As the November 2016 election approaches, the Johnson County Citizens Coalition for the Arts sent a survey to all candidates running for a seat on the Johnson County Commission. The survey asked about each candidate’s support of the Arts and Arts programs supported by the County in the Johnson County community.
In sharing the responses to the survey, The Johnson County Citizens Coalition for the Arts does not support any candidates.
Johnson County, Kansas, a community of choice, has long supported strong Arts programs through funding provided by the County and via a number of public/private partnerships. Johnson County made a large investment in Arts programming with the decision to convert the former King Louie building (87th and Metcalf) into a new Cultural and Heritage Center, which will open in 2017. This new facility will house several Johnson County Arts organizations and provide performance and rehearsal spaces, and new Arts programs for all ages in the community.
All seven candidates received this survey. Responses were returned from Jim Allen (District 2 incumbent and candidate) and Steve Klicka (District 3 incumbent and candidate). Their responses are provided below.
1) What role, if any, does art and culture play in achieving your vision for Johnson County?
Jim Allen: “A very important part in making Johnson County a community that people want to live in.”
Steve Klika: “When considering a positive and successful ‘quality of life’ program for the county, art, heritage and culture is an important component to the overall vision of a strong community.”
2) What impact have arts and cultural opportunities or arts education had on you, your family, your community and your schools?
Jim Allen: “The impact has been great. I think it has made me appreciate and understand the difference it can make in my quality of life.”
Steve Klika: “Arts and cultural opportunities have always been a part of our family through K-12 education to presently as a member of the county commission.”
3) What do you believe the role of the Board of County Commissioners should be in the development of the region’s cultural infrastructure?
Jim Allen: “We need to continue to support these efforts.”
Steve Klika: “Yes”
According to Americans for the Arts’ Local Arts Index study, Johnson County has one of the highest rates of arts participation and consumer spending in the Kansas City Metro area. Additionally, creative industries account for 4.5% of total number of businesses located in Johnson County and 2% of people employed. How would you support the dynamic growth of Johnson County’s creative sector?
Jim Allen: “I will continue to support projects when they are brought before the board.”
Steve Klika: “I believe the county can and should be a partner in the promotion of a coordinated cultural program including arts, heritage, theater and parks.”