Candidate: Andrew Lewis, Candidate for District 7
- Website: www.lewisforseattle.com
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/lewisforseattle
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/LewisforSeattle
Seattle Arts Voter Guide: What is your statement on the arts?
Lewis: As a graduate of the Center School, I have a strong affinity for Seattle’s vibrant arts scene. The Seattle Center campus was a great place to go to high school, and the opportunity greatly shaped me as a leader and citizen. The Center School exposed me to the plays of August Wilson for the first time, gave me the opportunity to participate in a competitive poetry slam at Hugo House, and even led to submitting a student film which was shown at SIFF.Between the Seattle Center, Downtown, and Belltown; District 7 has a vibrant arts scene, and I look forward to being a strong advocate for the arts on the Seattle City Council.
The same way I had the great benefit of an arts integrated education at the Center School (meaning an art component was integrated into most traditional academic subjects) public services and projects should have an art component where appropriate as well. I support the 1% for the arts concept, and favor the integration of public art into all public building projects, including bridges, libraries, community centers, municipal offices, and more. The built environment of Seattle should be an expression of who we are and uplift the soul of resident and visitor alike.
SAVG: How do you plan to engage with the cultural institutions in Downtown Seattle and Queen Anne?
Lewis: The city has two main outlets for engaging with the arts community. The first is the Seattle Office of Arts and Culture which provides critical support to essential public programs promoting the arts. In 2017 alone, Arts and Culture invested over $3 million in matching grants in community organizations, resulting in 3,600 performances and exhibits attended by nearly 1.7 million people. At a return of less than $2 of taxpayer money per-patron, The Seattle Office of Arts and Culture has a huge impact with a small budget, and as a councilmember I will fight to make sure it is fully funded.
The second city resource for the arts is the Seattle Arts Commission, which oversees the Office of Arts and Culture but can also propose initiatives in its own right. As a former member of the Seattle Human Rights Commission, I have considerable respect for the tireless work of the Seattle’s volunteer commissions. I intend to work closely with the Seattle Arts Commission to stay in touch with the concerns of the arts community, and be a strong partner in realizing projects and legislation prioritized by the Commission.
I will work closely with cultural institutions in District 7 to make sure they are receiving the support they need from the Office of Arts and Culture, and that their priorities and concerns are addressed by the deliberations of the Seattle Arts Commission.
SAVG: How will you support or encourage creative growth within district areas like Interbay and Magnolia, that have less artistic development?
Lewis: Every neighborhood in Seattle deserves to have cultural amenities and artistic presence. It is as essential as any public service. With planning underway for Sound Transit light rail to go through Interbay, we will have a great opportunity to make an artistic statement with the stations, much like the Capitol Hill station opened a few years ago. Moreover, the Magnolia Bridge replacement could be a great opportunity to make a bold artistic statement. In many cities bridges are their most iconic landmarks due to their unique contributions to the architecture and aestic presence of that place. Using infrastructure as a vehicle for artistic expression is something we should consider with every new project.
Moreover, to my knowledge neither Interbay or Magnolia have a performing arts center of any kind. Theaters and venues offer great opportunities to build community and add vibrancy to a neighborhood. Increasing the performing arts footprint for all the neighborhoods of District 7 is something that should be a priority as we grow.