MAYORAL CANDIDATE QUESTIONNAIRE – ARTS AND CULTURE IN THE CITY OF ST. LOUIS
Citizen Artist St. Louis developed a questionnaire focused on the top priorities identified around Arts and Culture in St. Louis. This questionnaire was distributed to mayoral candidates in January 2017. Candidate responses are linked below and will be further discussed at the Arts and Culture Town Hall on February 27, at The Luminary.
CANDIDATE RESPONSES UNDER EACH QUESTION
PERSONAL IMPACT OF ARTS AND CULTURE
What is your experience with arts and culture? In what significant way has an experience with arts and culture influenced your life or thinking?
Boyd: "In highschool I wrote poetry everyday. (I had a crush but I did it). I believe that arts and culture is very important to being a well rounded person. Both of my children took music lessons. Brittany studied the flute and Kayla studied piano. I have a piano in my home so we have music in our home on a regular occasion. I served overseas in the military for three years and had the experiences of living in another country and experiencing the German culture. I also have two brothers who are comedians, one on the west coast and the other in the upper midwest. Through their craft they share expression on issues in our country that impact vulnerable communities. These experiences have allowed me to look at problems with a focus on novel solutions and new ideas through the intentionality that comes with creativity."
Jones: "Arts have played a significant role in my family’s life. As I child took piano lessons and developed a love for music. Several of my cousins are musicians and I have an uncle who played saxophone with Miles Davis. My mother studied dance and I have an uncle who also danced with Katherine Dunham. Music continues to inspire me. When the city was debating financing for a new football stadium I thought about Hip-Hop and said, “St. Louis has 99 problems and the Rams aren’t one.”"
Krewson: "Our city’s vibrant art scene enriches the lives of all St. Louisans. As the 28th ward alderman, I work closely with some of our city’s greatest artistic assets including the St. Louis Art Museum in Forest Park. I will continue to support the growth and development of visual and performing arts in St. Louis because they contribute greatly to our culture and quality of life."
Reed: "I am a huge music fan. If I’m not listening to it, I am constantly singing. I think the art and culture of St. Louis are some of our greatest assets. We need to show these off more."
Rice: "My experience with arts and culture is that I recognize how important they are. Everything we see was created by an artist—the streets (civil engineers), your clothes, your shoes, the paint on your walls, your floors, your furniture, your lighting, your architects, geometry etc., It’s very, very important we emphasize the arts in school programs and vigorously promote art in the public square."
The Missouri State Board of Education voted to accredit St. Louis Public Schools on January 10, 2017. While many St. Louis area schools have excellent arts education programs inside and outside of the classroom, this is not the case in high poverty areas of St. Louis, where programs are often non-existent or struggling to survive. One of the Missouri Arts Council’s (MAC) strategic goals is to strengthen art education. The state-run agency has funded 362 organizations totaling $4.7 million in 2017, but Governor Grietens has threatened to cut its budget. The National Endowment for the Arts, which supports MAC and other arts education institutions across the state is also at risk as identified by the Trump administration. A substantial body of research links arts involvement with improved cognitive development, stronger academic performance, and lower dropout rates.
What will you do to ensure equitable access to consistent education in music and visual arts, as well as theater and dance, taught by qualified, compensated professionals in all St. Louis City Public Schools?
Boyd: "I think that every educator in our schools should be highly qualified, certified individuals committed to excellence in education. I have seen four schools close in the ward I represent. I would like to see every school offer a comprehensive curriculum in the arts that prepare our youth for greater opportunities in higher education. As Mayor, I would not have direct oversight to the education budget however I would seek to partner with the art community to provide programming to students. For example, a partnership with our Symphony to provide training or lessons to more children and local art galleries offering paint courses in the summer or after school would be expanded. In addition, offering writing support for aspiring poets or spoken word artist would be a part of philanthropic initiatives I would take up as Mayor to raise money for such programs. I would continue to advocate for funding and partner with our Board to ensure that regardless of zip code, students have access to the arts. However with the current political climate it is unclear if support will continue at the Federal level and thus necessary to lean on our non-profit community to fill in those gaps where possible- in collaboration with the Mayor’s office."
