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Reminder: Vote today in Primary Election for City Council Representatives - Zer Netmouse
August 7th, 2007
11:27 am

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Reminder: Vote today in Primary Election for City Council Representatives
One of the candidates for City Council this year is Sabra Briere. I have known Sabra nearly all of my life and heartily recommend people vote for her. Besides being an incredibly intelligent and capable person, she makes absolutely fabulous chocolates.

I'm also supporting Mike Anglin over Wendy Woods for Ward 5. I've met him. He's got a lot of good ideas and is motivated to support the aspects of Ann Arbor I value the most.

Whoever you're voting for, vote! Find your polling location

Some input from the Ann Arbor Area Arts Alliance:
On August 7, 2007, primary elections will take place for candidates seeking a seat on the Ann Arbor City Council.

As a public service, the Arts Alliance asked the candidates to respond to the following two questions about their positions on arts and culture in our community.

1. What is your position on public funding for arts and culture?

2. If elected, what measurable actions will you take to ensure that arts and cultural offerings survive and thrive in Washtenaw county? Please be specific.



Council Member, Ward 1


Sabra Briere (Democrat)

1. What is your position on public funding for arts and culture?

I work for a non-profit, The Corner Health Center, that benefits directly from MCACA grants. These grants support our Theatre Troupe, and have provided support for this innovative and successful health education/theatre training program for years. By using a mix of public funds and funding from private foundation and corporate sources, the Theatre Troupe has been able to bring is health education message - teaching about HIV/AIDS, smoking and drug use prevention, domestic abuse, and depression - to middle and high schools in Washtenaw and western Wayne counties. Without public funding, the ability of Troupe staff to teach technique and health education to the troupe members, transport Troupe to the schools, and evaluate the success of the program is placed in jeopardy. Because I have this direct experience, and have been involved in the grant writing process, I really understand the value of public funding for the arts. A small program can fail without a little grant - and a major program, like Wild Swan, can fail utterly if its funding dries up at a critical time.

2. If elected, what measurable actions will you take to ensure that arts and cultural offerings survive and thrive in your community or district?

I will work with members of Council and the County Board of Commissioners as well as The University of Michigan to ensure that Ann Arbor and Washtenaw County continue to be able to provide appropriate levels of funding for arts venues. I recognize that, in these difficult economic times, the State of Michigan may sometimes consider funding for the arts to be less important. However, a vibrant cultural experience provides tourist opportunities, not only here in Ann Arbor but throughout the state. To limit funding for the arts is to limit income-generating activities that reach far beyond the arts themselves. Performance arts and arts events bring dollars to communities through meals eaten, gas purchased, hotel rooms rented, souvenirs and other purchases made . . . indeed, through many channels. I will lobby on behalf of the arts to strengthen our ties to Lansing, and will work to keep arts programs funded. I am aware that there are many different types of public and private funding partnerships needed in Ann Arbor to keep our vibrant cultural life exciting and varied. I hope to continue my support of the arts in many active ways.


John Roberts (Democrat)

No Response


Richard Wickboldt (Democrat)

1. What is your position on public funding for arts and culture?

Art has always been an integral part of human culture and we continue finding evidence of this in the exploration of human history. Art enriches our experience and is a direct reflection to human thought of the world around them. I believe that public funding for art is important and should be sustained because it builds a better community and allows for a common shared experience of beauty and insight.

2. If elected, what measurable actions will you take to ensure that arts and cultural offerings
survive and thrive in your community or district?

As a city council member I will continuously advocate the support of art within Ann Arbor. The following would be my desired actions of the city government:
  • Our parks can be used as a canvas and gallery by commissioning art. Such as sculptures and murals on some buildings.
  • I would like to explore the possibility of having a gallery within the park system.
  • When a city owned public building is erected or renovated. We should have some local art as part of the project.
  • Encourage developers to commission art within their projects when appropriate and when negotiating a project have it as a requirement.

    Council Member, Ward 3


    LuAnne Bullington (Democrat)

    No Response


    Leigh Greden (Democrat)

    1. What is your position on public funding for arts and culture?

    I support public funding for arts and culture. For example, I am working with Mayor Hieftje and City administrators to develop a program under which a portion of the budget for new public building projects would be devoted to public art.

    2. If elected, what measurable actions will you take to ensure that arts and cultural offerings survive and thrive in your community or district?

    As described above, I am working with Mayor Hieftje and City administrators to develop a program under which a portion of the budget for new public building projects would be devoted to public art. I have also worked with leaders from the Ann Arbor Art Center to explore options for their use of the City-owned property on W. Washington Street.

