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Fort Worth City Council, District 6

Updated: Dec 6, 2022

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

Jungus Jordan

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

Jared Williams

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

I grew up in southwest Fort Worth and was raised by two working parents: both were public school teachers and people of faith of loved actively participating in church music ministries. Growing up in the church and in a family of musicians, my childhood experiences naturally led me to cultivate a

deep love for music. As a child, I learned how to play the drums and have continued to play over the years for fun and for various church ministries. This formative experience served as a springboard for my passion for the Arts. I continue finding opportunities to expand my artistic abilities - of which learning how to play the piano and taking painting classes with my family have become two of my favorite artistic past-times. I have also been an advocate in Fort Worth for expanding access to art education for youth and families through my work with various local non-profits such as the Friends of I.M. Terrell Foundation. As a board member of this foundation, I am focused on forging partnerships and philanthropic gifts in support of building the next generation of Fort Worth artists who attend the I.M. Terrell Academy for STEM and Visual Performing Arts Academy.

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?

| strongly believe that a vibrant arts industry in Fort Worth is crucial to the future of our city. We see art popping up across our city in all types of forms. From murals to music to a new generation of artists, Fort Worth is a vibrant arts community that reaches across all neighborhoods. Funding for our arts programs must be increased if we want to see the overall wellbeing of all neighborhoods increase. This will mean that Fort Worth, as a city, must commit itself to see the short- and long-term value of investing in the arts and move funding towards it. As a member of the City Council, I will commit to finding more funding from the City to support arts programs across all neighborhoods. I will also use my position to help facilitate cross collaborations between local governments, universities, and the private sector to fund a robust neighborhood based art programs for all Fort Worth residents.

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?

Art has and will continue to be the way we look into our soul as a city. As we become one of the top ten populated cities in the United States, being able to capture the voices of our diverse population in all areas will be crucial to our success. In the area of the arts, diversity has always driven the expression of art. Music, murals, performances, film, sculptures, design, and all aspects of art benefit from having diverse voices at the table. As our city

has tried to address cultural diversity, we must understand that art is a medium that can help build bridges between communities and neighborhoods. As a member of the City Council, I would like to see us embrace art to engage our residents to help find the commonalities between communities in neighborhoods. Using art to build understanding and communication can help us realize that we have far more in common than what drives us apart. It is my hope that I can sit down with organizations such as the Arts Council of Fort Worth to engage on how to bring new programs and events online to achieve this goal.

We will not become the city we all want Fort Worth to become if we do not work together to build bridges between neighborhoods. I am committed to using the arts as part of the process to achieve this.

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?

Far to often, especially during a crisis, we forget how interconnected everything is. You can't address these issues without a broad and robust discussion that acknowledge that all issues overlap. The arts are and must be a part of City planning, economic development, affordable housing, and neighborhood revitalization. Investing in the arts as part of these processes will help create the outcomes we all want to see. I am committed to ensuring that we discuss the important role that the arts must play in building and maintaining strong neighborhoods across Fort Worth, especially in District 6. One of my priorities includes ensuring that we support local diverse artists by investing in art forms like murals, sculptures and creative lighting around District 6 and the 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?

Unfortunately, District 6 isn't widely known for traditional public art. Although, I believe there are limitless opportunities to have this type of public art installations across our district, it has not been at a level I think it should be. But in my district, where I do see constant displays of art is in very personal spaces. From homes to churches and in our local businesses, art is expressed through our music and culture. I think sometimes we undervalue this as a district and city. I would like to see projects that capture the personalization of art and the cultural experiences that live within our district.

Tiesa Leggett*

*Candidate Leggett's answers are transcribed from a virtual interview with the Arts Council.

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

Yes, my name is Tiesa Legget and I am running for Fort Worth City Council District 6. I’ve lived in Fort Worth on and off for all my life. I was born at Carswell Air Force Base and my family moved between here and San Antonio, TX.

So I'm very familiar with the importance of culture and how the arts influence culture. Not the other way around, in my opinion. We went to our Mother of Mercy Catholic school here in Fort Worth and also went to UNT and UTA for undergrad and grad school work.

My undergraduate degree is in broadcast news, journalism and my graduate degree is within sustainability, which is a balance of social, economic and environmental components. I wanted to be able to change the world, really, through the sustainable measures. That's why I enjoy the art so much, because it influences such good ideas and vice versa.

As far as my career, I worked for the natural gas industry, where I thought about public policy, and then went on to complete my degree. Then I worked for the BlueZones project for work eventually, which a lot of people know me from, and then became a representative of the region. But right now my focus is 100% on running for office. The arts are so important to me. I can't express that enough. As a kid, I used to write prose and poetry and perform it. I was a part of lots of organizations, like the forensics league, where I was the district champion. And I absolutely love music, I can't sing a note, but I'll hum along. The arts are what keep me mentally balanced. Music. Poetry. Performing arts. Visual art. All of it makes you think. Helps you to look at different perspectives and I think brings about change.

My involvement, when I was in the natural gas industry, we sponsored a lot of the art throughout the galleries in Fort Worth. I'm not a member right now, but I'm actually working on it - I was gonna do it before Covid and then that happened, but I definitely still will. I am very active with local artists. Some of my favorite artists are in the downtown area close to Near Southside. I purchase local jewlery, like Nancy Garland pieces. Also Choke. She has her own gallery and store. A good friend Jessica is an art curator. So whenever there's an art show, I attend. The Arts Goggle festival in the Near Southside – I miss that.

We have so much to offer here in Fort Worth and we need to invest more time, more energy, and promote the arts more, every single month, every single day, every single year.