Jones: "Education is one of my top three priorities. Even though the mayor doesn’t have direct control of the schools, that doesn’t mean she can’t be a better partner. As mayor, I will be a champion for arts funding at the local and state level. Prior to being elected Treasurer, I served as state representative and the number two ranking Democrat in the Missouri House of Representatives. I still maintain relationships with Missouri legislative leaders on both sides of the aisle that can be used to preserve arts funding. My mayoral administration will include a senior education liaison charged with helping kids access quality district and charter schools in St. Louis. Arts play an instrumental role in and my liaison will do whatever is needed to expand their presence in St. Louis schools, whether that is connecting schools with local arts organizations or helping identify different funding streams for school arts. Because education is one of my top three priorities, I will use the bully pulpit of the mayor’s office to ask the corporate and philanthropic communities to help our schools, which can include support for the arts. Children should also be able to access arts outside of school hours. My platform calls for expanding recreational opportunities for kids, which includes making arts and crafts, dance, and theatre."
Krewson: "First, let’s congratulate SLPS for their recent reaccreditation. That is a testament in part to the steady leadership of Dr. Adams over the last nearly 10 years. Arts education is important, and as with all education decisions, decisions around arts education should put kids first and follow an equitable approach. I will work with the Governor, education leadership in St. Louis and explore public private partnerships to make sure our kids get the quality education they deserve - including around the arts."
Reed: "Education is one of my top priorities as Mayor. I have recently been involved with the reaccreditation of our school system by appointing Richard Gaines to the Special Administrative Board of the St. Louis Public School System. I want to keep the momentum going. I want to ensure that art and music programs are offered at every St. Louis Public School. These programs help our children to grow and learn plus it gives them another outlet to express themselves. I named the first poet laureate of the City of St. Louis, Michael Castro, to help promote spoken language arts. I am dedicated to making our school system a world class educational system and including the arts comes with that promise."
Rice: "The benefits of music education are now established science. One of the first things I discovered as a father was how important it was to enroll my children in music lessons. That’s because music learning makes the brain work harder, enhancing language development and increasing IQ. Theater, dance and photography are also critical and must be given a welcoming platform in St. Louis. As part of my commitment to the St. Louis City Public Schools, I will advocate for an arts program that takes a back seat to no other district in our area. If we want our students to continue making gains in math, reading, cognitive ability, critical thinking, and verbal skill, we must make involvement in the arts an essential part of our curriculum. That means advocating for strong arts programming in schools and recruiting the best instructors possible."
LEADERSHIP & DECISION MAKING
In 2012 a study by the Regional Arts Commission and Americans for the Arts cited that from 2007-2012 there was $582.3 million in economic activity generated by local cultural nonprofits, patrons, and event-related activities. These nonprofits employ over 10,000 citizens who pay nearly $58 million in local and state taxes. (Arts and Economic Prosperity IV, 2012). These monies do not include independently employed artists and cultural workers, who contribute even more through barter economies.
The creation of RAC in 1985 by a mandate from voters in the city of St. Louis and St. Louis County was a blessing to the art community. As a truly regional resource managed by commissioners appointed by both the city and county, they have funded 6,900 grants totaling $97 million since 1985 to strengthen the arts community, however there is a disconnect with the arts community and city government. Other cities like Chicago have robust Cultural Affairs offices that advocate for the arts. The City of Saint Louis has a Cultural Resources Office, which is housed under the Planning and Urban Design Agency; however, the office is limited to the enforcement of the city’s preservation ordinance.
How will you include a range of artists and arts organizations in setting policy for the arts and culture sector? Will you develop a cultural plan for the arts, and if so, what strategies will it deploy? Would you consider expanding the role of the Cultural Resources Office, or create a St. Louis Department of Arts and Culture and appoint a deputy to work on policies?
