See where City Council candidates stand on the arts

October 25, 2011

The Tucson Pima Arts Council and Arizona Citizens for the Arts recently surveyed City Council candidates on their thoughts about city support for the arts. The candidates were asked seven questions. Here are the answers:

Question 1 Most recent national research has found local public arts support at an average of $6 per capita. At this national average, Tucson population of slightly more than 520,000 would suggest local public sector support of $3,120,000. Would you support increasing the Tucson Pima Arts Council budget to $1 per capita in FY2013, resulting in city funding of $520,000?

COUNCIL MEMBERS

Ward One: Regina Romero, Democrat– No. We are living in the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression and unfortunately, it has taken its toll on every program, including the Arts. The City of Tucson has reduced its workforce by 1,000 positions since 2007 and has relied on nine furlough days from employees, and extensive sacrifices from all departments AND partner organizations like the Tucson Pima Arts Council, to balance the budget. I wish this wasn’t the case. While I am 100 percent supportive of the Arts, I cannot commit to increasing funding for the Arts or any other program at this time.

Ward Two: Paul Cunningham, Democrat – Yes, I support increasing the funding of the Tucson Pima Arts Council budget to $1 per person, should the budget allow it. There are possible issues with committing to a locked-in funding, however, restoring arts funding is important

Ward Three: Karen Uhlich, Democrat – Yes. I believe it can reach or exceed this amount particularly through the 1% on transportation projects for public art.

Ward Four: Shirley Scott, Democrat – No. I cannot support increased funding to any outside agency until such time as the economy improves and the City can restore full funding to the core services it is charged by the City Charter to provide to the citizens. Once the City services are fully restored I would be open to considering how our community can better enhance our sense of place and creative culture.

Ward Five: Richard Fimbres, Democrat – No. With a current budget deficit and the potential for reductions in state shared revenues by the Arizona Legislature it is not feasible to make any commitment.

Ward Six: Steve Kozachik, Republican – Yes – contingent. Cannot answer in a budgetary vacuum. Needs to be assessed along with all other competing interests each fiscal year.

 

CANDIDATES

Mayor: Mary DeCamp, Green Candidate – (Did not respond to specific questions. See overall comments at end of this survey recap.)

Mayor: Rick Grinnell, Republican Candidate – After we address the basic services and get people employed. (See overall comments at end of this survey recap.)

Mayor: Jonathan Rothchild, Democrat Candidate – I support increasing local public sector funding for the arts when sufficient funding is available to do so. Local public funding for the arts should be strategic – for example, arts education for youth and underserved communities, arts that attract tourism and arts that make Tucson more aesthetically pleasing, which is both good for the community and for promoting business.

Ward 1: Beryl Baker, Green Candidate – Yes. However, the current economy puts constraints on how much money the City has available. There are many worthy organizations that need money and in the past the city has had the money to give some assistance to many of them. In the current economic situation balancing all the city’s responsibilities to the citizens have to be weighed with the needs of all the worthy organizations. However, the Arts are important as they mirror the level of civilization a society has. As we come together and work our way out of the recession, the Arts should be given increased funding. Meanwhile, would seek to encourage the part of the private sector with money to offer more help through being patrons of the Arts.                                               

Ward 4: Tyler Vogt, Republican Candidate – No. The city’s funding responsibilities are public safety, public works and public services.  Support for the arts should come from private patrons rather than taxpayers.

Question 2Would you support increasing the budget to $2 per person, just one-third of the national average?  If so, how soon?

COUNCIL MEMBERS

Ward One: Regina Romero, Democrat– I cannot support it right now. I don’t know when we will get out of this economic crisis. I am hopeful for 2012 but cannot predict the economy at this time.

Ward Two: Paul Cunningham, Democrat – Same as number 1. The ability to fund the arts for over $1 million dollars would be ideal, but very difficult in this economy.

Ward Three: Karen Uhlich, Democrat – Again, I will be advocating intensive infrastructure investments to leverage more for public art over the 2012-2013 cycles.

Ward Four: Shirley Scott, Democrat – No. I could not support this for the same reasons given in my answer to question 1.

Ward Five: Richard Fimbres, Democrat – No. Budget deficits and declining revenues do not make any commitment now feasible.

Ward Six: Steve Kozachik, Republican – When and if General Fund core services can be fully funded – as with Question 1, this is a balancing act that can’t be tied to a prescribed calendar “how soon.”

