For the spring 2018 primary election, RACC distributed a questionnaire to all candidates running for Portland City Council; Clackamas, Multnomah and Washington County Boards of Commissioners; and Metro Council. Each candidate was asked five questions on March 13 or 14, and given the opportunity to respond by March 30 when this story was first published. RACC will continue to publish responses from candidates even after the deadline has passed.
Here are the responses provided by Shirley Craddick, running for Metro Councilor, District 1. All responses are reprinted verbatim from what the candidates sent us on April 9.
RACC: In what specific ways have you supported arts and culture in the Portland metro region?
SC: Metro is very fortunate to have a close working relationship with the Regional Arts and Culture Council. The organization has advised and helped Metro staff select public art for two projects at the Oregon Zoo, Elephants Lands and the Education facility. The art is beautiful and contributes so much to the new elephant habitat and education facility.
In addition, RACC has worked with Metro staff helping recruit artists each year for the annual Glean program transforming trashed and neglected items found at Metro’s Central Transfer Station in north Portland into art. Each year the items are displayed at a show at a local art studio. Many items become permanent exhibits at Metro facilities.
RACC: Artists and arts organizations add measurable value to our region’s economy, our education system and our quality of life. Yet there are a number of pressing needs in our communities that often compete with arts and culture for attention and investment. How would YOU describe the importance of arts and culture in our community, and what should Metro be doing to support this sector?
We all know that when artists begin to rent space in a neighborhood the area is on its way to becoming gentrified. Artists are the incubators helping languishing neighborhoods and business districts to becoming more desirable and successful. On one side this is great news. We want all neighborhoods to thrive, businesses to be successful and neighborhoods to be great places to live, but we also need to keep housing in a neighborhood affordable, so gentrification does not push the artists out.
Metro’s performing art facilities have the opportunity to promote local artists by displaying artist’s works and hosting art shows. Multiple shows have occurred at various Metro facilities. The performing art facilities have over 1 million people walk through their doors each year.
Metro supports young artists too. Using Metro Paint (paint recycled at a Metro facility) young artists have painted murals at a variety of structures that often tagged with graffiti.
RACC: The region’s affordability is a serious concern for everyone in our community. What are your plans for making housing and creative spaces more affordable for artists, nonprofit arts organizations and arts-related businesses?
One way to support the art and culture community is to have adequate affordable housing. The Metro Council is exploring this challenge and hosting discussions with the regional community to prepare a plan to ensure there is adequate affordable housing in the region. We are considering asking the regional voters to support a bond measure that will allow housing to be built in all parts of the Portland metro region.
Another way to support the art community is to encourage cities to create more zoning for more live/work buildings to be constructed or renovated. Allowing artists to live in their studios can be a significant savings.
RACC: How can RACC and Metro do a better job of providing arts experiences for underrepresented populations, including rural communities, people of color, people with disabilities and underserved neighborhoods?
SC: Annually Metro’s Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall hosts performances for the Portland metro area Title 1 schools. The goal is to introduce young people, who might not have the opportunity, to be able to attend an artist performance. The Black Violin duo, Wil Bapiste and Kevin Sylvester, have performed the last two years for these young audiences. The two are classical violinist who perform Hip Hop. It is moving to see the young people respond to their performance. The children stand or dance in the aisles for almost the entire performance. This is a commitment that Metro has to help young people of our region. In addition, the Black Violin is accompanied by a youth orchestra.
In addition, Metro’s Portland’5 provides free tickets and bus passes to students and teachers in Title 1 schools for performances that interest children, such as “Billy Elliot, The Musical.” Invitations also go out to Job Corp enrollees and Urban League families.
RACC: What are some of your other priorities for Metro that would be of interest to artists, arts organizations and arts educators in our community?
SC: Metro’s Park and Nature departments is beginning to contemplate how more nature-based art programs can be incorporated into the work that Metro does in our natural areas.