Boyd: "The arts community is a significant contributor to the economic success of our city. As Mayor of St. Louis my focus in part is to increase and identify new revenues for our city. I recognize that the arts economy in all of its forms is an underdeveloped economic engine that we must expand as we move forward. The redevelopment of our distressed neighborhoods will require the continued work of our Cultural Resource Office to preserve the architecture of St. Louis where possible. In addition, I would create an Office of Cultural Affairs focused on attracting new events to St. Louis, elevating our profile as a creative city, and developing amenities for local residents and tourist to enjoy. I would also appoint a deputy to work on policies in education, senior care, and both retail and housing development that include public art."
Jones: "Arts should not be siloed in one city department. Instead, we need to integrate arts across departments including Planning and Urban Design, SLATE (workforce development), the Health Department, and the Streets Department, to name a few. My platform calls for reforming St. Louis redevelopment agencies to increase neighborhood planning and access to development, especially in neighborhoods North of Delmar and South of Arsenal. Arts create a sense of place in neighborhoods and should be incorporated into all neighborhood planning. Murals in places like the Ville and other historic neighborhoods help preserve history. I’d like to see the city support mural projects and cleanup projects at the same time, so an area isn’t just cleaned, it’s beautified.
The City Sustainability Plan, which I plan to use to help guide my decisions as mayor, includes several suggestions for incorporating arts into neighborhoods, but does not help neighborhoods actually access these resources. I want to change that. Through better planning, we can ensure artists contribute with neighborhood input. The city currently gives tax abatements and incentives out like Halloween candy. If we give incentives to developers, projects must include community benefit agreements. Funding and resources for public art should be one of the options for such agreements.
I am open to creating a cultural plan for the arts, and would do so by including input and participation from a wide array of artists and community members. I am not an expert in this topic, and want to make sure the people who are experts are at the table, so that we can make St. Louis a hub for the arts. I would do what many mayors don’t seem to do - I will ask you for your opinion."
Krewson: "Access to visual and performing arts is an important factor in the quality of life for any city. Thanks to the generous philanthropy of so many in our community, art is accessible where it otherwise may not be. As mayor, I will continue to build those relationships inside and outside of city government to continue to build upon St. Louis’ vibrant art scene."
Reed: "As Mayor, I think we need to address many of our city departments to ensure that they are working most effectively. I would like to reevaluate the effectiveness of the Cultural Resources Office and work to find a place where policies are being created to support the arts of our City. I also want to modernize our city government and services. I think that children learn a great deal from the arts in regards to expressing themselves and their emotions. I believe if more of our young people learned how to constructively express their thoughts and emotions, we would see less violence among our young people. I think it is well worth the effort to use city offices to support the arts."
Rice: "For the past 45 years I have devoted myself to being a minister and anti-poverty advocate, so I won’t pretend to be an expert on the latest developments in regards to the arts and culture sector. I can say, however, that a strong arts and culture community is critical if we want St. Louis to become a first-class city that can not only boost tourism, but attract young, new college graduates to our workforce. I will conduct a thorough search in order to hire a smart, qualified artist to head the Cultural Resources Office. And that individual’s role and responsibilities will be as great, and important, as the head of any other agency at City Hall."
EQUITABLE PLANNING AND FUNDING
The St. Louis arts ecosystem is home to a wide array of important organizations – from large to small. Access to funding for arts programming and cultural development in our neighborhoods is disparate, and the development of policies that affect the arts and culture community have historically disadvantaged communities of color. The Ferguson Commission outlined a call to action for racial equity in their 2015 report.
How will you ensure that your annual budget results in stable and equitable funding fairly benefiting communities of color? How might you apply a racial equity framework to existing and new regional policies, initiatives, programs and projects in order to address and eliminate existing disparities for racial and ethnic populations? How do we know that the distribution of the above economic activity is reaching everyone?
