Mary DaSilva // Democrat // State House-District 4
1. How have the arts, culture, and/or humanities impacted your life?
This is a question of what is it to be human. An essential element of being alive is to create, to dream, to express. To belong to something larger than ourselves. Music can evoke emotions, memories, stir us to action or lull us to sleep. Art can motivate, can bring us together in a shared experience. Museums capture the essential elements of our greatness and teach us who we are as a people. Culture is what binds us together as a people.
My profession is a registered nurse. My career was a public health nurse, working in communicable disease surveillance for a local health department in Texas. The last eight years I worked as a TB Nurse Case Manager, caring for folks with a serious, communicable disease with a stigma. My educational preparation included a BA in Anthropology from the University of Texas at Austin. My minor was Spanish. My passion is linguistics, study of languages as a hobby, although alas, I am not fluent, I enjoy comparative studies. My love of anthropology and nursing came together symbiotically as my patients were mostly from regions of the world where TB is common. So I had to adapt to their worldview in order to make a long, arduous treatment palatable. My patients were from Somalia, Vietnam, Burma, the Philippines, India, China, Guatemala, Cuba, Russia, Iraq, Syria, Cameroon, and so many other countries. And of course, the underserved minorities, of African American, Hispanic, Native American, as well as white, educated professionals. My education in anthropology, and my interests in language, religion, music and food helped me to understand my patients and ease their journey towards a cure. I hope that my sensitivity to their cultural understandings of disease and wellness was useful in helping them in a difficult time.
Of course, the arts and humanities have improved the quality of my own life. I love the theater, opera, and live music of any kind. I love to visit museums, when we travel, I am always seeking out museums that explain the history of the area, the origins of the people who live there. Books are a joy. When I die, I will regret that I did not read all of the books on my bookshelf as there are too many. We always laugh, I cannot pass by a used bookstore without purchasing an armload of books that will improve my shelf esteem.
My favorite radio station is always the Public Radio. I listen to NPR every day and support with contributions. I like public radio that features the local musician and events in the community.
I love travel as it broadens the experiences and challenges perceptions. I have been fortunate to travel throughout the world, both for pleasure and for volunteer work as a nurse combating TB. My husband is Brazilian and we have raised our children to be bi-cultural. Festivals celebrating religion, national pride, LGBTQ, food, and music are wonderful expressions of the community.
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
-Existing fund balances that will 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:
Investment in the local art community benefits everyone. Education of children must include STEM, but music and creativity is essential to growth of the person. Cultural specific studies such as African American studies, or Hispanic Studies should be part of the curriculum and bring inclusion to all.
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