs is over-due. The Arts are an important pillar of the community.
Lawson-Remer asked where does the funding for the arts come from? Ziter answered that there is no real large corporate funding here now or even much foundation help, so it is individual donation and county funding we rely on. The wealthy often still give in their cold weather home town. It is twice as hard to raise half as much here in San Diego. Terra Lawson-Remer said that we need those funders to invest here and the county needs to invest in the arts.