 

CANDIDATES

Mayor: Mary DeCamp, Green Candidate – (Did not respond to specific questions. See overall comments at end of this survey recap.)

Mayor: Rick Grinnell, Republican Candidate – Not at this time. (See overall comments at end of this survey recap.)

Mayor: Jonathan Rothchild, Democratic Candidate – See my answer to #1 above.

Ward One: Beryl Baker, Green Candidate – See answer in question 1. The Arts should be a part of the bigger picture to bring the community together to plan for what the public’s vision is for Tucson’s future. Hopefully in 2 to 3 years our economy will be able to afford to provide moneys at the previous levels or higher that the Arts Community needs to provide culture and refinement to society.

Ward Four: Tyler Vogt, Republican Candidate – No.

Question 3Please describe what you believe is the appropriate role for the City of Tucson in fostering arts and culture for our citizens and visitors:

COUNCIL MEMBERS

Ward One: Regina Romero, Democrat– Providing funding for the Arts is part of the City’s role, and I have promoted Arts funding since I was elected. In this tough economic crisis I am working with my colleagues to provide leadership and vision for celebrating the arts, people, nature and culture as an economic driver for Tucson. I am proud to champion Tucson as a place for arts, culture, music and festivals such as El Dia De San Juan, All Souls Procession, Fiesta Grande, the Cesar Chavez March and Rally and Tucson’s Birthday Celebrations. I support the City’s involvement in promoting these and other events such as mariachi festivals and a Downtown with diversity. I look for grants for funding to support our history, such as Mission Gardens and Tucson Origins Heritage Park and seek funding for grants to artists through TPAC and the MTCVB, and so much more.

Ward Two: Paul Cunningham, Democrat – The City of Tucson should play a role in empowering people to enjoy and participate in the arts. This support includes but is not limited to community support, city financial support, and supporting and collaborating with the local education system through the arts.

Ward Three: Karen Uhlich, Democrat – The shift to truly designate TPAC as our arts and cultural coordinating entity will, I believe, advance our shared cause. This will help the city promote arts/cultural attractions (as designated now in MTCVB agreement), document economic impacts, and communicate the value of investments.

Ward Four: Shirley Scott, Democrat – I do believe that our Arts community, and the art that is created by it, is of tremendous cultural, economic, and educational value.  I believe that the City should provide support in partnership with the other municipal and governmental members of our region when we are financially able and after we have met our obligation to fully fund core services.

Ward Five: Richard Fimbres, Democrat – Having venues such as the Leo Rich, TCC Music Hall and others, working with TPAC and other arts groups and to encourage private donors to contribute to the arts and arts programs. If funding permits, to give funding as well but during these tough economic times, the City can’t give as much as it had.

Ward Six: Steve Kozachik, Republican – We fund MTCVB – they need to do more with what we provide to them. We give lease consideration at far below market rate to non-profits. We continued to fund TPAC, visual and performance art, Access T.V., City ordinance giving a percent of capital projects to public art.

 

CANDIDATES

Mayor: Mary DeCamp, Green Candidate – (Did not respond to specific questions. See overall comments at end of this survey recap.)

Mayor: Rick Grinnell, Republican Candidate – (Did not respond to this question. See overall comments at end of this survey recap.)

Mayor: Jonathan Rothchild, Democratic Candidate – See my answer to #1 above.

Ward One: Beryl Baker, Green Candidate – Recognize that the Arts define how civilized we are. Traditionally throughout the ages government as well as the rich have been the patrons of the Arts. In the last decades or so the City of Tucson has enacted opportunities within road projects to support the Arts community. I would like to see those continue as projects come on line. As you mention, the City has buildings it maintains which the different venues use. The City should remain in that role. The wide range of Arts and Culture in Tucson not only improves our quality of life, but helps to define who we are as a city and where we are going.  The diversity that is Tucson needs to be expressed through the arts so that people can understand each other, accept each other and take pleasure in the differences that exist.  The Arts community as much as any other group shoulders this responsibility of bridging the gaps between peoples.  The City of Tucson needs to understand the intangibles that the arts community offers.

Ward Four: Tyler Vogt, Republican Candidate – The City of Tucson’s role in fostering arts and culture for our citizens and visitors should be to offer public venues for exhibits or performances that will generate revenue for the city.

