DISTRICT 9 - Joshua Arce
How would you describe the specific impact of artists and arts organizations on the life of our City? Please use at least one example of the arts changing lives or communities.
Artists are a vital part of our city. Artists start movements that lead to long-lasting social change. For the first ten years of my career as a civil rights attorney, I also expressed myself through playing music, working with other artists who care about the City that we live in. An amazing organization in District 9, the 7 Tepees Program, allows youth to express their everyday experiences through art among other activities. It gives youth and outlet so that they excel in school and do not get caught up in dangerous activities in the neighborhood. Some of the students’ art is actually hanging in my campaign office on 24th Street.
How will you ensure that San Francisco’s historically underserved communities are able to access the full benefits of the arts and resources for creative and community expression?
I would like to see more City funding for public art and murals to be awarded to local artists, and I would be sure to support arts organizations in District 9 that are accessible to underserved communities. I worked with community leaders to fund the first public art installation in West Bernal for more than a decade, a community-designed tile mosaic at Esmeralda Slide Park.
Over the past year the arts have been utilized to improve safety and protect the environment. For example, artist studios have activated vacant buildings. Murals have highlighted bike corrals and warned residents about the dangers of pollution. Name one or two ways you would leverage the work of artists and arts organizations to cultivate vibrant neighborhoods and achieve civic priorities.
Where I live in the Mission along 24th Street our murals are a vital part of our neighborhood. They honor our civil rights leaders and important movements in Latino history and the history of our neighborhood. I would encourage artists to promote peaceful conflict resolution through art as we have experienced a string of violent shootings in the Mission in recent months. As a committed environmentalist and the former President of the Environment Commission, I would also like to see art that educates the public on what they can do to eliminate their carbon footprint.
Research shows that students with an arts-rich education have better grade point averages, lower drop-out rates, and score better on standardized tests in reading and math. How will you ensure every San Francisco student is provided a robust arts education in school and has access to ample opportunities to engage in art outside of school?
I would work with members of our Board of Education and members on our Youth Commission to pass policies and resolutions to supports the arts in our public schools as well as expanding City funding for youth art organizations.
How will you improve affordable housing and tenant protections, both for low income and middle class San Franciscans? Do you support artist-specific affordable housing? Why or why not?
I am the only candidate in the District 9 race who has experience building affordable housing as the secretary of the board of one of the City’s oldest and largest affordable housing nonprofits. I will continue this work as Supervisor to build housing that is affordable housing for all of us. I recently proposed a neighborhood plan for Mission Street South of Cesar Chavez that would build a new 30th Street BART station and much needed housing for everyone in our city. Our proposal specifically included low income, middle income, artist, and teacher housing.
What can the City do to address skyrocketing rents -- for office, studio, rehearsal and performance spaces -- for artists, arts groups and other nonprofits?
I would expand City support for arts funding stabilization. Proposition X on this November’s ballot is also a good way to protect spaces for artists but could be expanded to other neighborhoods and include additional uses.
Do you support the SF Arts and Families Funding Ordinance, restoring allocations of some Hotel Tax revenues to the City’s arts agencies and resources to prevent family homelessness? Why or why not?
Yes, I absolutely support the SF Arts and Families Funding Ordinance because it will help to keep artists in our city, bring much needed aid to families experiencing homelessness, and return hotel tax revenues to their original intended purpose.
Private development in some portions of the City must set aside 1% of their construction budget for art, or support for arts facilities. Would you support extending that 1% for art requirement on new development to the entire city? Why or why not?
Yes, I would support extending this to the rest of the city to ensure we continue to invest in artists and stop the flood of artists who are forced to leave San Francisco due to the exorbitant residential and commercial rents.