Category: Changing the Political Will

10/16/2019 Don’t lower cap for spending on public art

Kitsap Sun

Oct. 16, 2019

Don’t lower cap for spending on public art

As a member of the local community of artists, I was one of those lobbying the Kitsap County Board of Commissioners to institute the Percent for Art program in 2002. The recent Kitsap Sun story outlining the curtailing of this program by cutting it from 1% of qualifying Kitsap County capital projects to 1 ⁄ 2 of one percent was not good news to me.

But it also was not surprising.

There have long been cultural Luddites opposing programs that allocate a certain percentage for public art at the national, state and local levels, despite innumerable accounts and studies documenting the pivotal role these programs have played in boosting the economies in communities across the country. People are drawn to communities with vibrant cultural climates, both as places to live and work as well as places to visit and recreate.

Even more disturbing than the reduction to a half a percent is the capping of the allocation to $75,000 per project. This provision ensures that the biggest and most important projects will not be supported by artwork commensurate with the project’s importance. It is uncommon for capital projects in today’s economy not to exceed a couple of million dollars. Without the new caps, such a project would merit a $100,000 art budget. The missing $25,000 will lessen both the attractiveness of the project to top artists and the size or amount of art procured. It is the public that will suffer this diminution.

Alan Newberg is a founding member of Collective Visions Gallery in Bremerton.

09/17/2019: We can help more families find housing

In reply to the Kitsap Sun’s recent story, “Sky-rocketing rental prices show no sign of slowing“: 

America, including Kitsap County, has a housing crisis. Since 1960, renters’ median earnings have gone up 5 percent while rents have risen by 61 percent — and only 37 affordable and available rental homes exist for every 100 extremely low-income renter households. However, because of inadequate funding, only 1 in 4 eligible households can get rental housing assistance.

Stable housing makes our lives and our communities better. It improves job performance and helps our children stay happy, healthy, and safe. Kids do better in school when they have a reliable place to come home to.

Everyone deserves a home. I call on our senators and representatives in Washington to shift tax resources to support a “Renters Tax Credit” for low- and moderate-income families. We must address the affordable housing crisis and end poverty. It is in our power to end this crisis. Will you join in ending homelessness?

Judy Arbogast, Olalla

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