Gay Lynn Bennion // Democrat // Utah House District 46
How have the arts, culture, and/or humanities impacted your life?
- Music runs strong and deep in our families. My father's grandfather was a self-taught musician and violin maker. His band played at the inauguration of the Utah State Capitol. He taught violin and had a contract with Granite School District to repair violin into his 80's. My mother sang in choirs and quartets at the University of Utah and with the Tabernacle Choir. My mother-in-law attained the level of a concert pianist and taught piano at BYU for years. I play the piano and sing in choirs and our 4 children learned to play the piano and all either played in school bands or orchestras in Ohio, Utah and Maryland as our family moved around the country. We support the symphony and enjoy season tickets and love music.
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:
- Music should be part of school curriculum. Cottonwood Heights has a yearly community-based theater production which is performed at the new middle school's lovely auditorium, so facilities are put to maximum use. The arts can be promoted and developed while focusing on keeping ongoing costs lower.
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.
- Reducing regulations of creative businesses.
- 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?
- I've been that Suzuki piano mom, driven my son to weekly private and group piano lessons in Georgia, seen that when we moved, orchestra or band was where our kids first made good friends. As a volunteer teacher with English Skills Learning Center, we have enjoyed guitar and vocal music with students from around the world. Music is the universal language. Lee Udall Bennion and Joe Bennion are well-known Utah artists and part of our extended family. My husband's grandmother Lucille Bennion taught art in high schools. We love music, art and our open spaces.
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