King County voters have an opportunity to pass a 0.1 percent sales tax to provide more access to culture and science. Actor Tom Skerritt reflects on the role arts education played in his life.
His mind always goes back to the bus rides from his school into downtown Detroit.
One was to the Detroit Institute of Art, where Rodin’s “The Thinker” sat outside, and where a Diego Rivera mural stretched across four walls. Another ride ended at a Detroit Symphony rehearsal conducted by Arturo Toscanini, who struggled to the podium, then raised his baton “and transformed to a young man … fingers fluttering like swallows in flight.”
All these years later, Tom Skerritt still marvels at what that school-sponsored “imagination enhancement program” did for him long ago, and how his exposure to the arts allowed him to imagine a life beyond his blue-collar upbringing, and to acting in films like “Top Gun” and “Alien.”
“‘Imagination enhancement’ experiences have led me to challenge the risk of possibilities and have a successful, creative life,” Skerritt said the other day. “Lucky for me.”
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The people of King County should have those same awakenings, he said, no matter their age. And Proposition 1 — a proposed 0.1 percent sales tax to provide more access to culture and science — can help make that happen.
The measure, also known as “Access for All,” would fund public-school cultural-access programs (including transportation). It would give money to cultural organizations with budgets of more than $1.2 million, and that provide public-school programs. And it would fund smaller, community-based cultural organizations in each county district. Think The Langston Hughes Performing Arts Center. Youth Theater Northwest.
Some opponents — including The Seattle Times editorial board — argue that the estimated $67.4 million the tax would raise…