Candidates for 2018 General Election

Things to know before you go vote

Be informed. Be engaged. Vote.

To help educate voters, we asked this year’s candidates to complete a brief questionnaire about issues facing the cultural community. Candidates shared their feedback on public funding, education, economic development and personal experience related to arts and culture.

Learn where the candidates stand on arts and culture:

Mecklenburg County Board of Commissioners

North Carolina Senate

North Carolina House of Representatives

 


 

Candidates for Mecklenburg County Board of Commissioners

 

Susan B. Harden

2018 candidate for Board of Commissioners, District 5

Please share a meaningful experience you have had with art (visual, dance, drama, music, media arts), sciences or history and its impact on you.
I participated in the Innovation Institute at the McColl Center.  I was experiencing a creativity block in my teaching (I am a professor at UNC Charlotte in the College of Education). The experience helped me push through my block, took some risks, and created an award winning curriculum.  I actually started calling myself a curriculum artist.

What role, if any, does arts, science and history play in advancing your vision for Mecklenburg County?
Arts, Sciences, and History play a major role in the vitality of Mecklenburg County.

Do you support public funding of arts, science, history, and heritage programs by Mecklenburg County through funding of ASC? Please explain.muj
Absolutely.  The current allocation of $350,000 for Studio 345 should be expanded. I would like to see investments in school visits to ASC affiliated programs restored.

Beginning in 2015, Mecklenburg County provided funding through ASC to support the Culture Blocks program. This unique partnership between ASC, Mecklenburg County Park & Recreation, and Charlotte Mecklenburg Library provides cultural programming in neighborhoods with low participation in cultural experiences.
Based on the success of the program, the Mecklenburg Board of County Commissioners has increased funding each year to expand Culture Blocks to nine geographic areas of the county.
Do you support continuation of the Culture Blocks program and expansion for all residents of Mecklenburg County? Please explain.
Yes

According to the most recent Arts & Economic Impact Study, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg cultural community generated $243 million in economic activity during fiscal year 2015. This activity also supports over 7,600 full-time equivalent jobs and generates $21.6 million in tax revenue for local and state government.
Please explain your vision for how the arts, science, and history play a significant role in Mecklenburg County’s economic development strategy.
The BOCC should ask county agencies to connect their work in deeper, creative, and innovative ways to the cultural sector.


Bill James

2018 candidate for Board of Commissioners, District 6

Please share a meaningful experience you have had with art (visual, dance, drama, music, media arts), sciences or history and its impact on you.
I have been exposed to art throughout my life. My great-grandmother painted and made intricate quilts. My grandmother sculpted. They both did these things because they wanted to. My wife and I gave our daughters ballet lessons as children to expose them to the arts. I was on the ASC board in the 1990’s. I was in the Vanguard Society and contributed to the Blumenthal (also during the 90’s). One of my daughters took art (drawing) lessons for years. She is now an art (objects) conservator. I am in the process of conserving two very rare Lannuier dining room chairs (circa 1815) handed down from my wife’s family. For me, ‘the arts’ that are publicly funded with tax dollars has a place in society but it has to reflect the society it is in.

What role, if any, does arts, science and history play in advancing your vision for Mecklenburg County?
Mecklenburg County already spends quite a bit on the arts. We fund the ASC and various related groups, we maintain Spirit Square and subsidize various groups renting there. We also fund edcuational arts via CMS’ supplement. We have a capital fund that allocates a portion of bond money to art projects when a building/park/library is built (as part of the construction cost). However, just because a group wants funding doesn’t mean it is feasible for the County to do so all the time. The public has a choice in what it chooses to fund, just as arts leadership has a responsibility to insure that money is spent wisely. 500 years ago artists would have ‘patrons’, wealthy individuals such as the Medici family who sponsored art. Today, when government funds art it requires, like the patrons of old, that the artistic groups follow community rules in exchange for that money. It is the ‘Government Golden rule’ – if you take government (public) money, you take government rules over how that money is spent.

Do you support public funding of arts, science, history, and heritage programs by Mecklenburg County through funding of ASC? Please explain.
I have supported arts funding via the ASC (and other avenues). I wish we had more local ‘history’. The fact is that when you take public money you also take public rules. Often what causes friction between the arts community and the public at-large is a lack of understanding by artists of the limitations on public money. As long as public money is used responsibly and isn’t viewed by the public as offensive or political I think that public funding works. It is up to the ASC to bridge that gap and insure that what is produced with public money meets community standards.

Beginning in 2015, Mecklenburg County provided funding through ASC to support the Culture Blocks program. This unique partnership between ASC, Mecklenburg County Park & Recreation, and Charlotte Mecklenburg Library provides cultural programming in neighborhoods with low participation in cultural experiences.
Based on the success of the program, the Mecklenburg Board of County Commissioners has increased funding each year to expand Culture Blocks to nine geographic areas of the county.
Do you support continuation of the Culture Blocks program and expansion for all residents of Mecklenburg County? Please explain.
The Culture Blocks program is just another term for how arts money gets distributed. Allocation of money under the Culture Blocks program is fine as long as there is accountability for the amount provided and a skeptical public believes that the money is being spent wisely. I admit to reservations about how some of this money is spent. Realistically, the real question is whether money should be allocated to one form of art such as the Opera or Theatre (or other traditional ASC items) or fund Culture Blocks. There is a finite amount of money that government can provide and the allocation should be spent on what the community values the most. I do not know if the Culture Blocks program is considered successful yet. I think the determination on that is still out. I would continue funding at existing levels IF the program is determined to be successful. I would not raise taxes to increase funding to the arts. I would not levy an extra sales tax to subsidize the arts (this was mentioned in past years as a proposal). How much money the arts gets is, in part, a function of the overall outlook in the economy. After the 2008 downturn, most areas of the budget were trimmed including the arts and Education.

According to the most recent Arts & Economic Impact Study, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg cultural community generated $243 million in economic activity during fiscal year 2015. This activity also supports over 7,600 full-time equivalent jobs and generates $21.6 million in tax revenue for local and state government.
Please explain your vision for how the arts, science, and history play a significant role in Mecklenburg County’s economic development strategy.
I do not believe that ‘economic development’ is the correct yardstick to measure how the arts should be funded. Most any significant economic activity will generate jobs and tax revenue. The choice is not between Amazon and the arts; it is really about how much funding should the arts receive relative to other items in the budget.  Many items in the County budget related to welfare funding and there is no ED model for that. We fund welfare because it is the right thing to do to help our neighbors in need. The arts are similar to welfare. Framing arts as an issue based on ‘Economic Development’ runs the risk of equating the arts to just some business opportunity. In 2005, the arts tried to tie themselves to a new Arena and the public voted it down at the ballot box even though ‘Economic Development’ was listed as reason for both. It is fair to point out that the arts businesses produce economic development dollars but I would not measure arts funding using ED.