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?

everybody is hurting and in all sectors of government we're trying to figure out how best to get back to normal, and I think the way we have to think about this is normalcy, as we knew it, is gone and it's over. But we have to get back to the business of living in society and enjoying what we have to offer in the arts is a part of that. So it’s an important investment to make. There are many programs federally and funds that are allocated even right now to hep rebuild the arts community, specifically live music venues. So we have to start thinking of ways to maximize those federal grant opportunities rapidly in the arts community. There's got to be thinking about the box that only musicians and artists know how to do better than anybody. So how can we go after those funds and make ourselves accountable so that we can receive them? I think it's going to be so important. The State and the Federal government are going to be key for us to rebuild. And I will be advocating as a City Councilwoman to get the City staff connected with our Arts Council to talk about all of those opportunities and what we need to provide and do in order to go after those funds. And also think of fundraisers. We have to ramp back up, but we also have to remain realistic with what's available. But resources will be there, to get us back to where we need to be.

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, I'm so glad that you brought this up and I'm grateful for those various opportunities that you've listed.

It's exciting. It honestly is. In order for us to increase diversity and inclusion…inclusion is important, and teaching about the historical background of our city is important for all children. I think that's why history is starting to repeat itself a bit. It’s because all children are not exposed equally to the plight of people of color. They need to learn together. It's not just exposing one group of children to historical facts. It would be awesome to see them learn together. And we're more alike than we are different. In order to do that we have to have a quality of transportation.

The arts are beautiful and I'm glad to hear at certain locations that there are ways to see a reflection of what has occurred in our city. However, in addition to that, we need to make sure that all children and their families can come to those museums, and it's extremely important if we want to bounce back from COVID that we all understand the investments in multimodal transportation. That it affects even the arts community, because if people can't get to the museum, then that is a lack of access and that creates inequities.

I think I saw something about a lynching tour, which I know that good intentions were behind it, but I had a lot of questions with that headline. It was so sensationalized that it brought up ill feelings, which I knew that was not the intention. Who wants to see that? I don't want to see that. There's nothing about that that made me want to understand a historical context. To be inclusive and to be diverse is to understand the struggle and the strifes of all people, and to understand that art is supposed to invoke feeling and invoke participation. And we must be respectful of that. And I am. But I think when we have groups come into our city and they are welcomed, that we need to ensure that other artists from our community are at the table and help the community understand what's happening so that we don't see it the wrong way. And that the intention behind it doesn't get lost. I think that work done to muralize and to remember Atatiana Jefferson was incredibly important. I thought that was beautiful.

The End Racism Now work: absolutely stunning. However the art community can't do this alone. The City Council must join them. Because, again, arts reflects. Art helps us to illustrate the culture of a community for all to see. And I am especially proud of the arts community. Especially proud because you all stood up when even our elected officials did not. I think that we have to remain lockstep in ensuring that the art community serves also as the voice of the people when people don't feel heard. The past few years, I know first-hand the people did not feel heard and even though certain people in Fort Worth did not feel heard, the arts community made sure we were seen. They were seen. And I applaud those efforts.

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?

The Arts Council will be at the table. Period. We won’t having conversations without the Arts Council, without the artists at the table, as I said. The Council needs to have a strong voice through the arts.

And I think that the arts community has done a phenomenal job of expressing the needs and the fears of the people. I think in order to continue the relationship they need to be at the table to see and to hear what all is happening. You know, I was thinking about the affordable housing piece and some of the development that's happening by Panther Island. They have a new river walk they are constructing. It’s beautiful, it’s great. Wouldn’t it be great to have artists in residence, like in affordable housing near this area, to inspire and to show the diversity of all parts of our city. District 6 is the only District that doesn’t directly connect with the central city and I have the idea that the arts can really be our connector, with transportation allowing that connection. In order for that to happen, I need the Arts Council at the table. I’m sure they have been in the past when it comes to Downtown, District 9, more centralized locations. But District 6, we get left out of the conversation a bit. It’s understandable, but if I’m elected, I want to make sure this happens for artists. It’s very difficult to do the work that artists do, and I’d like to see the City show the artists some love and have those residencies that, you know, make sure that there's space for them to create and to sell and build a pathway for success versus suppressing them economically.

By not having the resources… if we're not part of the solution, then you are the problem in my opinion. And so, that’s what I’m bringing to the table. I will be bringing to your organization not only my ear, but my hands to pull the industry up. You can see from this conversation that I’m proud to tell it like it is. I don’t do that to alienate. I do that for awareness. I do that to say “what can I do?” As a Councilperson, I’ll have access to resources and tools to make sure that we are exposed to opportunities, because the City can’t do it alone, the City will have to rely on State and Federal funds to make it happen. In order to do that. We must move forward together.

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

Right now, I don't know of any art piece that truly sticks out in my District. Actually, Burleson, south of us has some phenomenal murals. I’m not saying their isn’t art there, but there isn’t a piece that stood out to me. And so I want to change that. And I want to be honest, you know, one the things that we don't do a good job of… When we're talking about a city of 1,000,000 people in a region – we’re one of the largest regions in the country— we have to show connectivity. We have to show that we get along with our surrounding cities and that we want to be able to get from point A to point B. If you’re on a rail or traveling by bus or by bicycle, you want to see green space, you want to see murals, you want to see art. [note: there were technical difficulties and the interview was interrupted at this point]. That would be what I would talk about: how to connect District 6 to the surrounding city through art.






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200 Texas St, Fort Worth, 76102

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