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Arts+Culture:San Diego is a coalition of over 100 arts and culture organizations dedicated to strengthening our diverse cultural ecosystem and achieving the Penny for Arts and Culture funding plan in San Diego.

Elections 2020

District 9

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In collaboration with the San Diego Regional Arts and Culture Coalition and the Balboa Park Cultural Partnership, Arts+Culture:San Diego is pleased to report the Arts and Culture positions of the candidates for the City of San Diego Council races. 

Here are the responses from candidates for Council District 9 and the video from the Candidate Forum for Council District 9. Click on a different district below for other candidates.


City of San Diego Council District 9
Where they stand on Arts and Culture issues
Council District
Fully fund Penny for Arts and Culture with a max 5 yr phase-in.
"Achieve and Maintain Penny" is always a budget priority
Support Arts& Culture Pandemic Recovery Fund
Action plan for Deferred Maintenance in Balboa Park and other City cultural facilities
Support Cultural Plan and Cultural Affairs Department
Kelvin Barrios
Sean Elo-Rivera
Watch the candidate forums
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Key statements by the candidates

Arts and Culture in San Diego (up to 200 words): 

  • Sean Elo-Rivera:

Arts and Culture are essential to the health, happiness, and economic wellbeing of the people of San Diego and key to our achieving our potential as a city. From offering a creative outlet for healing to inspiring a new way of seeing the world to transforming a blank wall into a point of neighborhood pride, arts and culture are what make San Diego what it is. 

Despite what some may believe, art and culture are not luxuries. Even, and perhaps most importantly, amidst crisis, arts and culture can stabilize a community emotionally and propel it economically. In doing so, arts and culture can be a catalyst to achieving racial equity and social justice.


I envision a future where arts and culture are not only celebrated, but fully and equitably invested in. I see young people and seniors in every neighborhood provided an opportunity for artistic and cultural expression. I see every San Diegan enjoying the opportunity to engage with arts and culture in their community. I see the professionals in the arts and culture community being compensated fairly and able to support their families while maintaining a healthy work-life balance. I see arts and culture as a lynchpin of San Diego's growth from "America's Finest City" for some, into a world-class city for all.


  • Kelvin Barrios:

Kelvin Barrios suspended his campaign for San Diego City Council District 9 on Monday, September 28, 2020.


​The Arts and Culture provide a variety of creative backgrounds that allows the opportunity for inclusivity within our diverse communities. We are currently facing arguably the worst pandemic in our lifetime. There will come a time that we must rebuild and grow once again.  


I will work to ensure that we have a thriving and healthy arts community that is accessible to all of our residents and supported by our City.


In order to make this happen, we need to establish a plan on how to fully fund  “Penny for the Arts” and implement a program that works proactively to ensure prosperity as we rebuild our local economy and tackle the tough budget years ahead. We can do this, but only if we plan accordingly.


In order to be effective and continue to grow, we must invest locally; every new park should have a cultural arts center, a community room, a place where youth and seniors can come together. As for our older facilities let’s rebuild, and reinvest to create the spaces we need for our diverse communities,  infrastructure investments are needed.  


I will work on new ideas to create a dedicated funding source for such investments, for our neighborhoods. 

Working with the commission to ensure that access, equity and diversity remain a priority for all neighborhoods. (up to 100 words)

  • Sean Elo-Rivera:

The inequities and lack of diversity of today are the result of generations of unjust polices and practices. Therefore, achieving equity and equitable diversity will require a consistent and persistent commitment.


In all of our work, including that with the Commission, my team will utilize a Racial Equity Tool designed to integrate explicit consideration of racial equity in decisions, including policies, practices, programs, and budgets.


  • Kelvin Barrios:

Kelvin Barrios suspended his campaign for San Diego City Council District 9 on Monday, September 28, 2020.


To ensure that access, equity and diversity remain a priority for all neighborhoods, I will work on establishing open communication with the City’s Commission for Arts and Culture through regular meetings.


My team and I will work on creating an engagement plan where the commissioners will have the opportunity to take part in these strategic conversations, that help serve our organizations.


I will also maintain a level of communication between our communities and work to increase the level of support that the City is providing to the Commission and our non-profits, Let’s partner up to better serve San Diego.

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