Utah Cultural Advocacy Alliance Grade: D (62.50%)

  • Candidate Name: David Sewell
  • Your Municipality: Provo
  • Elected office for which you are running: City Council- City Wide

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.
Singing in ward choir is a favorite for me. Was instrumental as a Council member in bringing the Messiah Sing Along/Play Along back to Provo. Season tickets for BYU plays. Scera Outdoor performances when kids were younger. Frequent attender of Covey Center performances. Attend LDS Film Festival every year. Frequent movie goer with wife on date night. Appreciate museums and art galleries.

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.
Yes, in concept. Provo has just barely re-organized its Arts Council which had been dormant for years. I encouraged the Mayor to get that going again.

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.
I am putting No for now because this is a new concept for me and I would have to study it further. On the surface, it seems reasonable so it is possible I could be persuaded to support it.

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

5b // Optional, explain why or why not.
Not something I have studied yet.

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

6b // Optional, explain why or why not.
Yes, though I think it primarily as a quality of life driver, there is also an economic component to having a healthy arts and cultural sector.

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.
Yes, Provo recently passed a RAP tax and I supported it. The Administration's original proposal earmarked something like 4% of that for arts. I argued strongly for increasing that - which ended up happening. I think we got it up to something like 15% if memory serves me correctly.

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. 
In general, definitely yes. However, I did not support bringing a particular film festival to the Covey Center that would have included showing movies that would not meet community standards for being family friendly.

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. 
No for now until I learn more about it. Our community is extremely conservative fiscally. I do think the community would support additional expenditures for the arts - if done carefully and incrementally. A big shift toward a model from a more liberal area would likely not be well received here.