Patricia (Pat) Cotham

2018 candidate for Board of Commissioners, At-Large

Please share a meaningful experience you have had with art (visual, dance, drama, music, media arts), sciences or history and its impact on you.
I have had so many so I will talk about my first! It was 1958 and I went with my class downtown to hear the city orchestra. I remember the conductor telling the story behind the music. It impacted me.

What role, if any, does arts, science and history play in advancing your vision for Mecklenburg County?
To me the arts are woven into our joy and our pain. Last week I went to the Motown Concert in the West Charlotte Culture Block. Seeing seniors smiling and dancing and singing reduces their stress and surely their blood pressure. Year after year when I go to Studio 345 graduation I see teens who are able to express their thoughts and themselves in poetry, music, dance etc. They will be able to express themselves better in college, at a job, in their families and with their friends because of that program. All of these things holistically affect people resulting in a renewed spirit and hope. With that they can accomplish anything and they will respond better to services the County provides.

Do you support public funding of arts, science, history, and heritage programs by Mecklenburg County through funding of ASC? Please explain.
Yes…but the arts needs to be “on the street” as it has been in recent years. I remember complaining that everything seemed to be uptown and people in struggling neighborhoods were not going to join in. I wanted you to meet them where they were and you exceeded my expectations. I remember years ago going to your first culture block events. So please keep it up and expand it! I will be one of your biggest supporters.

Beginning in 2015, Mecklenburg County provided funding through ASC to support the Culture Blocks program. This unique partnership between ASC, Mecklenburg County Park & Recreation, and Charlotte Mecklenburg Library provides cultural programming in neighborhoods with low participation in cultural experiences.
Based on the success of the program, the Mecklenburg Board of County Commissioners has increased funding each year to expand Culture Blocks to nine geographic areas of the county.
Do you support continuation of the Culture Blocks program and expansion for all residents of Mecklenburg County? Please explain.
I believe I explained in previous question. I have attended many of these events and I love them m!

According to the most recent Arts & Economic Impact Study, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg cultural community generated $243 million in economic activity during fiscal year 2015. This activity also supports over 7,600 full-time equivalent jobs and generates $21.6 million in tax revenue for local and state government.
Please explain your vision for how the arts, science, and history play a significant role in Mecklenburg County’s economic development strategy.
I was aware of the impact of the Arts on jobs and economic development from my seven years as a trustee on the Blumenthal Board. I don’t think people understand the impact. The business of the arts needs more attention. Let’s work together to educate our community and build a strategy.


Jim Puckett

2018 Candidate for Board of Commissioners, District 1

Please share a meaningful experience you have had with art (visual, dance, drama, music, media arts), sciences or history and its impact on you.
Night Watch at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine  New York  featuring a recital with The Great Organ (chaperon for youth mission trip)

What role, if any, does arts, science and history play in advancing your vision for Mecklenburg County?
I was on board of commission when we started policy of 1% of all capital projects incorporationg art.  I have been an advisor to the May 20th Society for years as well as Vice Chair of Rural Hill for over a decade. I was involved with the formation and funding of the Historic Landmarks Commission and am currently working to have the Charters of Freedom located in the county.  Art and History are extremely critical in a growing communtiy and special attention to who can and will fund those activities needs to be monitored.  There are times only the county or city can provide what is needed but we need to remailn vigilant so the taxpayer is there when needed but after we have exhaused opportunities fo the public at large to donate.  This keeps the funding a fluid as possible and maintains our opportunities for aciton when needed.

Do you support public funding of arts, science, history, and heritage programs by Mecklenburg County through funding of ASC? Please explain.
See above

Beginning in 2015, Mecklenburg County provided funding through ASC to support the Culture Blocks program. This unique partnership between ASC, Mecklenburg County Park & Recreation, and Charlotte Mecklenburg Library provides cultural programming in neighborhoods with low participation in cultural experiences.
Based on the success of the program, the Mecklenburg Board of County Commissioners has increased funding each year to expand Culture Blocks to nine geographic areas of the county.
Do you support continuation of the Culture Blocks program and expansion for all residents of Mecklenburg County? Please explain.
I have supported but like all line items in our budget or based on a year by year assestment of need and assets available.

According to the most recent Arts & Economic Impact Study, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg cultural community generated $243 million in economic activity during fiscal year 2015. This activity also supports over 7,600 full-time equivalent jobs and generates $21.6 million in tax revenue for local and state government.
Please explain your vision for how the arts, science, and history play a significant role in Mecklenburg County’s economic development strategy.
We need to do more in the history arena.  Mecklenburg is maturing into a community with growing privite funds for art ans we need to celebrate those investments and make sure we as a county capture all opportunities to work with the privite sector to supplement our govenmental invesments.  As we grow there is an expectation of greater cultural offerings and we need to maintain our commitment to working those offerings into opportunites to expand our tourism industry and the opportunity for job growth in this sector (as well as job in the “arts” sector.


Susan Rodriguez McDowell

2018 Candidate for Board of Commissioners, District 6

Please share a meaningful experience you have had with art (visual, dance, drama, music, media arts), sciences or history and its impact on you.
My Bachelor’s degree is in Fine Arts.  I studied drawing, painting and photography at UNC Charlotte.  My life continues to be profoundly impacted by art.  Recently I went to a powerful exhibition at the Harvey B. Gantt Center.  There were 3 exhibits which were a perfect blend of bringing the past, the present and the future of the African American story in Charlotte together.  It used photography, media arts, and storytelling. This kind of work has so much to teach us about ourselves, no matter what our background.  I was moved by the story, the visual beauty, and the message of the works.

What role, if any, does arts, science and history play in advancing your vision for Mecklenburg County?
To have a sense of soul, the Charlotte area needs ways for residents to interact across barriers.  Charlotte is powerfully segregated – the arts can play a major role in changing that.  Mecklenburg County is rich with potential because of it’s growingly diverse population.  My vision would be one where diversity is explored, celebrated, nourished and embraced through the arts.  Engagement with art, science and history should be readily available to all no matter their walk in life or zip code – it should not be a series of isolated experiences. It should be valued in our schools on a similar par with sports and academics. It needs to be part of our fabric.

Do you support public funding of arts, science, history, and heritage programs by Mecklenburg County through funding of ASC? Please explain.
Yes. The ASC plays a crucial role in our community and it should be supported.  Bringing together the lessons and richness of our past, along with a clear vision of the present with an eye toward the future is a monumental endeavor.  It must be met with resources equal to the task. Art brings people together, it brings richness to life, it has the power to unite communities and it also provides vision for what the future can be.  This is worth investing in.