Boyd: "The first step in ensuring racial equity through policy is to audit our current policies and procedures to identify in areas where racial disparities exist, how current policies are contributing to that disparity. In instances where policies are contributing to racial disparity or inequity they will be modified to eliminate the disparity and partner where possible with other stakeholders to address all contributing factors to the disparity. Concerning the arts and access to funding for programming one step we can take to develop policies that do not disadvantage communities of color is to identify the barriers to funding (i.e. lack of skilled grant writing, knowledge of all funding sources, reporting and key performance indicator documentation, etc) In many cases smaller organization do not have the resources to hire the best grant writer but may have an outstanding program. As Mayor we can take a comprehensive look at the offerings in our arts community and provide a guide on ensuring that funding is allocated equitably and comprehensively across a variety of programs and not just the most established ones."
Jones: "Looking at all programs and policies through a racial equity lens is one of my top three priorities. Right now, we know that the distribution of funds is not equitable. For example, in the last 15 years, 85% of the $700 million of tax incentives and abatements went to the central corridor and downtown. That disproportionately benefits the wealthy. I will work to push development dollars North of Delmar and to certain areas South of Arsenal where there are areas, largely made up of people of color, who desperately need development assistance.
The first step to achieving racial justice starts with making sure all children have access to needed resources. Some examples of ways we can address this are:
Baby boxes: Finland provides every new mother in the country with a “baby box” containing baby clothes, a sleeping bag, bathing products for the baby, diapers, bedding and a small mattress. Every expectant mother in St. Louis should be given a similar package with resources to help reduce infant mortality and ensure healthy development for all children. When I am mayor, the St. Louis baby kit will provide important resources for health development.
Be a better partner to the schools, even though the mayor doesn’t have direct control
Paid family leave
Expansion of Pre-Kindergarten options in public schools
Consolidation or merger of the St. Louis Public Schools with surrounding school districts
Adequate funding for schools by reforming tax incentives for developers to shield the public school portion of taxes from being a part of incentive packages
An open door policy for conversation between my office and school administrators
Public funding for the first two years of community college for any student in the public schools who maintains a C average through junior and senior years
Research and implementation of the education models
Closure of low-performing charter schools
Reestablishment of the mayor’s educational liaison position
Partner with local companies, nonprofits, and city departments to remove barriers to education for students, teachers and families
Access to healthy foods
Increasing the minimum wage to a living wage and requiring all developments pay a living wage
As a snapshot, the unemployment percentage in St. Louis is 26% for blacks, 6% for whites. Studies show one of the best strategies to reduce the racial wealth gap is through small business creation. Economic development is crucial to achieve racial justice. Ideas around this topic are:
Providing technical and financial support for minority entrepreneurs
Improve neighborhood planning to make it easier to grow small businesses all over the city, not just in the Central Corridor
Reducing vacant buildings and redeveloping LRA properties through online listing of properties and assistance to small developers
Financial Empowerment Centers-help with financial literacy
Improving public transit
Year round jobs for youth
Leveraging developments to improve unemployment by requiring SLATE job centers onsite and workforce participation from MBE and WBE.
The criminal justice system also affects people of color differently. For example, although we know that drug user rate are similar across races, the disproportionate people in jail for drug offenses are black. To address issues like this, we need to:
Support for Glouchester Model, which creates safe places at police and fire stations for drug users to turn in their drugs without fear of arrest and be placed into treatment
Work towards closing the medium security workhouse and redirect the resources spent on that facility to mental health and other forms of prevention
Include implicit bias training in all departments, including the police department"
Krewson: "The Forward Through Ferguson report is a roadmap for the next mayor. To achieve outcomes that are no longer predictable by race we must begin to align and allocate resources in a way that reflects the magnitude of problems in a given neighborhood rather than simply dividing dollars equally across neighborhoods. Our approach to everything from neighborhood safety and poverty relief to housing and education must consider the history of a neighborhood’s needs and offer solutions that are relevant and sufficient to that place."
