Oscar Mata // Democrat // Utah House District 8
How have the arts, culture, and/or humanities impacted your life?
- When I was in high school the arts became a real interest to me in a way I had never seen it before. My family had moved to Ogden and I attended DaVinci Academy of Science and the Arts. My mom decided to enroll me in that school due to the athletics and sports program in the school. Once attending DaVinci I got to know students who were gifted in the arts and saw the great impact it had on them. I am not artistic whatsoever and therefore really never saw the arts as essential to students like me. I then attended a performance my junior year that a few of my friends were in. The music was amazing and I could not stop thinking about how that performance and the sounds made me feel. It was then that I realized that the arts and supporting the art department goes much further than just benefiting those who are gifted, it also is a great asset to those in the audience. Since then I have been a proud supporter of the arts. I now run the business program at the same high school and volunteer my time and finances to support the school's art program. It is wonderful to see the students create something beautiful and see the growth in them both artistically and personally.
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:
- We are investing in the future. My biggest push to fund art and humanities initiatives and programs is the amazing impact it has on our kids. I will advocate for any program that continues to have a positive influence on our younger generations.
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 support the arts; however, I am the first to admit I don't know as much as I should. I would love to work closely with this group when legislation regarding arts and humanities is brought up to be better educated and well versed in the issues.
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