Beginning in 2015, Mecklenburg County provided funding through ASC to support the Culture Blocks program. This unique partnership between ASC, Mecklenburg County Park & Recreation, and Charlotte Mecklenburg Library provides cultural programming in neighborhoods with low participation in cultural experiences.
Based on the success of the program, the Mecklenburg Board of County Commissioners has increased funding each year to expand Culture Blocks to nine geographic areas of the county.
Do you support continuation of the Culture Blocks program and expansion for all residents of Mecklenburg County? Please explain.
Absolutely.  Access to the arts should be available to all, and accessibly integrated into every corner of the community – this seems to be the idea behind the Culture Blocks program. Neighborhood based investment strengthens both the neighborhoods and the collective whole and enhances our quality of life.  I am glad the County has supported expanding the program and I would support continuing it’s success.

According to the most recent Arts & Economic Impact Study, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg cultural community generated $243 million in economic activity during fiscal year 2015. This activity also supports over 7,600 full-time equivalent jobs and generates $21.6 million in tax revenue for local and state government.
Please explain your vision for how the arts, science, and history play a significant role in Mecklenburg County’s economic development strategy.
Creativity is a driver for all kinds of progress! The arts need to be a valued part of the fabric of our community.  The arts create soul and that is what is missing in Charlotte.  To me, it feels like cultural events in Charlotte are a “thing to do” for the wealthy, as opposed to an integral part of life that brings people together across divisions.  People are drawn to environments rich with expression and creativity.  I would like to hear the voices of the arts community and find out what they see as their path forward toward more economic development and prosperity.  My vision would include active listening and participation with those voices.  These are the things that enrich our lives and make our county a destination for new residents and economic development.  The numbers above reveal the economic power of the arts – the value is real!


Trevor M. Fuller

2018 Candidate for Board of Commissioners, At-Large

Please share a meaningful experience you have had with art (visual, dance, drama, music, media arts), sciences or history and its impact on you.
I have been a lover of theater since my youth, and have acted in many plays during middle school, high school, and college. These days, my theatrical experience consists of being a theatergoer. I love it. This is not to slight my fascination with history or science, whether it’s at Discovery Place or the Levine Museum of the New South or any of the many other art galleries, science centers, nature museums, or dance theaters I have savored over the years. I know I am alive when I have these experiences.

What role, if any, does arts, science and history play in advancing your vision for Mecklenburg County?
The arts, science and history are all about who we are as a people and how we view the world around us. It is often said that you cannot know where you are going unless you know where you have been. For example, bringing economic opportunity to all our people is not just a “feel good” initiative, it is essential to our collective prosperity. History tells us that. The arts help inspire us and give meaning to this vision. Science helps tell us how to do it.

Do you support public funding of arts, science, history, and heritage programs by Mecklenburg County through funding of ASC? Please explain.
Yes. I have long believed that the quality of life for all Mecklenburg residents is enhanced and defined by our ability to bring the arts to all our people, no matter their socio-economic status or geography. Public funding is one of the most reliable ways to ensure this is the case.

Beginning in 2015, Mecklenburg County provided funding through ASC to support the Culture Blocks program. This unique partnership between ASC, Mecklenburg County Park & Recreation, and Charlotte Mecklenburg Library provides cultural programming in neighborhoods with low participation in cultural experiences.
Based on the success of the program, the Mecklenburg Board of County Commissioners has increased funding each year to expand Culture Blocks to nine geographic areas of the county.
Do you support continuation of the Culture Blocks program and expansion for all residents of Mecklenburg County? Please explain.
Yes. Culture Blocks has proven to be one of the most innovative ways to provide cultural programming to all parts of the county. In fact, Mecklenburg County recently received national recognition for the Culture Blocks program. I fully support the continuation of this initiative.

According to the most recent Arts & Economic Impact Study, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg cultural community generated $243 million in economic activity during fiscal year 2015. This activity also supports over 7,600 full-time equivalent jobs and generates $21.6 million in tax revenue for local and state government.
Please explain your vision for how the arts, science, and history play a significant role in Mecklenburg County’s economic development strategy.
I believe there is a symbiotic relationship between our cultural offerings and our economic development efforts. It seems basic that people choose to live here, in part, because of our quality of life; our quality of life is defined substantially by the cultural vibrancy of our arts, science, and history offerings. Similarly, providing a robust cultural scene requires us to employ many people, which itself contributes to our economic vitality.


 

Candidates for North Carolina Senate

 

Natasha Marcus

2018 Candidate for NC Senate, District 41

Please share a meaningful experience you have had with art (visual, dance, drama, music, media arts), sciences or history and its impact on you.
I have loved the arts my entire life.  I was a dancer from age 4 through college and did musical theatre and played in the band in school as well.  I am fortunate to have two daughters who also love the arts. My older daughter is a dancer and violinist.  My younger daughter is a songwriter, singer and actress.  They are both taking dance and theatre classes in college now.  Some of my favorite moments have been watching them perform.  I can’t possibly choose one moment, but have been moved to tears many times by the passion and talent I see in my children and the ensembles of which they have been a part.  We all love theatre and get tickets to shows as often as possible, from high school shows, to community theatre, to the Blumenthal, to Broadway.  It’s a big part of our family’s best experiences.

Research has shown that arts education positively affects achievement, discipline, attendance, and graduation rates. Business leaders have indicated that North Carolina’s economy needs a workforce that is not only educated but able to excel in 21st century skills, including innovation and creativity.
Will you support legislation that requires students between grade 6 and grade 12 to complete one arts credit (music, visual art, theatre, dance)? Please explain.
Arts education is essential to a well-rounded education and important to spark creativity and innovation in students’ minds.  The skill of reading music helps math comprehension.  Theater helps with reading comprehension.  So it is all related and critical to good education. I believe all students should have at least one arts credit, so they can discover their passions and talents.  As long as it was not an unfunded mandate, I would support legislation to ensure all students take an arts class.

According to the most recent Arts & Economic Impact Study, North Carolina’s nonprofit cultural community generated $2.1 million in economic activity during fiscal year 2015. This activity provides over $201 million in tax revenues for local and state governments and supports 72,000 NC jobs.
How will you promote the NC non-profit cultural sectors as part of the State’s economic development strategy?
The arts bring both positive social and economic impact, and continue to have a powerful effect across all communities in North Carolina.  I know that one of the big draws to Charlotte is the arts scene here — including the Broadway Lights Series at the Blumenthal, the smaller theatres around the county, the art museums, the concerts, the Charlotte Ballet, and so much more.  Patrons spend money on tickets, dinner, parking, hotels, and more.  Also, the arts start important conversations, bring people together, open minds, and foster understanding of our fellow human beings. There is a great rate of return on the investment the state puts into the arts. I would support the continuation of appropriating funds for art grants as well as exploring opportunities to expand access to the arts that promotes art education.

