Comstock's magazine 0618 - June 2018 - Page 33

You’re new to the position, but hardly new to California’s arts scene or work- ing with the CAC. How does that in- form what you bring to the job? I have 40 years of experience in arts educa- tion and state advocacy, and since I could walk I’ve been a community activist with my family. So this is for me a continuum of being immersed in making things hap- pen in the community I live in. My expe- rience in education suits this agency well since our biggest bucket of funding goes toward arts education. A lot of the state- wide advocacy I’ve done [in the past] has been working with many of the agencies we work with here, most importantly with the Department of Education and Create California. So it’s familiar work. A big part of your career has been working to link the arts with economic development. What are some exam- ples of those efforts? I’ve helped steer arts education toward career-level education, because any career in the creative industry should be honored just as much as someone who is going to be a doctor or a lawyer. Almost any profession benefits from someone being a creative, innovative and critical thinker in terms of trying to parse out new solutions to problems. So on the state level, I’ve helped bring the traditional fine arts programs into the fold of career technical education. I have two curricular programs being used statewide as models, one in high schools for arts media and entertainment, and the other for product innovation and design, which is in the manufacturing industry setting. So kids are actually taking arts courses and creative education courses, and their parents can see jobs within the scope of that work. Does the CAC have any public-private partnerships? The CAC itself doesn’t have any current public-private partnerships, but I’m not discounting it. That’s something I’ve been looking at a lot. In our grant funding, whenever someone applies to have a project funded, they need to have matching funds from somewhere in the community. So in that way, we do foster public-private collaboration and partner- ship right off the bat with every one of our grant funding possibilities. It would be great to do it on a larger level. I think it’s really important to nurture that kind of buy-in for a community. It’s a way to nurture public health. If you get a neigh- borhood involved in choosing what kind of art is going to go on a building, or how a playground is going to be arranged or what a sculpture is going to be, you de- velop civic pride and a feeling of owner- ship and buy-in that right away starts to elevate that community. “ Almost any profession bene- fits from someone being a cre- ative, innovative and critical thinker in terms of trying to parse out new solu- tions to problems.” You’re a proponent of incorporating more technology and design training into arts curriculums. In what way? You have pencils and you have brushes and you have cameras, so technology is another tool set. The technology is just an advancement in the tool sets we use. Whoever is designing the box or the user experience or the user interface needs to know about design. We should be teach- ing industry-standard stuff. Kids we grad- uate out into the world should know some computer programming, and it should June 2018 | 33