 

Question 4 Since 1989, the Tucson Pima Arts Council has managed a public art program funded by a designated 1% percent of the city’s capital improvement budget. This program is recognized internationally for enhancing the city’s public facilities and spaces, creating the city’s identity and attractiveness as a desirable place to live and visit. Do you support continuation of the city’s public art program?

 

COUNCIL MEMBERS

Ward On: Regina Romero, Democrat– Yes. I think this program is an amazing success. I congratulate the Tucson Pima Arts Council, the artists, the City of Tucson, Pima County and Transportation Director Jim Glock for the beautiful work we have done and will continue to do.

Ward Two: Paul Cunningham, Democrat – YES.

Ward Three: Karen Uhlich, Democrat – Yes.

Ward Four: Shirley Scott, Democrat – Yes.

Ward Five: Richard Fimbres, Democrat – Yes. But with oversight, review and transparency. Case in point, the proposed trolley stops. Everything must be explained to the people and the Mayor and Council.

Ward Six: Steve Kozachik, Republican – Yes.

 

CANDIDATES

Mayor: Mary DeCamp, Green Candidate – (Did not respond to specific questions. See overall comments at end of this survey recap.)

Mayor: Rick Grinnell, Republican Candidate – (Did not respond to this question. See overall comments at end of this survey recap.)

Mayor: Jonathan Rothchild, Democratic Candidate – Yes. 

Ward One: Beryl Baker, Green Candidate – Yes. The public arts program should be used to support local artists not artists from a different community. When artists work with the neighborhoods and involve citizens in the conception and design of an art project, the art can reflect the character, history and/or desire and ownership feelings of that neighborhood. Often this ownership and pride in the project can help in its maintenance and prevent vandalism.

Ward Four: Tyler Vogt, Republican Candidate – No. Rather than designating a fixed percentage of the budget to be spent on art, each capital improvement proposal should include a line item for artistic allocation.  It would be the responsibility of the respondents to balance the cost to benefit and define the artistic content.

Question 5 – Currently, there is no public money allocated for maintenance and repair of public art installations, which are city assets. Would you support allocating funds for maintenance of the city’s public art collection?  (If no, do you have other ideas on how to maintain public artworks?)

 

COUNCIL MEMBERS

Ward One: Regina Romero, Democrat– Yes. The maintenance issue is necessary for all our city assets, including public art. We should include a maintenance question with appropriate funding on a future city or county bond election (maybe in conjunction with city parks) and we should continue to push for more funding for the Arts every budget cycle to make this happen.

Ward Two: Paul Cunningham, Democrat – Yes, should the budget allow for it. Core needs take priority when it comes to maintenance funding, but sometimes maintenance of public art is just as important as building maintenance.

Ward Three: Karen Uhlich, Democrat – Yes. I’d like to work together to verify best approach (integrate into infrastructure/roads maintenance budget?)

Ward Four: Shirley Scott, Democrat – Yes. The City should be incorporating the costs of maintenance for public art installations in the budgets of the departments responsible for the maintenance of the projects for which the art was created and installed.  Maintenance costs must be considered prior to the selection of any public art design as the City’s general fund is highly variable at the best of times and most maintenance functions are paid for from this fund.

Ward Five: Richard Fimbres, Democrat – If budgetary circumstances permit a review by the Mayor and Council on a potential policy, perhaps.

Ward Six: Steve Kozachik, Republican – Yes. This might have to be a function of the 1 percent until we climb out of our budget hole.

 

CANDIDATES

Mayor: Mary DeCamp, Green Candidate – (Did not respond to specific questions. See overall comments at end of this survey recap.)

Mayor: Rick Grinnell, Republican Candidate – (Did not respond to this question. See overall comments at end of this survey recap.)

Mayor: Jonathan Rothchild, Democratic Candidate – Yes.

Ward One: Beryl Baker, Green Candidate – No. Public arts should be made so they need little maintenance. For vandalism, yes public monies may be an option though as throughout history if patrons or citizen fund raising could be found to fund repairs that would help create community pride and feelings of ownership.

Ward Four: Tyler Vogt, Republican Candidate No. Public pieces of art can be sold to private entities to generate funds and move the maintenance requirements to those owners.

 

Question 6 Do you believe the city-owned arts and cultural facilities are sufficient (e.g., Temple of Music and Art, Leo Rich, Tucson Musical Hall, Children’s Museum)?