Funding from the North Carolina Legislature supports important arts programming in Mecklenburg County. In FY17, funds distributed by the North Carolina Arts Council provided close to $1 million in support of organizations such as the Charlotte Symphony, Mint Museum, Opera Carolina, Community School of the Arts, Charlotte Ballet and Children’s Theatre, as well as funding that supported project and operating support grants awarded by ASC throughout Mecklenburg County. Currently, North Carolina invests less than $0.63 per person in arts grants.
How will you support increasing arts grants to be equal to $1 per citizen to create positive outcomes for North Carolina? What leadership will you provide to set a per capita level of funding for statewide initiatives such as this?
I support art grants and am open to hearing about how and whether we should increase the grants beyond 63 cents per person and/or change the way the money is distributed.  Without seeing a comprehensive budget and the details of how the funding would be distributed, I cannot commit at this time to a certain dollar amount or a set distribution model.


Jeff Jackson

2018 candidate for NC Senate, District 37

Please share a meaningful experience you have had with art (visual, dance, drama, music, media arts), sciences or history and its impact on you.
I visited Studio 345 two years ago and it was tremendous. Spoke to several students. It left a significant impression.

Research has shown that arts education positively affects achievement, discipline, attendance, and graduation rates. Business leaders have indicated that North Carolina’s economy needs a workforce that is not only educated but able to excel in 21st century skills, including innovation and creativity.
Will you support legislation that requires students between grade 6 and grade 12 to complete one arts credit (music, visual art, theatre, dance)? Please explain.
Absolutely. Rep. Becky Carney has been the champion here and I support her efforts.

According to the most recent Arts & Economic Impact Study, North Carolina’s nonprofit cultural community generated $2.1 million in economic activity during fiscal year 2015. This activity provides over $201 million in tax revenues for local and state governments and supports 72,000 NC jobs.
How will you promote the NC non-profit cultural sectors as part of the State’s economic development strategy?
You have to build cultural spending into the capital budget. There has to be an up-front understanding that this will be a component of any significant project.

Funding from the North Carolina Legislature supports important arts programming in Mecklenburg County. In FY17, funds distributed by the North Carolina Arts Council provided close to $1 million in support of organizations such as the Charlotte Symphony, Mint Museum, Opera Carolina, Community School of the Arts, Charlotte Ballet and Children’s Theatre, as well as funding that supported project and operating support grants awarded by ASC throughout Mecklenburg County. Currently, North Carolina invests less than $0.63 per person in arts grants.
How will you support increasing arts grants to be equal to $1 per citizen to create positive outcomes for North Carolina? What leadership will you provide to set a per capita level of funding for statewide initiatives such as this?
I think that’s a reasonable goal. I would support indexing that funding to keep up with population.


Joyce Waddell

2018 candidate for NC Senate, District 40

Please share a meaningful experience you have had with art (visual, dance, drama, music, media arts), sciences or history and its impact on you.
I attended the performances by students at Spirit Square, and I was much impressed with the work that they showed from their experiences in the art programs.  I shared this with others as I visited classrooms throughout the Charlotte-Mecklenburg School system.

Research has shown that arts education positively affects achievement, discipline, attendance, and graduation rates. Business leaders have indicated that North Carolina’s economy needs a workforce that is not only educated but able to excel in 21st century skills, including innovation and creativity.
Will you support legislation that requires students between grade 6 and grade 12 to complete one arts credit (music, visual art, theatre, dance)? Please explain.
I will support innovative programs and policies that implement creativity in schools. Statistics show that an arts education improves student performance in reading and math achievement. Students will be trained as leaders in the global economy while developing creative thinking and communication skills. Arts education increases the retention of students and creates a positive school environment.

According to the most recent Arts & Economic Impact Study, North Carolina’s nonprofit cultural community generated $2.1 million in economic activity during fiscal year 2015. This activity provides over $201 million in tax revenues for local and state governments and supports 72,000 NC jobs.
How will you promote the NC non-profit cultural sectors as part of the State’s economic development strategy?
The arts organizations stimulate business development and allow citizens to experience the cultural and educational benefits of arts. The arts infrastructure is a great prosperity generator that can revitalize communities struggling with poverty. I will continue to support public funding for emerging arts and cultural organizations to encourage entrepreneurial business practices, public and private investment, and a creative workforce.

Funding from the North Carolina Legislature supports important arts programming in Mecklenburg County. In FY17, funds distributed by the North Carolina Arts Council provided close to $1 million in support of organizations such as the Charlotte Symphony, Mint Museum, Opera Carolina, Community School of the Arts, Charlotte Ballet and Children’s Theatre, as well as funding that supported project and operating support grants awarded by ASC throughout Mecklenburg County. Currently, North Carolina invests less than $0.63 per person in arts grants.
How will you support increasing arts grants to be equal to $1 per citizen to create positive outcomes for North Carolina? What leadership will you provide to set a per capita level of funding for statewide initiatives such as this?
The arts sector creates a positive impact on our state’s economic development. The arts lead to new job opportunities and generates sales revenue in the local government and state. Talented workers and entrepreneurs contribute to the state’s economy by attracting tourism and consumer spending. North Carolina should continue to sustain public and private partnerships that create a vibrant arts infrastructure and lead our state to economic prosperity. There must be a continuous review of our state’s standards and regulations to protect the health of our business environment. To maintain a business-friendly atmosphere, we must assess the state’s cultural needs and ensure citizens receive fair access to arts resources.


Nora Trotman

2018 candidate for NC Senate, District 37

Please share a meaningful experience you have had with art (visual, dance, drama, music, media arts), sciences or history and its impact on you.

When I was growing up, the annual science fair made everything I’d been learning in the classroom come to life. I remember conducting the experiments each year with my mother, who is a public school teacher, and my younger sister. The entire process from beginning to end was truly a family affair. Having the opportunity to experiment and form my own hypotheses left a lasting impression on how I see the world. I credit my continuous search for progress to both Freeport Elementary School science fairs and teachers.

Research has shown that arts education positively affects achievement, discipline, attendance, and graduation rates. Business leaders have indicated that North Carolina’s economy needs a workforce that is not only educated but able to excel in 21st century skills, including innovation and creativity.
Will you support legislation that requires students between grade 6 and grade 12 to complete one arts credit (music, visual art, theatre, dance)? Please explain.
Yes. Similar to my experiences with the science fair, my grade school art teacher – lovingly called Mrs. Art – showed me how creativity and the arts are critical in understanding our past. I have found that some of the moments in which I learned the most were not in traditional courses, but rather in electives and extracurricular programming. To accommodate all schools in North Carolina, this requirement can be expanded to different topics such as art history, graphic design and computer coding. These classes can also be responsible for incorporating their work into the community to demonstrate the impact art classes have on young people.

