Candidate: Egan Orion, Candidate for District 3
- Website: www.eganforseattle.org
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/eganforseattle
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/eganforseattle
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/eganforseattle/
Seattle Arts Voter Guide: What is your arts platform?
Orion: As someone who runs one of the largest arts & cultural events in the region, PrideFest, I find the arts essential to a healthy, vibrant society. The arts have a unique way of bringing communities together and elevating the ideas and beliefs of a generation. At PrideFest, we are able to give a diverse array of artists a platform to share their art which reaches thousands of people every year. In my work, we lift the voices of the marginalized through art and spread a message of love and diversity to allied communities.
Over a period of several years, I also produced over 150 flash mobs both here in Seattle and around the United States. I saw how music and dance connected thousands of participants to each other and the inspiration that gave to the 20+ million people who viewed our videos online. Art belongs to everyone and is made better by community participation.
When I talk about small business and diverse neighborhoods, I see the arts as central to that. The city should be funding and supporting arts programs for youth. Music, fine arts, graphic design, and theater programs can be fun and engaging and provide a pathway to enrichment and a long, fulfilling career. These programs often enhance students performance in other subjects as well and can provide new opportunities for expression. All too often in education we think of preparing kids for college and focusing on language, math, and science. The arts must exist in this pantheon of core disciplines; otherwise, we leave so many children behind.
Communities like Capitol Hill that have an arts district and have long focused on art in public spaces make for more interesting, dynamic, and prosperous places. The monthly art walk on Capitol Hill brings out thousands of people to dozens of venues to enjoy art that’s being produced right here in our neighborhoods. It connects communities and in turn makes them healthier and safer. Theater works and cinemas spur economic impact far beyond the four walls of a theater space to restaurants and bars in the neighborhood.
Lower income families like many of my neighbors in the Central District haven’t always had robust art programs or investments in public art, and they could potentially benefit from it the most. I would invest more in after school arts programs and availability of summer arts programs for youth and make sure we subsidize those for our low-income families. Art shouldn’t be just something for the well-to-do; we need to make arts programs available to more people and make sure that that participation isn’t dependent on income.
Also, with any public arts program in a specific neighborhood, we should be sure to feature artists from that community, to make sure we have representation for people of color, women, and LGBTQ people, who historically have been left behind.
I will be a strong voice for the arts on council just as I have been in my career.