Dan McClellan // Democrat // State Senate-District 10 (A+)
1. How have the arts, culture, and/or humanities impacted your life?
My life has been fundamentally shaped by the arts. My parents had a bluegrass band when I was born, so music has always played a central role in making meaning in my life. I have always had an interest in art, and particularly drawing, and have made various approximations to a living at different points in my life selling portrait art and editorial cartoons. I currently draw Bible-related cartoons for a popular magazine called Biblical Archaeology Review.
I have also been fortunate enough in my life to be able to travel extensively, and the many different cultures to which I've been exposed have deeply enriched my life. I spent a summer right out of high school getting to know Germany, Austria, and Slovakia, and a few years later moved to Uruguay for two years. I then completed graduate degrees in the UK and Canada and now travel around the world supervising translation projects for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Learning other languages and getting to know other cultures has helped me learn quite a bit about the richness of the human family and how exposure to various cultures and the ways they make meaning helps me to better understand my own experiences in the world and how to value the experiences and perspectives of others.
Finally, the humanities have been my academic home for the last fifteen years. In addition to living in and learning about other cultures, I have degrees in ancient Near Eastern studies, Jewish studies, biblical studies, and am defending my doctoral dissertation (written on cognitive linguistics and the cognitive science of religion) at the end of this month. The study of religion and its own impact on how societies make meaning and organize knowledge and values is woefully under-appreciated in the world today, and I think a better awareness of those dynamics in government could help us to better curate their respective roles in society.
2. 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?
3. I support...
-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 (nonprofit and for-profit)
-Fiscally responsible government investment in arts and humanities organizations
-Facilitating partnerships between tourism and culture
-Reducing regulations of creative businesses
-Capital investment (in museums, performance/concert halls, studios, galleries, nonprofit office space, etc.)
-The RAP tax
-Ensuring existing fund balances to be preserved for recreation, cultural organizations, and parks
-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
-The Beverley Taylor Sorenson Arts Learning Program which puts one arts specialist in most elementary schools
-The POPS (Professional Outreach Program in the Schools) which sends 13 professional arts organizations to all UT school districts
-The iSEE (Informal Science Educational Enhancement) which sends 10 professional science, zoological, and natural history organizations to all UT school districts
4. Fiscally responsible government investment in the arts and humanities (including humanities and arts education) means to me:
I think government's role in the arts and humanities is as critical as ever as ideological identity markers like the corporatization of education and the prioritization of monetary return has facilitated the marginalization of the arts and humanities in various cultural domains. I feel that a fiscally responsible government investment will be aimed not only at expanding investment opportunities for others, but at enriching the state's cultural ecologies so younger minds can be inspired, opportunities for exploration and growth can remain available, and so that passion for the arts is not stifled by pessimism and a lack of available resources.