Reed: "When I first became President of the Board of Aldermen ten years ago, I appointed board members to committees with equity in mind. I placed aldermen on committees that were the most relevant to what problems their community was facing. From doing that, we had for the first time, African American majorities on the three most powerful committees of the Board of Aldermen. No bills were passed out of these committees without being able to get support of one or some of the African American aldermen. This created a natural process of inclusion for legislation to be passed. These issues these committees dealt with more greatly affected African Americans communities, so I felt it equitable to form the committees in that way. The Forward through Ferguson report exposed the system of inequality that people of color have had to live under for generations - affecting their ability to receive fair justice under the law. It’s now our duty to implement components of the report. We’ve already passed the Citizens Oversight Board - and I believe it needs to be strengthened to include subpoena power. I want to make it clear that the Citizens Oversight Board is not something new. This is something I voted for in 2007 - it would have been have adopted it sooner if we hadn’t had such staunch opposition. But, it didn’t pass until after Michael Brown was shot and killed. It finally passed because it was the en vogue thing to do. It didn’t take the death of Michael Brown for me to put on my racial equity lenses - I wear them every day. As Mayor, I will continue to work for racial equality in all of our City, and I think we can create a metrics system to ensure that all of our policies and initiatives are being met with the standard set by the Ferguson report."
Rice: "There is much waste in City Hall, and I am committed to rooting it out. For example, we have over 100 people working for the city receiving over $100,000 a year when the median income is $35,000. I would place a cap of $75,000 on city government pay, hire 200 more officers for the city’s most challenged neighborhoods (using money saved from city government salary caps), and make low-income areas a priority for innovative public art projects. I believe that art stabilizes property values and stimulates commerce, so unlike others I believe that it’s imperative that we support the arts during hard economic times, not cut them. As a result, I will aggressively seek federal grants and submit an annual budget that fully funds the arts. I will earmark money for projects specifically designed for underserved, low-income areas in north and south St. Louis."
Our post-industrial city has many assets that could be utilized to further the work of the cultural community. Funds for gap financing offered by the City of St. Louis Community Development Administration, like the residential Notice of Funding Available (NOFA) could be allocated for redevelopment of arts spaces. Other post-industrial cities like Detroit have partnered with nonprofits like Write a House, to give away houses to writers for long-term residencies.
What actions will you take to help artists and neighborhood organizations enhance community vibrancy on a block-by-block level? How will you make city-controlled resources, such as under-utilized buildings, available to arts groups? How will you streamline the permitting process for neighborhood arts programming and events?
Boyd: "As Mayor, I am committed to ensuring that our arts community thrives with an ecosystem that is vibrant. I call for a comprehensive housing plan in my platform. My strategy requires the city to submit proposals to developers to build projects in certain areas that have long been abandoned. One such proposal could be an affordable housing/mixed income complex that is designed specifically for makers, artists, and designers. Open floor plans, collaborative work spaces and a community studio that would be ideal of new students, affordable for struggling artist, and a strong model for communities focused on other industries such as technology. My platform requires that we remove the red-tape for LRA properties to allow developers a chance to work on projects at a smaller scale."
Jones: "As I stated in a previous response, I will incorporate the arts into neighborhood planning across the city. In addition to incorporating arts into neighborhood design, we need to provide places for youth programming, concerts, and plays. Vacant buildings and land are a serious problem in St. Louis and artists can contribute to both temporarily stabilizing those buildings and finding permanent uses for LRA property. I support urban farming and organizations like Sweet Sensations, which provide youth with opportunities to learn about beekeeping. Neighborhood arts can be a valuable tool in reducing crime because it provides neighbors meeting spaces, reduces vacancy, and youth with alternatives to violence. Neighborhood planning should also consider artist studio and other workplaces in planning commercial or mixed-use areas.