According to the most recent Arts & Economic Impact Study, North Carolina’s nonprofit cultural community generated $2.1 million in economic activity during fiscal year 2015. This activity provides over $201 million in tax revenues for local and state governments and supports 72,000 NC jobs.
How will you promote the NC non-profit cultural sectors as part of the State’s economic development strategy?

As part of the General Assembly, I will work to incorporate the arts in our economic development strategy through education. To begin, a statewide educational campaign is needed to bring this information to the masses. Continued growth and sustained success of the non-profit cultural sector depends on delivering the information to North Carolinians. I will also commit to working with senior members of the state senate to bring these programs to the forefront of future economic development plans.

Funding from the North Carolina Legislature supports important arts programming in Mecklenburg County. In FY17, funds distributed by the North Carolina Arts Council provided close to $1 million in support of organizations such as the Charlotte Symphony, Mint Museum, Opera Carolina, Community School of the Arts, Charlotte Ballet and Children’s Theatre, as well as funding that supported project and operating support grants awarded by ASC throughout Mecklenburg County. Currently, North Carolina invests less than $0.63 per person in arts grants.
How will you support increasing arts grants to be equal to $1 per citizen to create positive outcomes for North Carolina? What leadership will you provide to set a per capita level of funding for statewide initiatives such as this?
For arts grants funding to be equal to $1 per citizen, a massive increase in spending would have to occur. This model would favor densely populated areas in the state with a higher concentration of wealth. As a responsible steward of taxpayer money, I would like spending on arts programming to serve as a connection between our urban and rural communities.


Mujtaba A. Mohammed

2018 candidate for NC Senate, District 38

Please share a meaningful experience you have had with art (visual, dance, drama, music, media arts), sciences or history and its impact on you.
I am a proud son of immigrant parents from India. India is widely known across the globe for their Hindi movie industry, popularly known as “Bollywood” and the industry regularly highlights India’s rich cultural history of music, arts, and fashion. Growing up in the Carolinas my parents often went to the local Indian store and rented Bollywood films. Almost every Bollywood film is a musical; includes dance, song, and drama. My experiences as a child watching Bollywood films exposed me to a rich cultural scene and helped me appreciate the diversity and talent that can exist in the arts.

Research has shown that arts education positively affects achievement, discipline, attendance, and graduation rates. Business leaders have indicated that North Carolina’s economy needs a workforce that is not only educated but able to excel in 21st century skills, including innovation and creativity.
Will you support legislation that requires students between grade 6 and grade 12 to complete one arts credit (music, visual art, theatre, dance)? Please explain.
Yes. As a former staff attorney at Council for Children’s Rights, I routinely advocated for our youth entering the criminal justice system through the school-to-prison pipeline to get involved in a prosocial activity that made a positive long-term impact on their lives. Thankfully, several of the children I represented found refuge in the Art & Science Council’s Studio 345 program. The program often inspired the children served through Studio 345 to further pursue their newly discovered interest in the arts beyond the program and into a future career. The experience of witnessing a spark in a child’s career and developmental interests through that opportunity has made me a firmer believer in the importance of ensuring all children are exposed to the arts between grades 6 and 12. In addition, the uptick of focus on STEM programming evidence suggests increased positive outcomes for students when science-based programming is enhanced in coordination with the arts, also known as STEAM. As your next state senator, I am committed to restoring North Carolina’s public schools to their rightful place as a beacon of hope with well-rounded educational experiences for our students to ensure they are prepared for a global economy.

According to the most recent Arts & Economic Impact Study, North Carolina’s nonprofit cultural community generated $2.1 million in economic activity during fiscal year 2015. This activity provides over $201 million in tax revenues for local and state governments and supports 72,000 NC jobs.
How will you promote the NC non-profit cultural sectors as part of the State’s economic development strategy?
As a public interest attorney, I have always seen value in non-profit organizations because of their commitment to serving people and ability to close service gaps in our community. I can never express my appreciation enough to local non-profit organizations that help me provide holistic representation to underprivileged clients through assistance with housing, substance abuse, and job training services. I often spend time educating citizens in our community about several non-profit organizations we are blessed to have in Charlotte and I am always surprised to hear from people that they never knew about the organization or the service they provided to our community. Similarly, non-profit cultural sectors are unsung heroes too due to the lack of recognition they receive for the economic stimulus they provide to local and state economies. As your next state senator, I believe we must promote North Carolina’s non-profit cultural sectors by changing the perception of non-profits as “charity” programs and instead recognize their return on investment for the service they provide within our communities. We can only begin to change perceptions by highlighting non-profit cultural sectors for creating prosperous communities to business and local and state leaders. I am committed to creating increased job growth and enhancing the quality of life in local communities across North Carolina by working with my colleagues in the legislature to increase support for North Carolina’s Art Council through grant funding to help further promote, support, and expand non-profit cultural sectors.

Funding from the North Carolina Legislature supports important arts programming in Mecklenburg County. In FY17, funds distributed by the North Carolina Arts Council provided close to $1 million in support of organizations such as the Charlotte Symphony, Mint Museum, Opera Carolina, Community School of the Arts, Charlotte Ballet and Children’s Theatre, as well as funding that supported project and operating support grants awarded by ASC throughout Mecklenburg County. Currently, North Carolina invests less than $0.63 per person in arts grants.
How will you support increasing arts grants to be equal to $1 per citizen to create positive outcomes for North Carolina? What leadership will you provide to set a per capita level of funding for statewide initiatives such as this?
As your next state senator, I will work with our Mecklenburg County Delegation to increase funding for the arts, but I also believe we need increase awareness and access and remove barriers like the entertainment tax from this sector of our economy. Moreover, our commitment to the arts cannot begin and end at the legislature. That is why we’ve fostered relationships with our city council and county commission to work together to bridge the funding gap and increase access to the arts.

