Candidate: Ann Davison Sattler, Candidate for District 5
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When I consider how art impacts lives, I envision it within cultures. A city is inherently mechanical and the arts are even more critical to maintain and highlight within the city because of that. The arts invoke emotions that we want to foster in community like caring, empathy, and a spirit of ingenuity. The arts provide connections to our emotions and senses, which can encourage the most virtuous parts of our humanness in interactions with others. Art underscores our mind / body awareness which allows us to be more emotionally cognizant individually and collectively.
For me, after spending time working in a Cambodian refugee camp, the next time I returned, I made a point to visit the ancient temple complex of Angkor Wat. It has stayed with me ever since. Although I had studied its history for years before, nothing prepared me for what I saw when I arrived. It was overgrown by the jungle, but every stone of the massive structure that rose above the brush was intricately hand carved. It took so many people working together to create such a masterpiece and Angkor Wat reminds me of how integral art is in defining a community. Seattle is obviously quite different from Angkor Wat but the arts go a long way towards defining what it means to us. Before Seattle was known for its technology companies and coffee, it was known for its music. We have cultural treasures like the Crocodile, Showbox, the Tractor, and Neumos, where local and visiting musicians can share their music with us. As a musician myself, the community fostered through music is like no other. The arts can help us cope with life’s challenges, providing connections to others by which we can build sustainable relationships and societal progress.
For Seattle, we need to maintain art and cultural hubs along with the way we maintain transit hubs. As transit hubs will be the center for moving people physically, art and cultural hubs should be developed and/or maintained for moving people socially and emotionally because of their intrinsic distinction in helping develop and maintain benevolence. One small way to start to incorporate these two types of hubs would be to have subtle, local music playing on trains and buses, in addition to the art of which we currently have.
I want to see local neighborhoods more able to add art on their streets because it shows a pattern of care for the city while fostering individual involvement and community. We also should ensure there is art and music education in our schools. Children of all abilities can participate in art and music, this breaks down barriers and focuses on commonalities and teamwork. Those are parts of our culture which should be emphasized more. One example of this is a project I helped create at my kids’ school. Students got to paint a mural inside a school entry way. It got kids involved in art and raised funds for the school. It also provided an important safety aspect for children by giving the doorway exit an animal theme visual label. The mural design actually facilitates safer exits for the children because it is easier for young children to identify than directional labeling. It is now being replicated throughout other exits of the school for beautification and safety.
Vital to supporting the local arts also includes ensuring that tax revenue slotted to support the arts is protected. Unfortunately, in our city negotiations to get hockey here, our current city council waived a standing Seattle ordinance that requires venues add a 5% admissions tax to ticket prices. That 5% is designated revenue to go to support the arts. That waiver will allow the corporate investors to collect the tax from consumers but keep the revenue instead of paying it to the city to support the arts. Decisions like this clearly do not support the arts right here in our city and further hinders the important societal work that the arts provide for us. We need strong leaders who also value the arts and what they can do for society as a whole, and for the individual. As a council member I would be committed to ensuring taxes supporting the arts are not waived and ensure we have the structure to support this important part of our local culture!