St. Louis is a burgeoning tech hub, but has an outdated form of government. I will commit to hiring a Chief Innovation Officer who will streamline doing business with the city. Far too many artists and small business people spend too much time trying to navigate city government. I will make sure business people can do as many transactions online as possible. In addition to leveraging technology, I will invite small business people to map the business permitting process and suggest changes. I support providing artists with the same opportunity to map the permitting process for neighborhood arts programming and suggesting changes as well. As Treasurer, we have streamlined the process for renting parking meters for large events. The old process required several steps: 1) going to the Streets Department to get a blocking permit outside of City Hall; 2) Listing every single meter desired for rental and paying the Treasurer’s Office in City Hall; 3) Going back to the Streets Department with proof of payment for the parking meter rental fees. We decided to allow the Streets Department to accept payment for parking meter rental to reduce the hassle for event organizers. We subsequently came up with a uniform fee and event route so that event organizers do not have to list each meter they would like to rent."
Krewson: "When it comes to development for our city, we must build out from our strengths. It will take an intense focus to rebuild and revitalize some of our distressed neighborhoods. I will work closely with developers large and small to get city-owned properties back onto the tax rolls. That will include a focus on arts and cultural centers all across the city."
Reed: "I brought Nextdoor, a community online platform, to the City of St. Louis to help neighbors connect more easily. I think this tool has already helped organizations work directly with communities. I want to go into each individual neighborhood and talk with the residents. I want to know what they want to see. As for our vacant buildings, I think we need to address the issues of the LRA and increase their transparency. We need to create a first time home buyers program with those buildings and work to build more vibrant and diverse communities. I also want to streamline and modernize our government services, making it less of a hassle to start a business in the City of St. Louis"
Rice: "Public art is an example of how the arts can connect with folks who are trying to make our neighborhoods more vibrant and exciting. I would offer the city’s LRA properties, abandoned buildings, warehouses and dilapidated industrial spaces to our artists as blank canvasses, provided they follow community standards. As mayor I would foster a strong relationship between the cultural activity of a city—which graffiti is a part of—and our economy. When you see graffiti during a Rice administration, it will be a sign of many more interesting creative things going on. Finally, street art can benefit our youth from poor neighborhoods and working class families. That’s because it gives give people who don’t have the resources to launch a more traditional art career an opportunity to work and flourish. We must stop demonizing and criminalizing graffiti artists and instead channel their creativity in a positive direction that benefits our neighborhoods. The Paint St. Louis event at the Flood Wall downtown should be just one of many urban art festivals sponsored by the city. The fact of the matter is that progressive cities understand that street art has a positive effect on how a unique cityscape looksThe arts are our city’s secret weapon that can make us a more competitive, creative, great city. The arts can be a partner in solving every problem that we face. For example, we should have art for the homeless where we could bring concerts to our displaced. Public art programs by local arts agencies should invest directly in projects for the homeless, our veterans and other disenfranchised populations. The NEA and HUD can provide a connection in St. Louis for community development through the arts."
DEVELOPMENT AND HOUSING
Artists historically live and work in neighborhoods with affordable housing and space for the creation of the work. They are responsible for building within their communities and making them more vibrant places to live. Eventually, this attracts greater economic development, and the creative community and residents face raising rents and higher taxes. This has happened on the Delmar Loop, The Grove, and we are seeing it begin to happen on Cherokee Street and 14th Street.
How might you support artists in the development of vibrant communities, and work with them to create safe, healthy spaces to live and work? What would it look like to value cultural capital over economic capital? How might there be access to TIFs that benefit the arts and culture community without displacing existing residents or “artwashing”?
Boyd: "As Mayor, I see St. Louis as a destination place. This means that I highly value the cultural capital of our city. it is necessary that we create experiences around the city of St. Louis that attract visitors as well as new residents. I am supportive of using tools as appropriate to build communities. I think the inclusion of public art in all development efforts will help channel funds into new and budding cultural districts."
Jones: "Artists are part of the creative class that have played an invaluable role in revitalizing urban areas not just in St. Louis, but all over the country. If artists help create or sustain successful neighborhoods then we need to be intentional about keeping them in these neighborhoods through better planning. St. Louis needs to a better job of leveraging new development to help everyone, including the arts community. I support expanding affordable housing through inclusionary zoning. Inclusionary zoning requires developers of market rate project to provide affordable units as well. I also support attaching community benefits agreements to large developments. Community benefits agreements allow the city to attach conditions, such as incorporating public art into a project, to large developments in return for incentives.
