Candidate: Christopher Peguero, Candidate for District 2
- Website: District2forPeguero.com
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ChristopherPegueroSeattle/
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/christopherpeg5
Seattle Arts Voter Guide: What is your statement on the arts?
Peguero: Arts are a critical part for our community to celebrate express and sustain our cultural stories. Art and creativity are a foundation to being human and are important throughout our lives. The art and creativity that has most influenced me is music. Until recently, I have been a singer most of my life. Throughout my public schooling and University experience I had the opportunity to travel and compete as a singer and sax player and performer. This was critical for me in my development. Unfortunately, arts programming is often the first budget that is cut for our public school children or looked at as optional or extracurricular. I am committed to maintaining and growing arts programming when and where opportunities become available to do so.
SAVG: Describe a meaningful arts experience that has stayed with you over time.
Peguero: For me, my high school experience with our school’s show choir, vocal jazz, concert choir and multiple bands were fundamental to my education. I continued to sing through my college experience and as an adult when I moved to Seattle. Only recently, since starting my family have I not had time to commit to singing – although singing for my children and making music are central to their experience is incredibly importance to our family.
SAVG: How do the arts reflect the voices and perspectives in your own neighborhood?
Peguero: Roberto Maestas Plaza on top of Beacon Hill is an excellent example of how art can be an informative way to capture the cultural stories of our communities. When art is a centerpiece in building design, not only can it preserve our cultural stories but, it can also be a statement against the pressures of gentrification and displacement – a tool to mobilize action of the community to resist inequity and oppression.
SAVG: How do you envision the arts as part of Seattle, especially as part of education, equity, housing, transportation, culture, the economy, and/or community?
Peguero: I think it is critical – and can be a tool to mobilize action of community to resist inequity and oppression.
SAVG: How have you supported the arts in the past and how do you plan on supporting the arts in the future?
Peguero: In my work at Seattle City Light – I was part of a team that looked at the artistic design of the new Denny Substation. I lobbied that the design capture the story of the racial and historic diversity of Seattle, a story of civil rights and the City of Seattle’s commitment to Race and Social Justice and Environmental Equity.
The design of the building captures these elements and preserves that story within the building itself.
I am supportive of the City of Seattle’s 1% for arts program – and have used the Race and Social Justice Initiative and 1% for Art as a way to incorporate cultural stories in neighborhoods where City Light has building projects.
SAVG: What role do you think arts and culture should have in Seattle?
Peguero: I think it currently has a significant role – the City of Seattle Department of Arts and Culture has been a leader in implementing Race and Social Justice strategies and action. I will continue to support this important leadership.
SAVG: Do you think cultural preservation should be a priority in Seattle?
Peguero: Absolutely! See my comments about Roberto Maestas Plaza above.
SAVG: What has been your personal involvement in the arts?
Peguero: Mainly in support of centering cultural community stories when the city has an opportunity to use the 1% for arts program with new building projects. Personally, arts is critical for my interaction with the two kids 5 and 6 as a parent.
SAVG: What do you think is sufficient for funding the arts per citizen and what do you envision as ideal ways for the arts to manifest and benefit the largest number of citizens?
Peguero: As an employee at the City of Seattle, I am proud of the City’s commitment to 1% towards art program. The current budget is nearly $6 million.
I would like to work Seattle Public Schools to find a way to build sustainable funding for arts in all Seattle public schools. Arts has been a critical part of my life’s experience. I believe all Seattle students should have access to the arts!