Candidates for the Town of Davidson

Get ready for Election Day and meet the candidates running for office.

Each candidate was provided a questionnaire to complete and share their position on arts and culture. Below are the responses we received.

Things to know before you go vote

Laurie A. Venzon

2017 Candidate for Town of Davidson Mayor

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

I grew up outside of Princeton, NJ and we could take the train into NYC. My mom loved music, dancing, acting, art, etc, so she would take us to the city several times a year to see a Broadway show or go to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I was always amazed an inspired by all the amazing talent on display. I remember being 13 years old and we went to see “Annie” in its opening year. Andrea McArdle was in the title role and after watching her belt out the songs, I thought to myself, “wow, if she can do that at 13 then if I work hard at what I love (sports at the time), maybe I can be successful, too (I went on to play college basketball and tennis). Being exposed to the arts at a young age also helped develop a creative side in me and to want to support those who endeavor to make a career in the arts because I so enjoyed the fruit of their labors.

What’s your vision for the town? What role, if any, does art, science and history play in advancing that vision?

Davidson’s history is that of a small college town. Davidson College is a liberal arts school that believes in developing well-rounded students who will be leaders in their industries and communities. My vision for our town is that we continue to pursue having a vibrant community that offers a variety of opportunities (be it work, housing, recreation, etc) for everyone who lives here. As we grow, I hope we never lose sight of our history – the role the college has played, the role the African American has community played, etc and we stay true to our small town character. We need to uphold our values and ideals even as new people move to Davidson and we embrace them as part of our community. I believe that art, science and history all have a purpose in that vision. It is important that we provide opportunities for people to be exposed to the arts, that we encourage our children in the fields of math and science and we allow our history to guide our future.

Do you support public funding of arts, science, history, and heritage programs by your town through funding of ASC? Please explain.

Yes. Davidson has been supporting the ASC for years and I would advocate that we continue to do so. I believe being exposed to the arts and other programs is so beneficial on many fronts. In addition, there is an economic impact to providing such opportunities and programs as corporations and people considering moving to the area (or even just visiting) often look for the amenities, programs and resources the area has to offer.

A key finding in past cultural plans was the need for facilities outside of downtown Charlotte to support cultural programming and community events and programs. Would you support the continued partnership between the public and private sectors in addressing these needs and the use of public funds to support capital projects?

I agree that providing facilities outside of uptown Charlotte is key to helping cultural events more accessible and successful. Given the funding requirements of these facilities, I support the partnership of the public and private sectors to address these needs in the future.

National research shows that the arts and cultural sector contributes to quality of life and economic stability. What strategies would you pursue to ensure the continued vitality and growth of the creative economy in our region?

Many of our organizations that focus on the arts and cultural sectors of our region have strategic plans in place so I would look to support those plans and not look to recreate the wheel. I would like to have some conversations about North Mecklenburg and what gaps we have in the cultural sector so we can determine how to best address them in the future.

Stacey Anderson

2017 Candidate for Town of Davidson Board of Commissioners

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

My parents understood the importance of arts and I was lucky to attend the local symphony on Sunday afternoons with them. I remember my dad closing his eyes and when we teased him about falling asleep, he said he was closing his eyes to hear the music better. He was actually right, if you eliminate one sense, the others are stronger and by eliminating sight, it improved his hearing. I still close my eyes when listening to music. I am still an advocate for all types of arts.

What’s your vision for the town? What role, if any, does art, science and history play in advancing that vision?

Davidson is a very vibrant community and arts, science and history are key. I would continue to encourage investment to add new art, science and history programming to enhance Davidson’s image. We have lots of cultural activities in Davidson today and they are very important to Davidson’s image and a reflection of Davidson College and the community’s rich history.

Do you support public funding of arts, science, history, and heritage programs by your town through funding of ASC? Please explain.

Yes, not only do we fund the ASC and increased our funding amount for FY 2016, we also fund our own Public Art Committee in Davidson and several other non-profits that provide programs to the citizens of Davidson. While we weren’t able to increase our funding for ASC for FY18 because of an issue with the timing of the request, I have the commitment of the finance officer and town manager to look at the budget in early 2018 to see if we can’t increase our funding and met the requested increase.

A key finding in past cultural plans was the need for facilities outside of downtown Charlotte to support cultural programming and community events and programs. Would you support the continued partnership between the public and private sectors in addressing these needs and the use of public funds to support capital projects?

Yes, I think Davidson College is another example of a partnership that can be leveraged to bring programs outside of downtown Charlotte.

National research shows that the arts and cultural sector contributes to quality of life and economic stability. What strategies would you pursue to ensure the continued vitality and growth of the creative economy in our region?

I would continue to look for ways to use our prepared food and beverage tax revenue to fund the creative community.

