Ashlee Matthews // Democrat // Utah House District 38 (A)
How have the arts, culture, and/or humanities impacted your life?
- If ever there was a perfect example of how the arts impact every aspect of our day-to-day life, it is during these quarantine measures. We are all struggling to stay sane, stay entertained and keep our brains learning and growing and preventing them from stagnating. Everything from watching documentaries and movies with our families, to listening to music while we clean and garden, doing puzzles, listening/viewing the stay at home concerts, etc. gives us a sense of normalcy during these strange and stressful times. A sort of security blanket, if you will.
Utah's humanities and arts employ 123,000 Utahns, provide $4.4 billion in earnings, and $13.2 billion in sales. This is a larger economic impact than agriculture, mining, and real estate. Do you consider the arts and cultural sector an economic driver in Utah?
Fiscally responsible government investment in the arts and humanities (including humanities and arts education) means to me:
- By investing money into building arts facilities, museums, etc. we are investing in a freedom of expression, we are investing in long term revenue, job growth, and quality of life for the residents who are able to come together as a community to enjoy the arts.
I support the following legislative items:
- Grants to be used for operations (jobs) as soon as possible
- Keeping emergency loans open to nonprofits
- Protecting the RAP taxes so that money granted to cultural organizations doesn't get repurposed
- Increasing availability of loans to cultural businesses (non-profit and for-profit)
- Fiscally responsible government investment in arts and humanities organizations.
- Development of cultural districts
- Facilitating partnerships between tourism and culture.
- Capital investment (in museums, performance/concert halls, studios, galleries, nonprofit office space, etc.).
- Percent for public art programs, which optionally designate 1% of government capital costs for public art
- Allowing municipalities to set design standards
- K-6 Students should have increased exposure to arts and humanities education
- 7-12 Students should have increased exposure to arts and humanities education
- I support the Beverley Taylor Sorenson Arts Learning Program which puts one arts specialist in most elementary schools
- I support the POPS (Professional Outreach Program in the Schools) which sends 13 professional arts organizations to all UT school districts
- I support the iSEE (Informal Science Educational Enhancement) which sends 10 professional science, zoological, and natural history organizations to all UT school districts
Anything else we should know about you?
- Being at home FT with my two toddlers while trying to maintain the work/life balance (HA!) has genuinely only been made possible because of the arts. Small art projects to keep their hands and brains busy (and give me a moment of no fighting), virtual field trips of zoos and museums to hold their attention while I sit in on a conference call, putting on puppet shows and plays are things that I hope will be something that my boys will always remember about this strange and scary time, and that they will stay interested in creative outlets for their (endless) energy.
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