    Council Member, Ward 5


    Mike Anglin (Democrat)

    1. What is your position on public funding for arts and culture?

    The reason my wife and I have chosen to spend the rest of our lives here in Ann Arbor is the richness of its cultural life. Through the years, we have supported the Ann Arbor Arts Association, the Michigan Theater, the Purple Rose, the Performance Network, and many small theater companies here and in Ypsilanti. We frequent local galleries and send our b&b guests as well.

    I strongly support public funding for arts and culture and believe that the city needs to move in a positive direction to help assure the success of what we already have and encourage growth.

    Not only do the arts enrich our personal lives, but a vibrant cultural scene is a critical element in maintaining the kind of "creative economy" that will attract and retain business talent. State Representative Rebekah Warren has argued that businesses seek above all an educated work force and a high quality of life when looking for a new location. To me, it seems obvious that everyone benefits from public funding for arts and culture.


    2. If elected, what measurable actions will you take to ensure that arts and cultural offerings
    survive and thrive in your community or district.

    I believe in coalitions that would interweave the arts into the whole fabric of our community - especially the downtown area.

    The first step I'd take is to meet with the DDA and the A2 Art Association to hear more about the 415 W. Washington concept and to explore with them a range of possibilities in finding space for working artists. In Alexandria, Virginia and Christchurch, New Zealand, for example, there are buildings with artists' studios where people can watch work being created, talk with the artists, and purchase work. The areas surrounding these buildings enjoy a brisk trade as well. The concept would provide space and honor to artists and revitalize the city. It may even be possible to involve local public and private schools in some way.

    As the downtown library facility is improved, perhaps a larger, more flexible auditorium for lectures as well as live performance could be added. Right now, the space on the lower floor frequently overflows. That space also lends itself to expositions. Certainly many cities here and abroad have public halls which function as both gathering places and performance space. While we are fortunate to have the University venues, the city can, I believe, support ever more offerings.

    Yet another possibility would be to explore some innovative rent structuring that would help shops selling creative works that are not mass produced. My bed and breakfast guests cite these small businesses with their distinctive offerings as one of the main reasons they choose Ann Arbor as a destination. Again, the interests of a lively downtown and the arts community would be aligned.

    Another idea I've been thinking about is the creation of urban gardens in the downtown area. I believe that such groups as the Ann Arbor Garden Club, the Woman's National Farm and Garden, perhaps even the Old West Side Garden Club could work with the UM's landscape design people and local artist groups to create one or even more tranquil spaces merging art and garden in an ever more densely built downtown. I like providing places that nourish the spirit. I also think it's good to highlight the artistic bond between garden and space and sculptures.

    As the A2D2 design team and various committees consider guidelines for building in downtown, I'd like to involve the arts community for ideas about placement of sculptures and design features of buildings and streetscapes. Now is the time to weigh in on these issues. Too many of our new buildings are graceless with awkward corporate signage. Local artists are one of the major assets of our community and they should play a significant role in our changing landscape.

    I believe that the city of Ann Arbor and its people will benefit both financially and spiritually from a thriving arts and cultural environment. And, I believe that since the city itself will gain, it makes sense to offer public support of the arts. I think we have the means to accomplish this, but we need the will to make the effort to think creatively and to be guided by our values. It just makes good sense.

    I would welcome the opportunity to talk with you about any of these ideas. It seems to me that if other cities around the world can appreciate the contribution made by the arts community and can manage to support it, so can we. Together we can make it happen here.


    Wendy Ann Woods (Democrat)

    1. What is your position on public funding for arts and culture?

    I wholeheartedly support public funding for the arts and culture. Public funding provides an important foundation for the continued success and sustainability of artistic ventures and cultural ventures. The City of Ann Arbor has been able to help to fund community events through the Community Events Fund. Events such as the African American Downtown Day, the Summer Festival, and the Festival of Fools Day have received grants which have enabled the events to take place. These grants, combined with private and other public support, have often made a huge difference in whether or not the event could proceed. The events enrich the lives of our community and should always be embraced and supported by the City and the residents.

    2. If elected, what measurable actions will you take to ensure that arts and cultural offerings
    survive and thrive in your community or district.

    The City can continue to express our concern for the future of the State Cultural Grants funding through contacting our state legislators. This can be done in the form of a Resolution with copies sent to the Governor. Continued cooperation between the City of Ann Arbor and the University of Michigan is another avenue which should be encouraged and strengthened. I also think that the possibility of creating a performing arts venue in downtown Ann Arbor, possibly on City owned land in a joint public-private venture is worth exploring.
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