 


 

Candidates for North Carolina House of Representatives

 

Steve Mauney

2018 candidate for NC House of Representatives, District 101

Please share a meaningful experience you have had with art (visual, dance, drama, music, media arts), sciences or history and its impact on you.
My youngest daughter is a published graphics artist.  I completely support any efforts to bring the arts to the forefront

Research has shown that arts education positively affects achievement, discipline, attendance, and graduation rates. Business leaders have indicated that North Carolina’s economy needs a workforce that is not only educated but able to excel in 21st century skills, including innovation and creativity.
Will you support legislation that requires students between grade 6 and grade 12 to complete one arts credit (music, visual art, theatre, dance)? Please explain.
Yes

According to the most recent Arts & Economic Impact Study, North Carolina’s nonprofit cultural community generated $2.1 million in economic activity during fiscal year 2015. This activity provides over $201 million in tax revenues for local and state governments and supports 72,000 NC jobs.
How will you promote the NC non-profit cultural sectors as part of the State’s economic development strategy?
I would seek guidance from recognized arts benefactors

Funding from the North Carolina Legislature supports important arts programming in Mecklenburg County. In FY17, funds distributed by the North Carolina Arts Council provided close to $1 million in support of organizations such as the Charlotte Symphony, Mint Museum, Opera Carolina, Community School of the Arts, Charlotte Ballet and Children’s Theatre, as well as funding that supported project and operating support grants awarded by ASC throughout Mecklenburg County. Currently, North Carolina invests less than $0.63 per person in arts grants.
How will you support increasing arts grants to be equal to $1 per citizen to create positive outcomes for North Carolina? What leadership will you provide to set a per capita level of funding for statewide initiatives such as this?
I would support that legislation


Carla Cunningham

2018 Candidate for NC House of Representatives, District 106

Please share a meaningful experience you have had with art (visual, dance, drama, music, media arts), sciences or history and its impact on you.
I love science, art and history. My love of science influenced my career. My African American studies class gave me a different perspective on slavery. Art and music stimulates my brain to be more creative.

Research has shown that arts education positively affects achievement, discipline, attendance, and graduation rates. Business leaders have indicated that North Carolina’s economy needs a workforce that is not only educated but able to excel in 21st century skills, including innovation and creativity.
Will you support legislation that requires students between grade 6 and grade 12 to complete one arts credit (music, visual art, theatre, dance)? Please explain.
Yes- It is an opportunity for children to be creative.

According to the most recent Arts & Economic Impact Study, North Carolina’s nonprofit cultural community generated $2.1 million in economic activity during fiscal year 2015. This activity provides over $201 million in tax revenues for local and state governments and supports 72,000 NC jobs.
How will you promote the NC non-profit cultural sectors as part of the State’s economic development strategy?
The Arts and Cultural community is important in NC, it stimulates the growth of jobs and economic development in the state.

Funding from the North Carolina Legislature supports important arts programming in Mecklenburg County. In FY17, funds distributed by the North Carolina Arts Council provided close to $1 million in support of organizations such as the Charlotte Symphony, Mint Museum, Opera Carolina, Community School of the Arts, Charlotte Ballet and Children’s Theatre, as well as funding that supported project and operating support grants awarded by ASC throughout Mecklenburg County. Currently, North Carolina invests less than $0.63 per person in arts grants.
How will you support increasing arts grants to be equal to $1 per citizen to create positive outcomes for North Carolina? What leadership will you provide to set a per capita level of funding for statewide initiatives such as this?
I will support arts grants increase per citizen.


Nasif Majeed

2018 candidate for NC House of Representatives, District 99

Please share a meaningful experience you have had with art (visual, dance, drama, music, media arts), sciences or history and its impact on you.
I participated in band activities from elementary school to college.  The experience enhanced my music IQ, interpersonal skills and ability to work together with others in a team environment.

Research has shown that arts education positively affects achievement, discipline, attendance, and graduation rates. Business leaders have indicated that North Carolina’s economy needs a workforce that is not only educated but able to excel in 21st century skills, including innovation and creativity.
Will you support legislation that requires students between grade 6 and grade 12 to complete one arts credit (music, visual art, theatre, dance)? Please explain.
Yes.  I think that arts education is one of the essential components of a well rounded academic curriculum..

According to the most recent Arts & Economic Impact Study, North Carolina’s nonprofit cultural community generated $2.1 million in economic activity during fiscal year 2015. This activity provides over $201 million in tax revenues for local and state governments and supports 72,000 NC jobs.
How will you promote the NC non-profit cultural sectors as part of the State’s economic development strategy?
I will be a positive voice for the arts community and encourage fellow legislators to support the budget for the NC Arts Council.

Funding from the North Carolina Legislature supports important arts programming in Mecklenburg County. In FY17, funds distributed by the North Carolina Arts Council provided close to $1 million in support of organizations such as the Charlotte Symphony, Mint Museum, Opera Carolina, Community School of the Arts, Charlotte Ballet and Children’s Theatre, as well as funding that supported project and operating support grants awarded by ASC throughout Mecklenburg County. Currently, North Carolina invests less than $0.63 per person in arts grants.
How will you support increasing arts grants to be equal to $1 per citizen to create positive outcomes for North Carolina? What leadership will you provide to set a per capita level of funding for statewide initiatives such as this?
I will be an advocate for increasing the  arts and cultural budget.  With input from the arts and cultural communities, I will work to raise the appropriations in the NC Legislature for the arts.


Andy Dulin

2018 candidate for NC House of Representatives, District 104

Please share a meaningful experience you have had with art (visual, dance, drama, music, media arts), sciences or history and its impact on you.
I enjoy a wide range of artful endevors and experiences. I particularly enjoy sculpure both inside and out.

Research has shown that arts education positively affects achievement, discipline, attendance, and graduation rates. Business leaders have indicated that North Carolina’s economy needs a workforce that is not only educated but able to excel in 21st century skills, including innovation and creativity.
Will you support legislation that requires students between grade 6 and grade 12 to complete one arts credit (music, visual art, theatre, dance)? Please explain.
yes. The work for one arts credit is a great way for a student to engage their brain.

According to the most recent Arts & Economic Impact Study, North Carolina’s nonprofit cultural community generated $2.1 million in economic activity during fiscal year 2015. This activity provides over $201 million in tax revenues for local and state governments and supports 72,000 NC jobs.
How will you promote the NC non-profit cultural sectors as part of the State’s economic development strategy?
I will be open minded and a well prepared Legislator as projects come our way. I know from my 8 years on the Charlotte City Council that employers want their employees to have cultural options.

Funding from the North Carolina Legislature supports important arts programming in Mecklenburg County. In FY17, funds distributed by the North Carolina Arts Council provided close to $1 million in support of organizations such as the Charlotte Symphony, Mint Museum, Opera Carolina, Community School of the Arts, Charlotte Ballet and Children’s Theatre, as well as funding that supported project and operating support grants awarded by ASC throughout Mecklenburg County. Currently, North Carolina invests less than $0.63 per person in arts grants.
How will you support increasing arts grants to be equal to $1 per citizen to create positive outcomes for North Carolina? What leadership will you provide to set a per capita level of funding for statewide initiatives such as this?
If a project is good for Charlotte and District 104 I will be very supportive. My job is to advocate and support D 104.


Carolyn Logan

2018 candidate for NC House of Representatives, District 101

Please share a meaningful experience you have had with art (visual, dance, drama, music, media arts), sciences or history and its impact on you.
One of the most impactful experiences with art was when I saw an abstract painting by my youngest daughter, Taelor. She was always quiet, withdrawn, and stayed to herself. She brought home a large painting with the colors of yellow, green and black. To me, it looked exactly like her. It showed her feelings; I could see her soul, the hurt in her eyes, the sadness in her mouth, the strength in her cheekbones, the overall determination to survive. I saw my child as the individual that she is. I knew then that art is is a way to express oneself, bringing out who a person is in a constructive way. The painting has stayed with me–literally and emotionally. It’s truly the reason I am such a proponent of the arts in schools.

