Legislature(1997 - 1998)

03/25/1997 08:07 AM STA

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= 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           
 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.                                      

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