Michael V. Angell

2017 Candidate for Town of Davidson Board of Commissioners

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

I realized the power of art to bring people together, no matter what its form, when I used to perform both as an actor and singer. Many times, I would look out at the audience and see people that looked so different, and some of them I knew were very different, and yet they would all sit next to each other and enjoy.

What’s your vision for the town? What role, if any, does art, science and history play in advancing that vision?

My vision is to keep Davidson, Davidson. In order to be successful, we will need to keep working with the college and keep holding Concerts on the Green to keep our town together.

Do you support public funding of arts, science, history, and heritage programs by your town through funding of ASC? Please explain.

Yes. Davidson holds Concerts on the Green and I think this is very important to our town.

A key finding in past cultural plans was the need for facilities outside of downtown Charlotte to support cultural programming and community events and programs. Would you support the continued partnership between the public and private sectors in addressing these needs and the use of public funds to support capital projects?

I will not have any impact in Charlotte, but if the project is right, then public support is acceptable.

National research shows that the arts and cultural sector contributes to quality of life and economic stability. What strategies would you pursue to ensure the continued vitality and growth of the creative economy in our region?

I would find a way to combine Davidson and other towns art days and continue to make art open to all.

Jane Campbell

2017 Candidate for Town of Davidson Board of Commissioners

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

I picked up a camera for the first time when I was 10 years old, and have been hooked ever since. Over the years, I have used my photographic artistry to capture other art forms — of all types.

What’s your vision for the town? What role, if any, does art, science and history play in advancing that vision?

We are lucky that Davidson embraces the arts in a number of ways. Between the town and the college, we have so many opportunities to make art, science, and history a part of our daily lives. My vision is to maintain, if not improve, what we already have.

Do you support public funding of arts, science, history, and heritage programs by your town through funding of ASC? Please explain.

Yes. I believe in funding the arts.

A key finding in past cultural plans was the need for facilities outside of downtown Charlotte to support cultural programming and community events and programs. Would you support the continued partnership between the public and private sectors in addressing these needs and the use of public funds to support capital projects?

Davidson is clearly outside downtown Charlotte, and we are a supportive community for public, private ventures in support of the arts.

National research shows that the arts and cultural sector contributes to quality of life and economic stability. What strategies would you pursue to ensure the continued vitality and growth of the creative economy in our region?

I would begin by pointing to the wonderful examples of the arts that we already have in our community — and the direct link to the quality of life in our community. I believe that the arts can and should play an important role in our town’s economy.

Rodney Graham

2017 Candidate for Town of Davidson Board of Commissioners

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

I’ve always loved music. Growing up in the 70s, and being from West Virginia, I was taken by the music of John Denver which extolled the virtues of nature. His descriptions of nature helped to set me on a life long love affair with the out of doors which continues to this day.

What’s your vision for the town? What role, if any, does art, science and history play in advancing that vision?

That we are an inclusive community that welcomes everyone, and where everyone is treated with dignity and respect. I believe cultural events provide opportunities for everyone to come together.

Do you support public funding of arts, science, history, and heritage programs by your town through funding of ASC? Please explain.

Yes, I have consistently supported the Town of Davidson’s funding of ASC. The explanation can be found in our ongoing support of the ASC.

A key finding in past cultural plans was the need for facilities outside of downtown Charlotte to support cultural programming and community events and programs. Would you support the continued partnership between the public and private sectors in addressing these needs and the use of public funds to support capital projects?

Certainly. I think there are opportunities to have adjunct locations of some of the cultural facilities that are based in Charlotte. The Discovery Place in Huntersville is an example. I could envision a branch of the Mint Museum being in one of our northern towns.

National research shows that the arts and cultural sector contributes to quality of life and economic stability. What strategies would you pursue to ensure the continued vitality and growth of the creative economy in our region?

We need to financially support creative endeavors. The Town of Davidson supported the Davidson Community Players by assisting in the purchase of theater space. We have funded public art and will continue to do so. I could envision partnerships with the college’s music programs where we help broaden the reach of culture in Davidson.


The following candidates for the Town of Davidson did not submit a response: 

Russell B. (Rusty) Knox, Jr., Candidate for Mayor

John Mercer Woods, Candidate for Mayor

George Berger, Candidate for Board of Commissioners

Shana Erber, Candidate for Board of Commissioners

Ryan Fay, Candidate for Board of Commissioners

Matthew Fort, Candidate for Board of Commissioners

Jim Fuller, Candidate for Board of Commissioners

Autumn Rierson Michael, Candidate for Board of Commissioners

David E. Sitton, Candidate for Board of Commissioners

Troy A. Taylor, Candidate for Board of Commissioners

Sam (Sammy) Weaver, Candidate for Board of Commissioners

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