 

COUNCIL MEMBERS

Ward One: Regina Romero, Democrat – No. I have been pleased to support new arts and cultural facilities nearly every year I have been on the City Council – mostly Downtown. We supported public requests for proposals for both MOCA and the Historic Warehouse Arts District in the past three years, as well as turning down proposals to change the Rialto Theatre. I foresee the need for more cultural facilities in the future, especially in other parts of the City.

Ward Two: Paul Cunningham, Democrat – No, facilities are inadequate. I would like to see more arts facilities located in other parts of the city. We have great facilities downtown and at Reid Park, but more facilities are needed east of Craycroft and west of I-10.

Ward Three: Karen Uhlich, Democrat – I would defer to TPAC on that question; I do think the venues we have remain under-utilized to an extent and that there are additional venues that could be opened up (such as juried Performance Art in public places and transit centers, etc.)

Ward Four: Shirley Scott, Democrat– Many of the facilities that the City owns are in need of restoration and updating.  I have been and will continue to be open to the ideas for arts venues/facilities that are brought forward by Tucson’s creative community.

Ward Five: Richard Fimbres, Democrat – Yes.

Ward Six: Steve Kozachik, Republican – I believe Leo Rich and Music Hall need better management. Possibly tied together with the Fox and co-managed by an outside agency through an RFP – worth considering.

 

CANDIDATES

Mayor: Mary DeCamp, Green Candidate – (Did not respond to specific questions. See overall comments at end of this survey recap.)

Mayor: Rick Grinnell, Republican Candidate – (Did not respond to this question. See overall comments at end of this survey recap.)

Mayor: Democratic Candidate Jonathan Rothchild – No. City facilities need to be maintained and upgraded, and made available to local arts groups.

Ward 1: Beryl Baker, Green Candidate – These facilities named are underutilized and the neighborhood centers throughout Tucson should be made more available for both children and adult art classes, productions and exhibits.  The partnership between the Arts Community and the City should be a natural result when the City of Tucson really understands its importance.

Ward 4: Tyler Vogt, Republican Candidate – Yes.

 

Question 7 – Please describe your personal involvement in the arts, as a participant, patron, performer, educator, etc.

 

COUNCIL MEMBERS

Ward One: Regina Romero, Democrat– My vision for Tucson’s future is one where we celebrate the arts, people, nature and culture as an economic driver for Tucson. I have also been a strong supporter of Independent films. Last year I was the Honorary Chair for Tucson’s 20th Annual International Film Festival. My husband is a film director and I was an actress in his film Pancho Goes to College. It was filmed at the U of A and around Tucson. I also have championed the Tucson Historic Warehouse Arts District – to save historic buildings and provided affordable artist space. I promote the 1 percent for arts program at every opportunity I can. I am a strong supporter of the Arts.

Ward Two: Paul Cunningham, Democrat – I am a long-time season ticket holder at the Temple of Music and Art and a long-time supporter of Scrappy’s. I also have a long history of supporting youth performance art.

Ward Three: Karen Uhlich, Democrat – Patron of a number of performance arts groups and museums… I show up recognizing how the arts/culture of Tucson enrich my own life. Frequent attendee of cultural/civic events for same reason!

Ward Four: Shirley Scot, Democrat – During my formal education years I participated in many theatrical productions and directed theater at college.  I have studied art history and during my stay in Europe I visited every art museum that I could.  Recently I worked with City and County staffs to fund and build the Children’s Outdoor Performance area at Lincoln Park. I continue to have a strong interest in the accessibility and availability of arts experiences in all forms for all citizens.  I have had a strong working relationship with TPAC during my service as Council Member through programs like Artworks and through public art projects in Ward 4.   I hope to continue that relationship.

Ward Five: Richard Fimbres, Democrat – Patron of Borderlands. Served on TPAC board for many years.

Ward Six: Steve Kozachik, Republican – When I had time – pre 2009 – performance/music.  Still at concert groupie, despite lowering the average age by 20 years at each show. Mother – painter. Brother – film/Tim Burton Stop-motion Films.

 

CANDIDATES

Mayor: Mary DeCamp, Green Candidate – (Did not respond to specific questions. See overall comments at end of this survey recap.)

Mayor: Rick Grinnell, Republican Candidate – (Did not respond to this question. See overall comments at end of this survey recap.)

Mayor: Jonathan Rothchild, Democratic Candidate – I write poetry. I regularly attend performances at the Rogue Theatre, the Invisible Theatre, the Arizona Theatre Company and the Poetry Center, as well as concerts at the Rialto and the Fox. My wife and I attend many arts and cultural events.

