Jon Huntsman // Republican // Utah State Governor (A+)
How have the arts, culture, and/or humanities impacted your life?
- As far back and I can remember, music has been a significant part of my life. I started playing piano at age six and eventually played with a touring rock band, Wizard, and now consider myself to be a failed musician. As governor, I made a point to ensure that the cultural arts were recognized throughout our state. We started the Artist Series Award, recognizing people for their contributions in every category - from musicians to poets to culinary artists. We also supported film in Utah, including film festivals and making Utah a premiere filming destination through incentives and personal outreach. My kids might say I'm underprivileged, coming from a culturally deficient family from Fillmore. But I've worked to overcome this through my keyboard and my true appreciation of artists of every stripe. Some of my greatest music memories are of live concerts at Saltair, jamming with bandmates in the basement of the Governor's mansion and playing with a Chicago cover band in Russia. I've chaired the Utah Opera and served on the board of Utah Symphony and supported many cultural efforts in our state in every way. This is a shared passion with my Grandfather Huntsman who played violin with the Utah Symphony. I also have a daughter who performs classical music around the world, including with the Utah Symphony. While beautiful paintings are moving and music inspires me and I am uniquely awed by the creativity of others, the most important impact that the arts have had on my life has usually been in the conversations that are inspired. Cultural events of any kind tend to open up lines of communication that cannot be achieved in any other way. As someone who has experienced the culture of many other countries, I am repeatedly amazed at what the simple gesture of understanding can do to build ties that bond. Whether it’s the Chinese language or the lyrics to a Foo Fighter song, I’m grateful when I’m able to understand someone else a little better because we’ve shared a cultural experience.
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:
- Our state has a long history of supporting the arts and it is one I was proud to carry on as governor. While science, technology, engineering and mathematics continue to be emphasized by many businesses as desirable skills — it is becoming clear the importance of art education as part of that mix. The community and business emphasis on the arts and humanities is even more important than any government agenda. When a community pulls together to support arts in any form, it has a remarkable impact. Public-private partnerships are crucial in the cases where government can play a fiscally responsible role in facilitating the success of these community programs. Public investment in the arts is about providing cultural opportunities for the people of our communities, ensuring access to to art forms that would otherwise be out of reach and utilizing art as a tool of refinement for people of all ages. The economic impact is clear. Communities that invest in public art thrive, it’s as simple as that.
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
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