Describe your involvement/participation in the arts and cultural activities in Juneau.
How many times per year do you attend an arts and cultural event? Counting most nights at Folkfest or Jazz and Classics, the Symphony, etc. I would say that I probably attend an arts and cultural even 20 to 25 times a year.
What types of events do you attend? In addition to the events mentioned above, I attend Perseverance Theater, am a regular at the Wearable Arts Show and other concerts at the JACC. I’m proud to say that this year will be my fifth year with the Gospel Choir.
Are you a current member of any Juneau arts organizations? Which one(s)? I am a current member of the JAHC and the Alaska Folk Festival. For the past four years, I have been a volunteer for Juneau Jazz and Classics. I am also a season ticket holder for the Symphony.
The Council is embarked on building a facility dedicated to the arts and culture to replace the existing JACC: the new JACC. How familiar are you with this project? What role does the Assembly have in this effort? I have followed this project since funding was proposed for the last 1% and I support the effort. The Assembly’s role now should be awarding the remaining 1% money to the JAHC so that design can continue to move forward. In addition, any questions remaining concerned with ownership of the land need to be expeditiously resolved. Going forward the Assembly should work with the JAHC on questions related to parking.
The CBJ Comprehensive Plan identifies a Cultural Campus in the Willoughby District. Do you support such a Cultural Campus for Juneau? What can the Assembly do to make this comprehensive plan goal more than an “aspiration?” Yes, I support the concept of a Cultural Campus for Juneau. There is tremendous promise for the development of this in the Willoughby district. The new SLAM, a new JACC, the whale park, the potential of the Juneau Ocean Center new housing options all hold the promise of not only a vital Willoughby District but a vital downtown. The JAHC is an active partner with the municipality in planning for the district. That means there must be constructive two way communication on a regular basis on the development of Willoughby district. To ensure this the Assembly should appoint an Assembly Liaison to the JAHC similar to the Assembly’s role with the Downtown Business Association. If re-elected I will make this request and consider volunteering for this position.
The Council recently adopted a resolution on diversity, equity, and inclusion, as did the Assembly. How can the arts and culture sector help address social issues to help make Juneau a healthy and vibrant community? The transformative power of the arts is real. I believe that much of the social progress we have made on issues like race and equality has been encouraged by the arts from drama, poetry, literature and visual arts. Art spurs thought and provides a framework for discussion that is less turbulent than the civic arena. A perfect example is one of this year’s recipients of the Mayor’s Awards for the Arts, Vera Starbard Bedard for her exceptionally powerful play Our Voices Will be Heard. The play tackles difficult issues with the message that “challenging problems can only be solved when communities can talk about them.” I remember a quote from a long forgotten source that said “art awakens, enlarges, refines and restores our humanity.”
Other thoughts or comments? Only that I admire the growth of the Arts Council since it moved to the Armory and appreciate the many wonderful concerts, exhibits and events presented to Juneau over the years. I believe I am a strong supporter of the arts and would appreciate your support in October.