Saralyn Tabachnick – Candidate for Mayor

2018 October CBJ Municipal Assembly & Mayoral Candidate Questions

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.

I typically attend a variety of events, musical, theatre, First Fridays, Celebration, museum, Wearable Arts, Opera to Go, Mudrooms, Tlingit and Haida events at EP Hall and at the Immersion Park, etc. from a variety of sponsors.

I’m motivated by the actual event, as well as support for the sponsor of the event.

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

I am a supporter of and believer of the arts, and therefore am a member or donor to several organizations (some of which I have not participated in in the past year due to a mourning period after the passing of my father). These include the JAHC, Perseverance Theatre, the AK State Museum.

The Juneau Arts & Humanities Council (JAHC) operates the Juneau Arts & Culture Center (JACC) which is a CBJ facility.  Since July 1stof 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.

How familiar are you with the New JACC project, and what if any questions do you have about it?

I am familiar with it. Given the current status with three members of the Assembly taking the ballot initiative away from the voters, I’m looking forward to next steps.

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

I observed the process from start to finish. It seems reasonable and appropriate to me, and I’m grateful for the thoughtful work that went into this.

What is your position on the New JACC project generally?

I am very supportive. I believe Juneau needs and deserves an Arts and Culture Center for a number of reasons, including: 1. Arts and culture, 2. Economic growth, 3. Winter tourism, 4. Juneau being a world class Capital City.

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 support CBJ investment in the New JACC. I know CBJ has already committed $1M in sales tax allocation. Given that the current assembly recently denied the voters a choice in allocating bonds for generating investment funds, I will like to review all the possibilities and work with the assembly and CBJ staff to determine the most successful way to bring this project to fruition.

Juneau was chosen by the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC as the 11thcity 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’m very proud of Juneau, (and of the JACC), for receiving this recognition. Juneau Alaska Music Matters and Artists in the Schools programs have been very productive. Research has shown that STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) is not enough; we need to modify that to STEAM, to include the Arts. All children learn differently, and a different part of our brain is activated when we’re working with the arts. As Mayor, I will continue funding to the cap, encourage partnerships with other entities (Makerspace, field trips to the Juneau symphony rehearsals, for example) and listen to other innovative ideas to ensure every Juneau student has access to arts education.

Juneau was recently named one of the top 10 most Culturally Vibrant small town’s 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?

These inspiring recognitions give our community an opportunity to take pride in our accomplishments, and to ask, as a community, how we can build upon them. I’d like to see us come together, private and public, non-profits and Tribal, to create the best Juneau has to offer to ensure a quality of life for our residents, and a quality of visit for our visitors. We can work together to sustain both economic development and a vibrant and vital arts scene. For example, AWARE has commissioned Master Carver Wayne Price to carve a totem pole and screens for Kaasei, their supportive transitional housing facility. While most of the work to date was done in Haines, the totem is currently being worked on at UAS, where Wayne Price was recently hired to teach, and where students, staff, and the public can participate and experience this work, prior to its installation at Kaasei.

I understand Sealaska Heritage Institute has spoken with Travel Juneau about having an Annual Northwest Coast Art event, an innovative idea which will further enhance our cultural vibrancy.

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?

Arts and culture, by its very nature, are often addressing social issues. My work as E.D. at AWARE has included addressing diversity, equity, and inclusion on multiple levels, and I currently serve on the state-wide Foraker Group Operations Board diversity, equity, and inclusion committee. It’s critically important that the Assembly not just adopt a resolution, but also adopt and implement practices that manifest diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Please share any other thoughts and comments you may have about JAHC, the New JACC, or the arts and culture in Juneau.

JAAC questionaire