Two candidates for lieutenant governor in Indiana shared their views on the arts Monday night at the WFIU studios before an audience of about 50 students and other invited guests from the community.
Republican Suzanne Crouch, the current state auditor, and state Rep. Christina Hale, a Democrat, each were granted opportunities to speak separately rather than engage in debate at a very civil forum sponsored by the Arts Administration Program in the School of Public and Environmental Affairs at Indiana University Bloomington.
Karl Tatgenhorst, the Libertarian candidate, did not respond to an invitation to participate.
Both candidates in attendance agreed on the value of art and culture in creating a sense of place and its value in making Indiana a state that attracts young people and top talent to live and work.
Hale began her 10-minute introduction with an appeal to reintroduce tax credits for media production in the state.
She also provided several examples of arts and cultural projects designed to become revitalizing forces in their communities, including the recent Artspace redevelopment of a 1920s office building in Michigan City into affordable live/work spaces for artists.
Crouch used her 10 minutes to speak about funding she distributed to area arts and cultural projects as a Vanderburgh County commissioner. She also mentioned the Indiana Regional Cities Initiative and spoke about culture in broad strokes that included development of the culinary arts and the economic power of festivals.
During the question-and-answer period, neither candidate precisely answered all the questions, but expounded upon various favorite initiatives.
Hale responded to six questions, at least in theme, and directly expressed support for Indiana tax incentives aimed at attracting on-site production by the film industry.
Crouch spoke briefly about the concrete economic impact of the arts. Mostly, however, she chose to speak at length about her passion for projects in the Regional Cities Initiative rather than answer the questions submitted in advance by IU students and arts advocates. She also spoke about the growth of agriculture and food culture rather than more traditional concepts of the arts.
With her filibuster, moderator Joe Hren of WTIU/WFIU was never able to deliver even the third question, which regarded her stance on state tax credits for film.
A broadcast of the entire conversation on the arts will air on WFIU 103.7 FM and other radio stations around the state from 8 to 9 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 19. An audio recording of the forum also will be posted on the Indiana Public Radio website.