I’m writing to voice my support of proposals to help fund construction of a new Juneau Arts and Culture Center and upgrades to Centennial Hall. The proposals will be on the city ballot in October, and I hope voters will weigh in.
Fifty years have passed since the old JACC was built, and Juneau’s art and culture programming has outgrown the facility, which is deteriorating and has substandard features.
We have a vision to make Juneau the Northwest Coast arts capital of the world, and a new JACC is a part of that. Juneau and our children deserve an arts and performing center and public gathering space that reflects the richness of our cultural diversity and the beauty of our land.
We should be proud that Juneau recently ranked sixth in the country for creative vitality. The new JACC will build on that and mark Juneau as a destination for art lovers.
The idea also makes good fiscal sense. Studies have shown that the arts are a vital part of our economy; more than $57 million was spent by artists, arts organizations and audiences in 2013 in the region, according to a 2014 study by the Southeast Conference. Artists in the region earned almost $30 million through the arts in 2013 — that’s money that went back into our economy. Investing in new infrastructure will provide a strong financial return.
I hope Juneau residents will vote in October to help give our city the arts and culture center it deserves.
Rosita Kaaháni Worl, Ph.D.,
President of Sealaska Heritage Institute