Seven candidates for Bloomington City Council answered questions about support for the arts at a candidate forum on Tuesday, Sept. 17 organized by Arts Forward Bloomington. The municipal election is on Nov. 5.
The group included candidates in the only two competitive races for council: District 2 candidates Andrew Guenther (R) and Sue Sgambelluri (D), and District 3 candidates Nicholas Kappas (I) and Ron Smith (D). Another District 3 candidate, Marty Spechler (I), did not attend.
Others participating were Democrats Matt Flaherty (at-large), Isabel Piedmont-Smith (District 5), and Steve Volan (District 6). Democrat Susan Sandberg (at-large) sent a statement that was read by Sally Gaskill. None of these candidates are opposed on Nov. 5 so they will automatically be seated in January 2020.
All candidates expressed strong support for the arts. Many mentioned their own involvement – as patrons or practitioners – and described specific actions they'd support on council to ensure a healthy arts community.
For example, both Isabel Piedmont-Smith and Steve Volan, who currently serve on council, expressed interest in including a new performing arts venue as part of the Monroe County Convention Center expansion.
The event, held at the Waldron Arts Center, was moderated by Danielle McClelland, executive director of the Buskirk Chumley Theater.
During her opening remarks, Danielle reported that the city's expenditures on the arts totaled $773,928. That figure included funding to maintain the Buskirk-Chumley building and support its programming, as well as grants through the Bloomington Arts Commission and a range of other sources.
Click here to see the report on city funding sources for the arts. Click here to watch the forum on CATS.
Director of Advocacy & Public Policy