Tessa Douglas // Republican // Iron County School Board District 1 (A+)
How have the arts, culture, and/or humanities impacted your life?
- The arts, culture, and humanities have impacted my life immensely. From the time I was young, I participated in community plays and choirs. As a senior in high school, I was elected choir president and drama club vice-president, due to my activity in those organizations. Theatre and music were my safe havens during my teenage years, and without them, I don't know where I would have fit in. As an adult, I have supported my children's participation in the Cedar City Children's Musical Theater, attend plays each year at the Utah Shakespeare Festival, visit our local art museum, and regularly attend community concerts and plays. Culture has also played an incredibly important role in my life. Most of my career was spent working in international education, helping American students study in other countries, as well as helping international students study in the U.S. The cultural experiences I had with these students, in addition to studying abroad myself, had a tremendous impact on the person I have become. They made me more empathetic, more open-minded, more engaged with people who are different from me, and have helped me become a better communicator, diplomat, and person.
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:
- It means prioritizing public funds to support artistic, cultural, and humanistic initiatives and organizations that better our communities in meaningful ways.
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'm a collaborator and live in a community with a great affinity for arts and humanities. Accordingly, I would partner with community organizations to provide opportunities for students to participate in and learn more about the arts and humanities. As a school board member, I would advocate for our students to participate in these organizations and hopefully provide some kind of credential or academic credit for their participation. Depending on funding availability, I would also advocate for more art/humanity/cultural courses and opportunities in our local schools.
Anything else we should know about you?
- Regarding credit requirements for arts and humanities, I need to do more research on this before I can definitively say they should be increased. At the state level, perhaps, but at the local level some of our schools may have more art/humanity credit requirements already and I want to make sure I'm not advocating for more credits than would be possible with state-mandated credit requirements for other subjects
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