Candidate: Ari Hoffman, Candidate for District 2
- Website: Hoffmanforseattle.com
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AriHoffmanForSeattleCityCouncil
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/thehoffather
One of my favorite movies is Mr. Hollands Opus. I was a Performing Arts kid. I was always more interested in my extra curricular activities than what was going on in the classroom. I could relate to every character in the movie because I saw myself, my friends or my teachers in it. For me, the arts were an escape from troubles of my broken home and a place where I could be someone else. The first week of high school, I joined the choir, chamber choir and auditioned for Damn Yankees. I was hooked. Performing Arts enabled a quiet kid like me to find my voice. I double majored in Marketing and Drama in College. My school did not have an acapella group, so a friend of mine and I would drive an hour every week to another college to be members of theirs. My choirs and acapella groups performed all over the east coast and allowed me to participate in unique opportunities. We had an annual trip to perform with the cadets at West Point Academy. We performed in Washington DC, when the US postal Service dedicated the first Hannukah Stamp. We even performed at 1 World Trade Center several weeks before 9/11. One of the more entertaining experiences was performing The Sound of Music in Hebrew in High School. “Nazis” wearing yarmulkas and speaking in Hebrew can probably be considered the best form of “revenge fantasy.”
My theater and choir directors became my mentors and helped keep me on the straight and narrow path when my life could have gone a very different direction. Those teachers helped shape my life. They were always there to help me through whatever was going on in my life. They made sure that when money was tight at home, I was still able to participate in every program. Even though I grew up in New York, I invited all of them to my wedding in Seattle. There were some teens in a community youth group in Seattle when I was the director, that I knew that I could benefit from these experiences do I offered them something new by creating an acapella group. My children all have weekly instrument lessons just as I did, and my son is now asking if I can direct a show for his school in the winter.
Funding for the arts is crucial in society. It encourages free expression of ideas and is an outlet for so many. It has been shown time and time again that the arts improve a child’s educational experience in academics and self esteem. Performing arts also provide children with skills such as public speaking, teamwork and leadership that will last a lifetime. Free expression is one of the many gifts and benefits of living in a free society.
There is public art that has improved the infrastructure and quality of life in D2. Public art as part of development projects is something I would like to continue to support and encourage. My drawing skills are limited by my lack of talent, so I would love to encourage others who have those gifts. Someone recently approached me with the idea of adding murals to help beautify neighborhoods of the district and wanted to involve the neighborhood teens in creating the designs. I would like to see school choirs and theater groups offered the opportunity for more public performances. I would love to expand summer and after school offerings of the arts through Parks and Recreation. This would have the added benefit of being available to those who may not have the financial resources to afford those opportunities.
While performing arts are what I know best and are closest to my heart, I am grateful to be running for a district where there are so many Arts Festivals in neighborhoods like in Rainier Valley and Georgetown. My company is often involved in these festivals by providing children’s entertainment. I would like to see more festivals so that every weekend there are opportunities to experience the arts in Seattle. I am always available to discuss new opportunities for the arts in Seattle and I encourage you to reach out to me to discuss your ideas for new programs that can give a voice to those who may be struggling to find theirs.