Legislature(1997 - 1998)
03/25/1997 08:07 AM STA
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
HB 143 - REPEAL ART IN PUBLIC PLACES REQUIREMENT The next order of business to come before the House State Affairs Standing Committee was HB 143, "An Act relating to the art in public places requirements for state-owned and state-leased buildings and facilities." Number 0556 CHAIR JAMES announced that she had closed the public testimony. However, because there were only four people that wanted to testify today, she would open it up again. She called upon Shannon Planchon, Grant Administrator, Alaska State Council on the Arts, to testify via teleconference from Anchorage; however, Ms. Planchon said she was there to answer questions only. Number 0668 CAROLYN ROSEBERY testified via teleconference from Cordova. Her life had been incredibly enriched by the art that she had found. It had taken her 41 years to find that art. In Cordova, she had been exposed to art in the schools and began to discover her own gift and abilities. "I think I might be dead now if I hadn't discovered those gifts," she said. Her daughter was a National Merit Scholar and had chosen to become an artist; she was graduating this year from the University of Alaska Fairbanks with a degree in art. There would never be enough art in the world because it came from one's spirit as a human being. She asked: Do we have to start over to reinvent the wheel? There were many talented kids in Cordova, and the community had nothing to work with. There was no support; people were afraid of art because it brought out the real self. Number 0929 BARBARA SHORT, Art Teacher, Fairbanks North Star Borough School District, testified via teleconference from Fairbanks. She was also the percent-for-art program person in the schools. She said they now had 20 schools that had wonderful art installed that was being enjoyed on a daily basis by a large number of student, teachers, parents and community members. The impact of the percent-for-art in the community had been really strong. Every year there was a bill opposing the percent-for-art program and every year the school district drew up a resolution to oppose the bill. The resolution was not done yet; therefore, she read a resolution from 1995 to the committee members. MS. SHORT asked Representative Vezey why he wanted to eliminate the percent-for-art program, when schools in his area were just now getting a change to get at it. And how did his bill benefit anybody in the state? REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY, sponsor, replied that the bill was not about funding art. He was the only member of the Alaska State Legislature that had actually worked on a direct appropriation for art. The bill was about a formula program that drove state spending, reducing the accountability and responsibility of the legislature. It was not about supporting the arts. Number 1135 JUNE ROGERS was the next person to testify via teleconference in Fairbanks. Last week she sent several messages to the legislators on HB 143. In her previous comments, she'd referred to a Request for Proposals (RFP) for the Crawford School on Eielson Air Force Base. The art requested and commemorated the person for whom the building was dedicated. This type of commemoration was positive because it was based on respect for the school, the achievers, and the leaders. Art in public buildings was a subtle and powerful tool. Time and time again, studies had shown that young people who had the opportunity to be schooled in the arts were capable of more concentrated thoughts, were more creative in problem solving, and had a better understanding of other studies. In addition, art in public buildings was an investment that utilized the state's resources, its raw materials and the talents of its people. MS. ROGERS said the resulting product became part of the infrastructure that helped the visitors understand the culture of Alaska. The value of the program became more evident with each passing year. Alaskans and "Fairbankians" were proud people and eager to show the world who they are, who they were, and who they stood for, which the art reflected. In addition, the 1-percent- for-art projects constituted an "open museum" because they were accessible to all of the community members. This approach was less costly to administer than a full-scale facility necessary to house a museum or gallery. At one time, libraries were not thought to be necessary for the populace. And now it was hard to find a community that did not have a public library. MS. ROGERS said visual art is as necessary and as valuable to our culture, and should be just as available, as books in a library. There is no better way to realize the value of the state's dollar than by investing it in projects that touch all walks of life, chronicle an era, promote understanding of a culture, advance education, enhance the beauty and help attract tourists. The 1- percent-for-art program is a premium investment with a high rate of return. Number 1313 CHAIR JAMES thanked Ms. Rogers for her presentation that was sent to her on the art in the Crawford Elementary School. CHAIR JAMES announced the public testimony was closed. She said the bill would be held in the committee.