St. Louis has two apartment buildings catering to artists: the Arcade Building and Metropolitan Artist Lofts. We should explore expanding targeting these type of projects going forward, as long as inclusionary zoning is also a priority."
Krewson: "Public incentives are part art and part science, and public incentives should come with some kind of community benefit agreement. We must use those incentives to rebuild stronger neighborhoods all across St. Louis while balancing the needs of businesses and residents. I will not allow displacement as mayor - that’s very important for our neighborhoods. That is the approach I take in the 28th ward and it’s the approach I’ll take for the whole city as mayor."
Reed: "We need a bold vision for our City. Working with the community, we were able to turn blight into beauty. We changed old, abandoned buildings into commercial and residential buildings. We turned around Lafayette Square and revitalized the loft district of Washington Ave. through innovative legislation and public-private partnerships. We did this development while keeping the community diverse. As Mayor, I want to create city teams (NSO, Business Improvement District Managers, Police, artists etc.) to partner with communities. We will then market neighborhoods to potential residents and visitors in order to attract market demand, drive tourism, and foster a deeper sense of civic pride, and we will let the professionals market the neighborhoods. I want to raise new revenue to support community development departments at the City and community development nonprofit initiatives while protecting existing streams. As Mayor, I will create “20 minute neighborhoods” to support new and existing housing, so people can meet their daily needs within a twenty minute walk of their homes. We are going to turn our city around. Our strength lies in our diversity. People will buy into the culture. This place has great access to art and architecture, we just need to flaunt it. We will see a population change."
Rice: no answer provided, see other questions
St. Louis is home to amazing artists and cultural institutions, and we could attract more people to the city by promoting our appreciation and support for the arts.
In what ways will you leverage St. Louis’ many arts communities and cultural traditions to improve the image of our city and better market our people, places and events?
Boyd: "As Mayor, one of my priorities is to attract new companies to St. Louis and generate new streams of revenue for our city. Growing our current festivals and introducing new ones would be ideal to supporting both efforts. Also attracting art and design conferences to St. Louis to help us identify stable sustainability solutions as we rebuild would be ideal. As a result the negative perceptions of St. Louis can be re-framed as we mitigate crime, poverty, and homelessness."
Jones: "The mayor has a bully pulpit to both champion art and convene local leaders to promote the arts. In Nashville almost every cab or Uber driver you encounter directs you to a website/app listing a schedule of live music. St. Louis and the CVC should provide training to all hospitality to workers so they can direct visitors to our arts scene. The Regional Arts Commission that list art events and the mayor can do a better job of promoting existing events.
As Treasurer, I hosted PARKing Day, which provides neighborhood to convert parking spaces into different artistic uses. Neighborhoods including Cherokee, Old North, and Downtown have participated and devised creative and artistic uses of parking spaces. The mayor can play a role in marketing the arts across the board, whether it be tweeting about festivals to attending community plays.
I want to put St. Louis on the map. That will take the city coming together to make sure that we are taking innovative, effective ideas from elsewhere and bringing them here."
Krewson: "St. Louis is home to incredible assets and a vibrant arts culture. The next mayor should support those assets across the entire St. Louis region and beyond. As 28th ward alderman I work closely in some of the areas that make St. Louis unique, and I will continue to support and grow those traditions and institutions."
Reed: "Local arts, architecture, music, and food scene are an overlooked asset to St. Louis. We need to highlight and showcase these things more often instead of focusing on all of the negativity in this city. We will be the generation to make a change in St. Louis. St. Louis is a great place to live, work and play. But, we will make it even better."
Rice: no answer provided, see other questions
STRONG COMMUNITIES - A SEAT AT THE TABLE
The arts and culture sector provides unique and powerful opportunities for problem-solving, healing, change, and building community. Artists can bring creative solutions to issues such as public safety, the education gap, vacancy and more, as has been seen in recent initiatives to invite artists to work within governmental agencies in places like Austin, TX and Saint Paul, MN. Such resources are critically needed to address St. Louis’ current challenges.