Research has shown that arts education positively affects achievement, discipline, attendance, and graduation rates. Business leaders have indicated that North Carolina’s economy needs a workforce that is not only educated but able to excel in 21st century skills, including innovation and creativity.
Will you support legislation that requires students between grade 6 and grade 12 to complete one arts credit (music, visual art, theatre, dance)? Please explain.
I will absolutely support legislation that requires students to complete at the least one arts credit. The arts help a child become a wellrounded individual by opening up interests that they would otherwise not be exposed to.

According to the most recent Arts & Economic Impact Study, North Carolina’s nonprofit cultural community generated $2.1 million in economic activity during fiscal year 2015. This activity provides over $201 million in tax revenues for local and state governments and supports 72,000 NC jobs.
How will you promote the NC non-profit cultural sectors as part of the State’s economic development strategy?
I hope to support the North Carolina’s non-profit art and cultural sectors by voting in support of our arts. It is obvious to me that supporting the arts is not only the right thing to do to increase our cultural awareness, but it generates money for this state. It is a winwin.

Funding from the North Carolina Legislature supports important arts programming in Mecklenburg County. In FY17, funds distributed by the North Carolina Arts Council provided close to $1 million in support of organizations such as the Charlotte Symphony, Mint Museum, Opera Carolina, Community School of the Arts, Charlotte Ballet and Children’s Theatre, as well as funding that supported project and operating support grants awarded by ASC throughout Mecklenburg County. Currently, North Carolina invests less than $0.63 per person in arts grants.
How will you support increasing arts grants to be equal to $1 per citizen to create positive outcomes for North Carolina? What leadership will you provide to set a per capita level of funding for statewide initiatives such as this?
It would be an honor to lead or co-lead an effort to increase arts grants to be equal to $1 per citizen. North Carolina should be a leader in supporting the arts!


Chaz Beasley

2018 candidate for NC House of Representatives, District 92

Please share a meaningful experience you have had with art (visual, dance, drama, music, media arts), sciences or history and its impact on you.
As a child, one of my fondest memories was attending plays with my mom. We weren’t well-off financially, so it was a real treat to watch students at what was then known as the NC School of the Arts perform children’s classics. Seeing those plays as a child gave me an appreciation for live theater specifically, and the arts generally, that persists to this day.

Research has shown that arts education positively affects achievement, discipline, attendance, and graduation rates. Business leaders have indicated that North Carolina’s economy needs a workforce that is not only educated but able to excel in 21st century skills, including innovation and creativity.
Will you support legislation that requires students between grade 6 and grade 12 to complete one arts credit (music, visual art, theatre, dance)? Please explain.
I am a strong proponent of exposing children to a variety of academic areas. Children (particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds) may not know that their strengths lie in a particular area because they do not have in-depth experience with it. Our goal should be to allow children to explore their skill sets, and requiring a broad set of academic experience, including to the arts, is a critical way to achieve this goal.

According to the most recent Arts & Economic Impact Study, North Carolina’s nonprofit cultural community generated $2.1 million in economic activity during fiscal year 2015. This activity provides over $201 million in tax revenues for local and state governments and supports 72,000 NC jobs.
How will you promote the NC non-profit cultural sectors as part of the State’s economic development strategy?
We should promote, support, and foster the growth of the non-profit cultural sector in our state. One of the primary ways we can do so is by making cultural facilities, including museums and performing arts centers, affordable to build and maintain. These facilities often attract economic development in nearby areas. Providing spaces for the arts to thrive would help tremendously.

Funding from the North Carolina Legislature supports important arts programming in Mecklenburg County. In FY17, funds distributed by the North Carolina Arts Council provided close to $1 million in support of organizations such as the Charlotte Symphony, Mint Museum, Opera Carolina, Community School of the Arts, Charlotte Ballet and Children’s Theatre, as well as funding that supported project and operating support grants awarded by ASC throughout Mecklenburg County. Currently, North Carolina invests less than $0.63 per person in arts grants.
How will you support increasing arts grants to be equal to $1 per citizen to create positive outcomes for North Carolina? What leadership will you provide to set a per capita level of funding for statewide initiatives such as this?
As a longtime donor to the arts, I understand that funding is critical to the existence of cultural spaces. While private donations are important, public funding also helps tremendously. I will continue to advocate for a strong level of arts funding for our state.


Brandon Lofton

2018 candidate for NC House of Representatives, District 104

Please share a meaningful experience you have had with art (visual, dance, drama, music, media arts), sciences or history and its impact on you.
Throughout middle and high school, I played trombone in the concert band. I didn’t realize it at the time, but this experience ingrained in me the importance of listening and community.  I liked the trombone because it was a powerful instrument.  However, I had to learn to listen for other instruments and understand how my part fit in before I could effectively contribute to a song.  When done well, I would be part of creating something that was greater than anything I could create on my own.  Beyond giving me an appreciation for classical music, and art in general, I believe this lesson helped shape my approach to leadership and service.

Research has shown that arts education positively affects achievement, discipline, attendance, and graduation rates. Business leaders have indicated that North Carolina’s economy needs a workforce that is not only educated but able to excel in 21st century skills, including innovation and creativity.
Will you support legislation that requires students between grade 6 and grade 12 to complete one arts credit (music, visual art, theatre, dance)? Please explain.
Yes.  As previously mentioned, my experience playing in the school band not only helped strengthen my appreciation for art and creativity, it instilled important values in me.  My wife, Kellie (a dancer during her childhood), had a similar experience and is a former board member of the Charlotte Ballet.  As part of her efforts, our family supported the Charlotte Ballet’s Reach program to help more students get access to dance.  If elected, I would support legislation to help all of our students gain exposure to the arts.  Doing so would not only help our students develop innovation and creativity, it would help increase the competitiveness of our City and State.

According to the most recent Arts & Economic Impact Study, North Carolina’s nonprofit cultural community generated $2.1 million in economic activity during fiscal year 2015. This activity provides over $201 million in tax revenues for local and state governments and supports 72,000 NC jobs.
How will you promote the NC non-profit cultural sectors as part of the State’s economic development strategy?
Our non-profit cultural sectors must be critical components of our economic development strategy.  In addition to providing significant tax revenue for local and state governments, our non-profit cultural sectors help foster creativity and innovation and make our City and State attractive places to live.  If elected, I will fight to promote our non-profit cultural sectors and ensure they receive the support needed.

