There are two major reasons I believe that we need to promote government support for the ARTS.

The first is I believe the greatness of a people is eventually judged by what they contribute to the arts and culture of their times. DC must continue to build on the tremendous programs we now have here and ensure that our children understand the value of the arts in their lives.

The second becomes a more altruistic reason when I take my seat on the City Council and am responsible for passing budgets in these difficult economic times. The ARTS community contributes mightily to the economic health of our City. There is a billion dollar return from the Arts community to the District of Columbia through job creation and taxes. We in the District of Columbia sell more tickets to performances than any other City except New York. We are fortunate to have companies like the Shakespeare Theatre who along with the Verizon Center is given much credit for the revival of our
downtown.

As a Councilmember I will promote the ARTS and support continued public funding for their expansion into every neighborhood of the District. The ARTS are the perfect example of great public/private partnerships that make our City great.

We need to continue to work with our ARTS institutions to bring the ARTS into our schools and to develop business/community/school partnerships that expand our children’s horizons in all the arts. One of the most exciting projects developed in recent years has been THEARC in Anacostia. A success story and a place for the community where our young people can come to be educated, cared for in safety, and find a place for themselves in the ARTS community.

I will continue to press for public support of the ARTS community when I am on the Council in a number of ways including supporting the DC Office of Planning’s work to include Arts and Culture as a separate component of the city’s overall Comprehensive Plan and funding of the DC Commission on the ARTS and Humanities. In addition I will work with the DC Public Schools to get them to adopt an ARTS policy that will ensure that all our children have equal access to the ARTS.

Clark Ray is the former Director of Parks and Recreation in the District, and a candidate for DC City Council.

To see the opening post in this series, and additional responses, click here.

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