Beth Weldon – Assembly Candidate
- I attend as many arts and cultural events throughout the year as I can while raising two very active, athletic boys. I probably attend Perseverance plays more than anything else especially the comedies. I have attended a few high school plays. I love art, and attend First Fridays and Gallery Walk when I can. I have an extensive art collection which I started when I was in high school. Unfortunately some of my art is under beds as I have run out of wall space. My favorite artists are Fehringer and Birdsall although my family thinks Rie Munoz followed them around when I was a kid. With my two kids, I have had to put collecting art on hold to spend money on skis, hockey gear, etc. For music, I enjoy the Folk Festival and try to take in some of the bands. I also enjoy Who’s your DIVA, although I missed it this year to attend Boogie on da Bayou. The museum has always been a favorite place for the kids and I to go and we have attended the State Museum every year a couple of times since they were little. They loved the boat, but are a little too old for that now even though the new one is spectacular. I attend parts of Celebration when possible and enjoy the dancing and singing. The group that met the one millionth cruise ship passenger was both entertaining and a fitting welcome.
Both my sons are decent artists and Cody has a mask on display currently at the Juneau airport. He is taking an Advanced Independent art class with Heather Ridgway this year. My other son, Tyler plays the alto sax and was involved with concert choir, wind ensemble, and pep band last year. He has had to take a semester off of music this year due to his scheduling conflicts but plans to pick up band again in the spring.
- I have read some information on the new facility. I understand that the pARTnership board is meeting as the Design Committee with the architects. Unless things have changed the facility would be about 35,000 sq ft and will include a theater, gallery, sound studio, and concessions plus some other neat features such as actual dressing rooms. The cost is about $18.8 million although I am not certain where the money is coming from other than JAHC.
- One of my topics in the forums that I have participated in is to follow the JEDC plan of making Juneau an Arts and Culture Center for the Northwest to attract jobs and increase revenue. The Cultural Campus in Willoughby would support that vision along with the Walter Sobeloff Heritage Center, the new SLAM, the renovation of Elizabeth Peratrovich Hall, and the new Tlingit and Haida Immersion Park on Thane. Other than having the city assist with planning and advertising of the arts and culture events and helping with parking and transportation, I am not sure what role the Assembly can embrace. I would hope a partnership with CBJ, JEDC, JAHC, Juneau Chamber, DBA, and any of the foundations could move the Cultural Campus forward.
- Arts and culture can be extremely important tools in regards to tolerance, acceptance, and understanding others. A quick example is the Healing Totem made for Gastineau Elementary School to assist in moving beyond past acts and looking toward the future. Art can take so many different forms that in itself it is an example of diversity. I look forward to the myriad of ways the artists in town will explore the issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion.