Board of Education Candidates: Phil Kim

Phil Kim

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.

San Francisco has a deep history rooted in the Arts. Recently, a few friends and I went on a Mission Mural Walk by Precita Eyes. I learned so much about the rich culture, deep history, and transformative work of organizations such as Precita Eyes, and the community partnerships and organizations that continue to grow and develop our youngest minds. It is clear the impact of artists and art organizations like Precita Eyes are not only preserving the past, but molding the future of local artists and our City.

We live in the most innovative, progressive, and creative hotbeds in the country. We must leverage all our resources to ensure these programs and partnerships are cultivated and endure.

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?

It is critical that our schools become as much a part of our neighborhoods and communities as any other organization. They can act as centers for nurturing creative minds – young and old. As Commissioner, I will look to not only build on our currently existing arts and creative programs, but to also expand our offerings across our District. Our underserved neighborhoods need the resources (money) to be able to build sustainable programs that become pillars in our communities of creative expression, just as much as we provide access to technology and computer science. We must ensure we are providing all students in every neighborhood with a holistic education, and that our historically underserved communities have all the resources at their disposal.

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.

I believe that the culture of a school and community can be shaped by the aesthetics and imagery of our structures. As I was on the Precita Eyes Mural Walk, I was struck by the messaging that each mural tried to convey. I wonder the extent to which our District has partnered with local artists to bring life to our buildings, and I am committed to ensuring we revitalize wasted space to ensure we are promoting the arts in every corner of our schools. Additionally, I hope to strengthen our curriculum to include examples of locally- and culturally-responsive pedagogy to ensure we are highlighting the work of local artists, activists, and truly speak to the context of the art in our City.

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 am only one of three candidates who is a credentialed educator. I hope to leverage my experience in education (as a former teacher) to look deeply into curriculum, teaching, and learning in SFUSD to ensure we are providing a holistic and meaningful educational experience for our students – including access to arts before, during, and after school. We already have robust after school programs, but we need more opportunities so barriers are minimized as much as possible. I am dedicated to ensuring our schools provide robust arts education for our students, and finding ways to highlight our proof points to incentivize parent/family engagement and provide models for other schools.

How can the SFUSD help retain our artists and arts organizations?

I believe that, through developing and growing our partnerships, we can ensure artists and arts organizations are partnering with the District in providing professional and developmental opportunities for local artists. 
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?

Though I have yet to come to a final decision on Prop S, I do fundamentally believe that the City must build sustainable funding streams and revenue to the City’s arts agencies and dedicate resources to prevent family homelessness. I have not yet done my own extensive research into the proposal, but plan to soon.

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