For the spring 2018 primary election, RACC distributed a questionnaire to all candidates running for Portland City Council; Clackamas, Multnomah and Washington County Boards of Commissioners; and Metro Council. Each candidate was asked five questions on March 13 or 14, and given the opportunity to respond by March 30 when this story was first published. RACC will continue to publish responses from candidates even after the deadline has passed.
Here are the responses provided by Louise Lopes, running for Clackamas County Board of Commissioners, Position 2. All responses are reprinted verbatim from what the candidates sent us.
RACC: In what specific ways have you supported arts and culture in Clackamas County?
LL: This is the very first time I have run for elected office before so I have not had an opportunity to specifically support arts and culture in Clackamas County except as a private citizen. Personally, I strongly support all art and culture because I believe in the advancement of human potential and expression.
RACC: Artists and arts organizations add measurable value to the county’s economy, our education system and healthy communities – three of Clackamas County’s key performance measures. How would YOU describe the importance of arts and culture in our community, and what should Clackamas County be doing to support this sector?
LL: Art and culture is important to every community and one of the fundamentals of human experience from the beginning of the origins of our species. It is through drawings on cave walls that we learned about the very first humans and their life (and hence culture). It is especially imperative that all children and youth have a chance to explore their interests and talent in the field of art. Clackamas County should be supporting art, artists, and art education though funding and other avenues. As a Clackamas County Commissioner, I would pursue those priorities.
RACC: Many schools in Clackamas County are participating in The Right Brain Initiative, which infuses dance, music, visual art and other creative activities into science, language arts, math and other subjects. Rigorous evaluative data has demonstrated that this approach leads to better teachers and more engaged students with improved test scores. Do you support public investments in programs like these to support student learning in Clackamas County?
LL: Yes, I wholeheartedly support public investment in programs like The Right Brain Initiative. It is so innovative and integrates many creative activities with the more basic subjects, and as noted, results in overall improved test scores.
RACC: How can RACC and Clackamas County do a better job of providing arts experiences for underrepresented populations, including rural communities, people of color, people with disabilities and underserved neighborhoods?
LL: I think that outreach and access are very important to bring the arts experience to underrepresented/underserved populations such as people of color, other minorities, the LGBTQ community, rural inhabitants, and those struggling with economic injustice. Often times some members of these communities speak a primary language other than English ,and having the ability to communicate with them in that language improves outreach. Access can be enhanced by providing arts experiences in their schools and communities through funding as well as volunteers, improving the chances they can participate in the same opportunities as those in urban areas.
RACC: What are some of your other priorities for Clackamas County that would be of interest to artists, arts organizations and arts educators in our community?
LL: My priorities for Clackamas County include addressing many forms of injustice – social, economic, environmental, and more. Many forms of injustice limit, or exclude, entire groups of people from getting access not only to basic services but to exploring beyond that into the world of art, culture, and more.
I would be interested in promoting a funded educational program (through scholarships) for all ages to explore and advance their talents in all forms of art. Groups such as the Clackamas County Arts Alliance are vital. I’d like to see more events such as the annual Arts Extravaganza. A Clackamas County Art Fair would be a priority I would pursue.