Funding from the North Carolina Legislature supports important arts programming in Mecklenburg County. In FY17, funds distributed by the North Carolina Arts Council provided close to $1 million in support of organizations such as the Charlotte Symphony, Mint Museum, Opera Carolina, Community School of the Arts, Charlotte Ballet and Children’s Theatre, as well as funding that supported project and operating support grants awarded by ASC throughout Mecklenburg County. Currently, North Carolina invests less than $0.63 per person in arts grants.
How will you support increasing arts grants to be equal to $1 per citizen to create positive outcomes for North Carolina? What leadership will you provide to set a per capita level of funding for statewide initiatives such as this?
Yes. I will support efforts to ensure that all citizens have opportunities to engage the arts and, as previously mentioned, will support arts funding as part of our State’s overall economic development strategy.


Wesley Harris

2018 Candidate for NC House of Representatives, District 105

Please share a meaningful experience you have had with art (visual, dance, drama, music, media arts), sciences or history and its impact on you.
I remember as a child growing up in rural, Alexander County, the first time I ever came to Charlotte was for a class field trip to Discovery Place and to see a show at Belk Theater.  It was my first time ever visiting the big city and it made the mark that shaped my life-long love of museums and theater as well as cemented my desire to settle in Charlotte long-term.  Having a thriving arts and science culture is critical for a city.  It builds a sense of community and brings others into the area which help to promote economic and cultural growth.  Additionally, through art and history, we are better able to tell our own story, and from that, be able to become a society that learns from its past and is able to strive for something greater.

Research has shown that arts education positively affects achievement, discipline, attendance, and graduation rates. Business leaders have indicated that North Carolina’s economy needs a workforce that is not only educated but able to excel in 21st century skills, including innovation and creativity.
Will you support legislation that requires students between grade 6 and grade 12 to complete one arts credit (music, visual art, theatre, dance)? Please explain.
Yes, I fully support students from middle school onward to complete at least one arts credit per year.  The function of our schools is to prepare our students for the world, and not all students fit into the cookie cutter mold of focusing on Science, English, or math to succeed.  All of our students need to understand to the scope of possibilities that are available to them so they can find a subject they are passionate about and devote themselves to it.  This is where true success come from, being able to have the resources to identify and pursue your passion, and we owe it to each of our children to provide them with that opportunity.  Additionally, creativity is one of the most employable skills in today’s modern world, to be able to look at a problem and approach it in a unique way is critical for success.  Having exposure to the arts at a young age fosters this development in creativity and helps build more well-rounded citizens of the world.

According to the most recent Arts & Economic Impact Study, North Carolina’s nonprofit cultural community generated $2.1 million in economic activity during fiscal year 2015. This activity provides over $201 million in tax revenues for local and state governments and supports 72,000 NC jobs.
How will you promote the NC non-profit cultural sectors as part of the State’s economic development strategy
Having a thriving arts and cultural community in our state is extremely beneficial to economic growth and development.  Particularly in cities, a thriving art scene is one of the key drivers in bringing people into the urban area, leading them to spend money, want to move here, and ultimately expand our economy, very similar to big ticket sporting events.  Our state must prioritize non-profit cultural centers to make sure they are able to raise the resources necessary to ensure that our communities are able to have thriving local art scenes.  When the arts are able to thrive, all of our communities benefit and as such, should have the support of our state government.

Funding from the North Carolina Legislature supports important arts programming in Mecklenburg County. In FY17, funds distributed by the North Carolina Arts Council provided close to $1 million in support of organizations such as the Charlotte Symphony, Mint Museum, Opera Carolina, Community School of the Arts, Charlotte Ballet and Children’s Theatre, as well as funding that supported project and operating support grants awarded by ASC throughout Mecklenburg County. Currently, North Carolina invests less than $0.63 per person in arts grants.
How will you support increasing arts grants to be equal to $1 per citizen to create positive outcomes for North Carolina? What leadership will you provide to set a per capita level of funding for statewide initiatives such as this?
Investments in a strong arts culture ultimately pay for themselves.  Cities and communities with a successful arts culture are able to attract more people who in turn will spend their money and hopefully settle in our areas, thus expanding our economy.  This is because a thriving arts scene is better able to foster a sense of community and shared experiences that people have shown an interest in seeking out.   Having a public partnership to support the arts is a key component to improving out economic potential and laying the ground work for our state to continue to grow and be one of the best places in the country to live.  Members of our community understand this, and if the leaders of our state lay out the economic benefits of the arts, we will be able to gain amply popular support to increase the amount of arts grants available to our local communities.


John R. Bradford, III

2018 Candidate for NC House of Representatives, District 98

Please share a meaningful experience you have had with art (visual, dance, drama, music, media arts), sciences or history and its impact on you.
One of my daughters is involved in the performing arts. She has danced with Dance Davidson the last 5-years and dances in both Ballet and Tap Companies. Watching these young adults perform on stage showcases their natural beauty, talent and dedication to the arts.

Research has shown that arts education positively affects achievement, discipline, attendance, and graduation rates. Business leaders have indicated that North Carolina’s economy needs a workforce that is not only educated but able to excel in 21st century skills, including innovation and creativity.
Will you support legislation that requires students between grade 6 and grade 12 to complete one arts credit (music, visual art, theatre, dance)? Please explain.
Yes. I believe this can introduce young adults to new things that will help them achieve new personal heights.

According to the most recent Arts & Economic Impact Study, North Carolina’s nonprofit cultural community generated $2.1 million in economic activity during fiscal year 2015. This activity provides over $201 million in tax revenues for local and state governments and supports 72,000 NC jobs.
How will you promote the NC non-profit cultural sectors as part of the State’s economic development strategy?
Yes…i have a demonstrated history of supporting the arts. I helped secure funding the last two consecutive terms for the new performing arts community center that’s being built in North Mecklenburg in Cornelius.

Funding from the North Carolina Legislature supports important arts programming in Mecklenburg County. In FY17, funds distributed by the North Carolina Arts Council provided close to $1 million in support of organizations such as the Charlotte Symphony, Mint Museum, Opera Carolina, Community School of the Arts, Charlotte Ballet and Children’s Theatre, as well as funding that supported project and operating support grants awarded by ASC throughout Mecklenburg County. Currently, North Carolina invests less than $0.63 per person in arts grants.
How will you support increasing arts grants to be equal to $1 per citizen to create positive outcomes for North Carolina? What leadership will you provide to set a per capita level of funding for statewide initiatives such as this?
As Co-Chair of the Mecklenburg Legislative delegation I will work with the leadership of the various NCAC organizations from Meck County to help build the business case that supports this grant funding request. The Meck County delegation is the largest delegation in the state and having Democrats and Republicans from Meck County supporting such an initiative would be a very positive step to secure broader support from our colleagues across the state.

 

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