How have the arts, culture, and/or humanities impacted your life?
- I was fortunate enough to have parents who dragged me kicking and screaming to the symphony, ballet and museums as a young child but over the years learned the incredible impact that arts has on us as individuals and a community. Specifically related to schools, I believe arts is not its own separate silo from other subjects but that they are all interactive and inter-related. Instead of promoting right or left brain thinking, I believe that whole brain thinking is what will push us to the next level. In 2019, we had the special opportunity to partner with Beverly Taylor Sorenson Foundation, Plan B Theater, Salty Cricket and Gold Mountain the Musical to use arts as a medium to teach students at Oakridge Elementary about Chinese workers and their contribution to the completion of the nation's first transcontinental railroad a century and a half prior. We found children did not just regurgitate facts but developed critical thinking, analytical skills and empathy.
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:
- I have a lot history of volunteering for arts related boards for Salt Lake County. Specifically, as the past Chair of the ZAP Tier 1 Advisory Board I help lead a push for greater diversity and inclusion of humanities and arts by encouraging recipients to more broadly develop and implement these types of programs. We see more visits to schools in minority majority districts and greater coverage of all levels of socio-economic demographics.
Items of Business I support:
- Credit requirements for participation in the arts and humanities should be increased
- 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
- I support increasing funding for arts education with property tax
- I support increasing funding for humanities and social sciences education with property tax
- I support working to increase funding for arts and humanities education.
How would you expand participation in the arts and humanities amongst all students?
- I think it's easy to say that we have to increase resources and teachers but the real answer is changing the mindset of educational institutions. There has to be institutional change and support from Superintendents, principals, teachers/faculty, and parents. This is especially true of our elected leaders. Oftentimes when I read surveys of candidates, I still see answers saying that arts are an add-on or a luxury and not a necessity.
Anything else we should know about you?
- I have committed much of my volunteer life in the areas of arts and humanities. I have brought a thoughtful and sometimes critical viewpoint. In addition to serving on Salt Lake County boards, I have been on the boards for Natural History Museum of Utah, Utah Film Center, Governor's Mansion Artist Series (Committee member) and the Golden Spike Foundation (Spike 150). I have never been a rubber stamp nor have I been a contrarian for the sake of argument. Every decision is made is in the best interest of the community for which I serve and I will carry that mentality as a member of the Granite School District Board.
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