Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Planet JH asks potential Govs what they think of the future of the arts in Wyoming

Planet JH Weekly staff conducted interviews with all the gubernatorial candidates. Subject: the state of the arts (and arts funding) in Wyoming.

Excerpts from some of the best responses for those of us who want to see the arts thrive in our state:

Matt Mead (R) said that artists' works attract cultural tourists. He sees Wyoming arts as being more closely tied with statewide tourism efforts, but though he confesses “a great passion for playing guitar that is inverse proportion to his talent,” he believes that art adds to individual quality of life. Mead pledges to follow Freudenthal's lead by continuing to make sure the arts remain relevant in Wyoming.

Rita Meyer (R): This is a 'quality of life' issue.” The governor, she said, is responsible for promoting the arts as much as economic development, natural resources and education. She would advocate for “incremental funding increases to the Cultural Trust Fund,” she said, and include the arts in Wyoming's infrastructure.

Leslie Petersen (D) said that she wishes the arts had been included in the Hathaway Scholarship curriculum, which provides incentives for students to pursue post-secondary education. Born in Dubois, Petersen credits her mother, a painter, with instilling her with a strong sense of the arts despite so much as a local movie theater. She would like to see the arts added to the list of accolades for Wyoming life, along with low crime, high education standards and the outdoor lifestyle. Petersen also said that she would use her many years of experience fundraising for various political campaigns and community efforts to increase private funding for individual artists. “I know how to raise money,” she said, “and I think it's very appropriate for the governor to do so.”

Pete Gosar (D) said that his experience as a teacher has given him first-hand knowledge of the value of arts in education. Once a student of the piano – who professes no ability – Gosar said that the arts are a different part of the learning process that add value to education. “It's a different way to put context to culture,” he said.
Read the entire article at

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