Fred Stewart (Candidate for Portland Commissioner, Position 4) responded April 6, 2016:
(1) In what specific ways have you supported arts and culture in Portland?
I have advocated for a more sustainable and broadly reaching source of funding for the arts in Portland than the current arts tax. I have also proposed the creation of a new city Bureau, the Bureau of Arts and Culture. I believe that a Bureau of Arts and Culture will allow the City of Portland to support the creative community at a level that will live up to the values and expectations of the people of Portland. The City of Portland has to be involved in the forming and achieving goals for public art, art education, and the creative industry. This bureau will work as a partner and an ally to the creative community.
(2) Artists and arts organizations add measurable value to our region’s economy, our education system and our quality of life, and yet there are a number of pressing needs in our community that often compete for attention and investment. What is Portland’s proper role in supporting arts and culture in the region?
The City has to take an active role in addressing challenges to the creative community in general. It should always be ally, and in some cases, a leader.
(3) The region’s affordability is a serious concern for all of us, including artists and arts-related businesses. What are your plans for making housing and creative spaces more affordable?
City Hall has to start including the working class and lower-income people in all of its future plans for the City of Portland. It has to set clear goals for sustainable affordable housing and low-cost commercial and work space in Portland. I hope to lead the City of Portland in establishing these goals, and in the meantime, in developing the necessary relationships and partnerships that will allow the city to develop transitional housing and low-cost work space in Portland so Portland can continue to be a city that is inclusive of all economic levels. One of the responsibilities my proposed Portland Arts and Culture Bureau will have will be monitoring the needs of the creative community and ensuring that those needs are considered in all future urban planning.
(4) Are there other unmet needs when it comes to shaping Portland’s arts and culture policy for the future? If so, what steps would you take to help ensure those needs are met, and how should they be funded?
We need to make it easier for both the public and private sector to invest and participate in the arts. Portland needs to work with the creative community to learn what, if anything the city can do to help financially support a robust creative community.
(5) The Arts Education & Access Fund, or arts tax, has delivered on its promise of providing arts specialists for all K-5 schools in Portland, but the fund hasn’t generated enough revenue to support as many grants for arts and culture organizations as envisioned. If elected, would you take any steps to modify the arts tax, improve administration of it, and/or fulfill the voters’ vision of supporting arts education and access through other means?
Absolutely. It is my intention to increase the funding for the arts in the City of Portland and to provide a path for sustainability of funding for them.