Brett Garner // Democrat // Utah State School Board District 3
How have the arts, culture, and/or humanities impacted your life?
- I've been very lucky to have a lot of great experiences with and friendships grown from my involvement in arts, culture, and humanities. My youth was full of visits to the Utah Symphony, vacations always with visits to art museums, and Utah History Fair projects supported by visits to history museums. In college, I gained a great appreciation for the role of libraries by working at the University of Utah's Marriott Library. My first real job was as Office and Membership Director at Utah Heritage Foundation (now Preservation Utah). I gained many friendships in Utah's cultural sector from that work, and enjoyed seven years learning, researching, and protecting Utah's historic built environment. It led to the purchase of my current mid-century modern home. I'm an avid listener of Culture Bytes and grateful for the connection it gives our community to creatives.
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:
- Arts, music, and humanities educators that are well-compensated, at the same level as any other subject, and that have the respect of our community.
Items of Business I support:
- Credit requirements for participation in the arts and humanities should be increased
- 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
- I support increasing funding for arts education with property tax
- I support increasing funding for humanities and social sciences education with property tax
- I support working to increase funding for arts and humanities education.
How would you expand participation in the arts and humanities amongst all students?
- First, we need smaller class sizes, and this is especially important for arts and humanities. Students need to have more individual attention if they are to feel like they are learning anything. Second, more paraprofessional aides and support staff so that all students, including those with special needs, are accommodated, supported and encouraged. Finally, teacher mentoring programs to help new teachers and especially alternative-route-to-licensure teachers learn how to manage classrooms.
Anything else we should know about you?
- I consider Crystal Young-Otterstrom a leader in our community, an innovator in her field, and, most of all, a good friend for the past 14 years. UCA is lucky to have her.
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