How do envision engaging and/or appointing artists and cultural leaders to task forces and initiatives in transportation, housing, vacancy, and education, specifically the Planning Commission, Board of Public Services, and the Preservation Board? How will you look to partner with the artists and organizations in your administration to create employment opportunities for artists, cultural organizers, and/or cultural groups across St. Louis’ city government and to address community needs? What city offices would you envision stable employment opportunities? How might you support creative entrepreneurship?
Boyd: "I agree that the creative community should be at the table when creating comprehensive policies addressing core issues in our city. Positions on key boards and commission that provide consistency throughout the allocation process will help us achieve benchmarks in key areas. I am committed using best practices to leverage the artist to help our city move forward."
Jones: "As I have said in previous questions, the arts will not be placed in a silo in my administration and will be integrated into several departments. The city needs to build a stronger relationship with local arts organizations like the Community Arts Training Institute (CAT) and the over 300 alumni who have served in the program. The mayor has the power to appoint community members to several boards and commissions. I will encourage CAT alums to serve the city on appointed boards and commissions.
The arts can also serve as a valuable workforce tool. Organizations like St. Louis Artworks, the Sweet Potato Project, and Sweet Sensations use the arts as a way to teach youth about business, entrepreneurship, and other valuable soft skills kids need to succeed in the workforce. I realize the value in these organizations and will expand youth workforce opportunities to change the summer jobs program to a year round program. The definition of a summer job should also be expanded to include teenagers who work on murals and other projects working on preserving neighborhood history.
The city can also do a better job of locating space for arts programs. St. Louis has done a good job of supporting co-working spaces like T-REX in the technology sector. After companies outgrow T-REX tech companies often find office space in Cortex or close to other technology companies. Like the tech community, the city should try to support arts programming at all stages of development. "
Krewson: "St. Louis has a great and unique culture, which we must protect. We also have a great environment for start ups, and I will continue to cultivate an environment where entrepreneurs across all sectors can thrive and scale up here in St. Louis. That environment will be welcoming to artists and cultural leaders who make our city what it is. As mayor, I will use appointments to promote growth and equity in like housing, education, transportation and every other service our city provides."
Reed: "Before I become aldermen, I was an entrepreneur and small business owner. I have a background in mathematics and computer science. I would not only encourage future businesses to grow in the City, but I would work with them to want to make the City their home. With me as your Mayor, we will have a safer city. I will get illegal guns off the street, fully staff our police department, invest more in our youth programs, create a world class educational system and bring more good paying jobs into our City. I will also take steps to streamline some of our government services.I want to make them run as smoothly and efficiently as possible for both the City and the residents. For example in the county, you can go to one stop and get your food truck permit. Here in the City, you have to make multiple stops and go through a process of earning a permit. I want to give businesses the chance to thrive in the City and not cause headaches while trying to start their business. I also would like make things as modern and digital as possible. I was apart of the creation process and approved the One St. Louis Regional Plan, which provides a regional framework for sustainable development that citizens, non-profit organizations, businesses, and local governments can use to make better use of resources and better meet the aspirations and needs of residents. I want to continue to work to make St. Louis the best place to live, work and play."
Rice: "I believe that I am the only mayoral campaign which utilizes an actual art department. As opposed to traditional campaign brochures and billboards, Phil Berwick and his volunteers are using street art to canvass the city. Our art department’s vision is currently promoting my candidacy, but once I’m elected it will focus on making St. Louis a better, more beautiful place. City Channel 10 should be used to advertise employment opportunities for artists. And my administration would embed three artists in city government who would brainstorm ideas for art projects that might help to solve civic problems in the city."
[This questionnaire was authored by Citizen Artist St. Louis in January 2017. Questions were developed through a digital survey and community listening sessions that engaged hundreds of constituents the cultural community across the City of St. Louis. There are also direct citations from a questionnaire developed by Citizen Artist Baltimore (2015).]