Michelle Bonnet Hale Assembly Candidate

2018 October CBJ Municipal Assembly & Mayoral Candidate Questions

  1. Please describe your involvement/participation in the arts and cultural activities in Juneau: How many times per year do you attend an arts and cultural events?


What types of events do you attend, and what motivates you attend arts and cultural events?

Symphony, plays, chamber music, painting exhibits. I enjoy the live music and love supporting my friends and family when they are the artists.

Are you a current or past member of any Juneau arts organizations?  Which one(s)?  What motivates you to be a member?

I have served on the Symphony Board and have played with the Symphony, the Juneau Student Symphony, and the Juneau Marching Band. I am currently a member of the JACC and have also been a member in the past.

I enjoy playing music with my friends and neighbors, and love the mental and artistic stimulation that music brings. I have a business perpetuating my father Herb Bonnet’s artwork and I have long been highly involved in the visual arts in Juneau.

  1. The Juneau Arts & Humanities Council (JAHC) operates the Juneau Arts & Culture Center (JACC) which is a CBJ facility.  Since July 1st of this year, JAHC has been contracted by CBJ to manage and operate Centennial Hall (also a CBJ building on CBJ land).  JAHC is committed to building a facility dedicated to the arts and culture to replace the existing JACC: the New JACC.
  2. How familiar are you with the New JACC project, and what if any questions do you have about it?

I am familiar with the project, aided lately by discussion about it at the CBJ Assembly meetings and through presentations from the New JACC board. I also have many close friends and colleagues who are strong advocates for the project.

  1. What do you know and think about the dual management of the JACC and Centennial Hall?

It was a brilliant idea and I am eager to see the long-term success. I was initially concerned about the CBJ employees who would be displaced but I believe they have been placed in other jobs.

What is your position on the New JACC project generally?

The New JACC is a great project that would provide many benefits to Juneau:  it would provide needed space for the Juneau arts. Studies show that arts centers revitalize the surrounding neighborhood and the New JACC fits right in with the new Andrew P. Kashevaroff (APK) state museum and broader Willoughby revitalization, and the Blueprint downtown planning. The New JACC would strengthen our arts sector and adds a critical element to attract/keep young and old people living here. A performing arts center would make Juneau a more well-rounded, mature community, and offers another venue for visitors. It would encourage more visitors to walk to and through the Willoughby district, thereby helping to alleviate waterfront congestion.

  1. Do you support CBJ investment in the New JACC, and what form would you consider best (general obligations bonds, revenue, bonds, sales tax allocation, or other means of generating investment funds)?

I do support CBJ investment in the new JACC, likely in the form of general obligation bonds and use of sales tax revenues. The timing of the project should coincide with the retiring of existing debt so that property taxes do not increase. With the increase in the number of tourists, sales tax revenues have also been gradually increasing.

  1. Juneau was chosen by the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC as the 11th city in the nation for the Ensuring the Arts for Any Given Child Initiative, a community-wide effort to ensure equal access to learning in and through the arts for all students.  How would you, if elected, support and contribute to equitable access to arts education for every Juneau student?

I support full funding for the Juneau School District to the allowable spending cap, as it ensures that arts education happens in our schools. In addition, I support CBJ funding of Youth programs with discretionary funding, providing arts programs for Juneau’s kids.

  1. Juneau was recently named one of the top 10 most Culturally Vibrant small towns in the United States by SMU’s National Center for Arts Research, and at the beginning of this year was named the sixth most Creatively Vital micropolises nationally by the Western States Arts Federation.  Both these rankings were in part determined by the level of economic activity associated with arts and culture in our community, and by the level of public investment in the arts.  How do see these national rankings being leveraged to Juneau’s advantage, and what would you do as an elected official to ensure that Juneau remains a national leader in this area?

CBJ provides small grants to different arts organizations. I would work to ensure that some public monies continue to be available in this way.  As an Assembly member, both locally and when I travel, I would advocate for the arts in Juneau myself, and work with Travel Juneau and JEDC to ensure that they include Juneau’s reputation as an artsy place in their marketing and branding of Juneau. I would work with the Sealaska Heritage Institute in their goal of “helping Juneau become the world capital for Northwest Coast Art.”

  1. JAHC 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? What role does the Assembly have in this effort?

The arts & culture sector can tackle social issues head-on in plays, concerts, First Friday exhibits, town hall meetings, etc. It may not be as appropriate for JAHC to be a leader in addressing complex societal issues, but rather to participate with a broad range of other organizations.

As leaders in the community, Assembly members have a responsibility to lead by example, and to actively participate in conversations on diversity, equity, and inclusion. The Assembly also has a legal responsibility to assure that discrimination is not allowed or sanctioned within our community.