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Fort Worth City Council, District 5

Updated: 3 days ago

The Arts Council offered candidates an opportunity to respond to a set of questions about the issues important to the arts community and how the candidates would address these issues if elected. These questions and the candidates' answers will allow you compare candidates in the Fort Worth City Council Elections and help us continue to advocate for the arts with our City leaders. These answers are unedited, save for formatting issues.


List of Candidates

Gyna Bivens

Antonio Harris

Mar’Tayshia James

Ricky Vazquez

Bobby Joe Willoughby


Gyna Bivens

Awaiting a reply from the candidate. It will be uploaded as soon as we receive it.



Antonio Harris*

*Candidate Harris' answers are transcribed from an interview with the Arts Council.

In a few short sentences, tell us about yourself and your relationship to the visual and/or performing arts.

I'm Antonio (Twin) Harris and I'm running for City Council here in Fort Worth District 5 and when you speak of arts, let me tell you I am creating. I am an artist and not only that I'm a dancer, an actor, dancer, singer, and poet. You name it- I have a shorter list of things that I don't do. So yes, I am very into art and I'm sure that if you don't know me now, you will know me from now on. Why? Because art to me is everything right? If you believe you know that creation is art itself because it's taken imagination to make things happen, to make things appear. It is art. I'm saying the beauty of the world is Art. I'm excited about the arts here in Fort Worth. We know that entertainment and art is what brings people together- it was holds people’s attention.


How would you work to increase the City’s investment in the arts industry to meet growing needs and bring our funding in line with other major cities in Texas?

First of all, we are starving for entertainment. When Fort Worth grows and the growth pattern of Fort Worth, we are looking for ways to entertain and bring people closer to downtown area. One of the things that I advocate is first of all the ability and the talent of our people. In order for us to have, to attract others to our city. We have to entertain them with the housing, we have to entertain them with the jobs, we have to entertain them with all type other stuff. So why not entertain them with all of the things that makes them? The leisure the leisure is just as important. Why? Because once we have the minds at ease, we have a better and happier city.

Arts are the most important. Painting it makes us feel a certain way. When we hear a poem, it makes us do certain things when we hear music. Art heals who we are. Music is the universal language because it speaks to us even when we're not paying attention. Again, art is most important, and whatever it takes to make sure that our art department has whatever it needs to do whatever needs to be done, then we must do that.

Once again, I am an artist myself and I believe that whatever it was within me does not belong to me. It belongs to you, but if I don't have the platform in order to give you that which I have and that which I'm gifted with, my talent, then you are taken away from me. So again, I have to give in order to be who I am. I would do whatever it takes to make sure that art is number one, because I understand that it's most important to us as a people. As a people of the city, as a people of the world, art is what makes us who we are.


Please share your thoughts on how the arts can help our City lift up diverse voices, close opportunity gaps, and how can Fort Worth’s mayor help this grow?

You know when we speak of the universal language? It is imperative that we connect. Because once we find out that we are connected, we will see that we are not as different as we think that we are. We are more alike because we know and understand that. I took a picture in front of the mural of Atatiana Jefferson just to be in that space and in that place it makes you feel a certain way. When you understand that it took someone to paint that canvas, or what have you, they had to feel a certain way. So sometimes we must understand in order for us to continue and for us to grow, we have to touch each other some type of way. We have to be in a relationships type of way and what a better way than the arts that with the talents and gifts we have. We have to connect and we have to do what it takes in order for us to be able to give. We know that giving is receiving and when we receive there's a connection there. There's a flow there and it's time for us to flow in a way that we can bridge gaps. We can learn more about each other once we understand who we are as a people. Then we will know and understand and we can feel, generate and grow from and that's what art does for us.

As our City recovers from the pandemic, how will you ensure that the arts are part of the conversation regarding City planning, economic development, affordable housing, and neighborhood revitalization initiatives?

Artists have vision, right? We can start seeing some things that we didn't see that we was blinded because an artist has something that goes beyond the diaspora of our conceptional thinking. An architect can draw certain plans, but when you bring and you connect that with the vision of an artist, those plans can go from a straight line to something that's more attractive.

Again, you don't have to go there to do whatever you may be doing well, but when you find yourself in the midst of the artistry, it does something to you again. Fort Worth needs something that vast, that astronomical. We have artists here that has the talent to make sure that we are comfortable. We are amazed. I'm looking forward to dealing with the artists in the artistic ways of building Fort Worth because I want it to be more than meets the eye. I want it to be something that that we can be proud of. I want our downtown, I want our streets, I want everything about Fort Worth, to be one. So that one can say, “But it was amazing when I went to Fort Worth. And guess what? I'm going back and maybe I may go back to stay.” That's what I want for our city.


Tell us about the visual and/or performing arts in your Council District. What are you most proud of? What needs help to grow?

In my district we were more into the poetry and the music, being in the in the urban area. And of course the paintings and what have you. But when I start seeing the creativity- the small business coming up with different ways of doing candles. All this type of stuff and and I'd be like wow, you know. Again, I'm a poet myself and when I'm sitting down, I find that I might start with a certain subject, but by time I finished doing that the poem is something so far away from that which I thought I was doing. What I'm saying is that once we start making sure that we put our artists on the platform and they start to put something on that canvas- It's amazing what would what would be created for Fort Worth.

What I'm concerned about here in my district is- we don't have a lot of platforms for our artists to do what they do and create the way that they create. We must tap into the talent, the gifts of our community and why was city and make sure that it's known and shown all over the city of Fort Worth and and grow together with all that we need in order to make it happen with each other.


Mar’Tayshia James

Awaiting a reply from the candidate. It will be uploaded as soon as we receive it.

Ricky Vazquez

Awaiting a reply from the candidate. It will be uploaded as soon as we receive it.

Bobby Joe Willoughby

Awaiting a reply from the candidate. It will be uploaded as soon as we receive it.



Phone

817-392-8805

Fax

817-392-6187

Email

district5@fortworthtexas.gov

Location

District 5 Office

200 Texas St, Fort Worth, 76102


Learn more about District 5


Are you registered to vote? Register or verify here!


Where will you vote? Find your polling place here!


Important Dates

Thursday, April 1 Last day to register to vote

Monday, April 19 First day of in-person early voting

uesday, April 20 Last day to request a ballot by mail (received by, not postmarked) Tuesday, April 27 Last day of in-person early voting

Saturday, May 1 Election Day Last day ballot by mail must be received by 7 p.m.

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Arts Council programs are made possible through gifts from local individuals, small businesses, corporations, foundations, the City of Fort Worth, Tarrant County and Texas Commission on the Arts.

CONTACT

(817) 738-1938

 

1300 Gendy Street
Fort Worth, TX 76107

 

info@artscouncilfw.org

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