Utah Cultural Advocacy Alliance Grade: A+ (100%)

  • Candidate Name: Benjamin Noah Rosenberg
  • Your Municipality: Salt Lake City
  • Elected office for which you are running: City Council District 5

Question 1: Should government be involved in funding the arts and humanities?

Question 2: Have you had a personal experience with arts, culture, or humanities that have had an impact on your life?

3b // Optional, explain your experience.
As the son of an elementary school art teacher, I have been steeped in art, culture, and the humanities from a young age. As a result of that exposure, I majored in history at the University of Utah with a minor in classical civilizations. I can confidently say that without these experiences, I would not be running for City Council. At the same time, I know that my experiences are not possible for every student. With fewer music and art classes in our elementary, middle, and high schools as well as falling funding for the humanities in our universities, many students will not get the same level of exposure to the arts as I had. While the City Council doesn't have direct control over funding for these programs, we can supplement them by maintaining a robust network of public art programs like our Arts Festival and the Twilight Concert Series. I am committed to expanding these programs as well as crafting new ones.

Question 3: Do you support public funding for city and county arts councils who then re-grant that money to local arts and humanities organizations?

3b // Optional, explain why or why not.
While I think that public support for the arts is vital, I never want a decision about funding to be made because of political concerns. By placing funds in the hands of independent organizations like these, we can avoid art devolving into a political slap fight in the sandbox.

Question 4: Do you support Percent for Art programs, which designate 1% of public building costs for public art that are included within that building? Currently, only 8 Utah municipalities have such a program.

4b // Optional, explain why or why not.
Salt Lake City has one of longest running percent for art programs, and it has had a huge impact. Our buildings are graced with magnificent works. I support the continuation of this vital program. I look forward to seeing the art selected for our new airport expansion.

Question 5: Do you support having a Percent-for-Art program in your own municipality?

5b // Optional, explain why or why not.
While Salt Lake City already has a percent for art program, I am happy to support its continuation.

Question 6: Do you consider the arts and cultural sector an economic driver in Utah?

6b // Optional, explain why or why not.
Of course art and culture is an economic driver in Utah. One need look no further than our host of community events: the Red Butte Concert Series, the Twilight Concert Series, the summer Arts Festival, the many community street festivals and farmers markets, and the brand new Eccles Theater. All of these events are vital economic activities and all of them incorporate art and culture.

Question 7: 32 municipalities have a RAP (recreation, arts, and parks) type tax to help support cultural organizations in their communities. Would you support a RAP type tax such as this in your own municipality? If your municipality already has such a local option sales RAP-type sales tax and you support it, answer yes.

7b // Optional, explain your experience.

While Salt Lake County has the incredibly successful Zoo, Arts, and Parks (ZAP) Tax, Salt Lake City doesn't yet have a dedicated RAP tax. I think that this idea has a lot of merit, and I look forward to supporting any initiative to create such a tax for the city of Salt Lake.

Question 8: Municipalities can facilitate partnerships between cultural organizations and the local tourism sector to boost the local economy. Do you support this? Optional, explain why or why not. 

8b // Optional, explain why or why not. 

I think that cooperation between our local arts and culture organizations and our tourism industry is clearly a win-win. By crafting deep partnerships between these two major sectors of our economy, we can ensure that both thrive.

Question 9: Municipal governments can create Cultural Districts - with or without tax incentives. Governments sometimes fund these via bed or tourism taxes within the Cultural District boundaries, but it can be done within municipal budgets fairly cheaply. Is this something you would support?

9b // Optional, explain why or why not. 
I think that although Salt lake has a vibrant arts center downtown, I think that one area where we can improve is the creation of an arts production center. Such a district would be of great benefit to our city, as well as provide an excellent variety of art to be placed in our public buildings through our percent for art program.