Ward One: Beryl Baker, Green Candidate – Studied art originally in mind to become an artist.  Started playing French horn in 4th grade and continued playing it for 36 years in symphonies and concert bands, like principal in Beavers Tucson Concert Band which played at the World’s Fair in Australia.

Ward Four: Tyler Vogt, Republican Candidate – I was a performer (piano soloist) during my youth.

 

 

SUPPLEMENTAL COMMENTS SUBMITTED

 

Mayor: Mary DeCamp, Green Candidate – Given the late date of receipt on your request and my incredibly crowded schedule, I will have to make this response much briefer than I would prefer. I have seen the drummers perform by the AZ State Museum on the UA Campus and I was thrilled with the experience. I believe deeply that arts are a central component of a good life and that support for and celebration of art and culture must be a priority for a civilized society. Unfortunately, I feel our civilization is slipping into a more barbaric state that chokes off monetary support for art.  I would love to work as Mayor to reverse that trend. I think that Tucson’s thriving and vibrant cultural community is a treasure that draws tourists to our city.  I think it is a source of deep pleasure and spiritual enrichment for our citizens.  I believe most people WANT art in their neighborhoods and in their lives. If elected and if my plan of Community Conservation Centers is adopted, there WILL BE physical space given over to support the arts.  Non-profits will be given the resources they so sorely need to thrive.  More citizens will be exposed to the arts.  Music, dance, performance art, murals, sculpture, poetry slams, painting, and the myriad other creative expressions will be exalted. The first thing I would propose is to replace the art display in the Mayor and City Council Chamber at 255 W. Alameda.  The current display devoted to military conquest would be replaced with much more life-affirming art.

I apologize I do not have the time to delve more deeply into my plans to support arts and culture.  Please believe how passionate I am in my belief that art changes lives for the better and needs our support across all levels.

 

Mayor: Rick Grinnell, Republican Candidate – Thank you for the invitation to address the Arizona Citizens Action for the Arts community.  I appreciate the passion and commitment that you have made to expand and enhance a much valued experience by our citizens. In reviewing your questionnaire I realize the focus is on taxpayer investment and I believe our local government can and should participate. The bigger question however, should be how, and this is why I am preparing an overview versus addressing specific financial requests. I have reviewed and written three alternative City budgets over the last 16 years and I have always been concerned with the process of contributing to so many organizations instead of unifying the resources.

Given the status of the City budget, I believe we should focus on the priorities of the Core Services established by the City Council in 2006. The City is not in a financial position to be giving funds to each independent organization or setting aside specific commitments as we have done for so many years. Having said this, I believe the City can participate in a positive way, so please don’t interrupt my concerns as negative. Since arts and culture are considered as an economic generator this opportunity should be included in my plan to bring all the economic development entities, including the arts and entertainment communities under one plan of action. Funding can be better coordinated and many programs can cooperate to maximize public and private partnerships. The City budget process should be inclusive by category versus independently funding different organizations.  And since arts are important part of our education environment this strategy can be adopted by our school districts. The capital improvement percentage and maintenance should be reevaluated as one effort instead of two separate operations. So many times grants allow for initial development but the stress of maintenance of these improvements is left to the general funds, which in the current budget situation… We need to find a way to develop projects that include the maintenance within the established 1 percent, consider some in-kind options and coordinate better with the private sector to offset the shortfalls. The City-owned arts and cultural facilities need to come under one budget to include the entities within the Rio Nuevo purview, i.e., the Rialto and the Fox theaters.  I have advocated an Entertainment Management District to oversee and coordinate with each venue in order to maximize marketing and operational budgets. Each of these fine facilities have much to offer and a better synchronized marketing strategy can bring in more for the public and our visitors to enjoy. Further, the Metropolitan Tucson Visitors and Convention Bureau should be incorporated in this structure. We have so much talent to make this happen and I will work with you all to make this a reality if this is something you would consider. Musicals, plays and dance are my favorite entertainment and I personally budget for contributions that expand these efforts in schools and through the various organizations that produce quality entertainment. In closing, I have confidence we can find the resources needed to not only maintain quality arts and cultural programs and events, but to expand these community benefits. But we must do better in coordinating our resources to get the most of not only the public investment but the private investment as well. Again, thank you for the opportunity to respond.

 

 

 

Share on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInPin on Pinterest