Meeting of the Full Arts Commission


Monday, February 3, 2003

3:00 p.m.

25 Van Ness Avenue, Suite 70

San Francisco, CA 94102



President Gatti called the meeting to order at 3:10 p.m.


    Commissioners Present
    Stanlee Gatti
    Rod Freebairn-Smith
    Ralph Guggenheim
    Eddie Marshall
    William Meyer
    Janice Mirikitani
    Barbara Stauffacher Solomon
    Dugald Stermer
    Ethel Pitts Walker
    Dede Wilsey

    Commissioners Absent
    Kirk Anderson
    Blanche Brown
    Andrea Cochran
    Andrew Brother Elk
    Denise Roth


    The following Resolution was Moved by President Gatti, Seconded, and unanimously Adopted:

    RESOLVED, that this Commission does hereby approve the Minutes of the Regular Monthly Meeting of January 6, 2003.



    President Gatti reported on a recent visit to New York, the da Vinci show at the Metropolitan Museum, a preview of the Matisse/Picasso show, and the current exhibition of all proposals for Ground Zero. He said that the proposal exhibition revealed the processes involved in attempting to establish a memorial while addressing the practicalities of urban design. He also reported that the New Yorker is sponsoring a worldwide poetry slam for underprivileged youth. He noted that the spoken word had become a trend, that San Francisco had been involving young people in poetry slams for a long time, and that this was just one example of the kinds of currents that begin here before they are adopted in New York. He commented on the effectiveness of merging classical and pop art forms, such as the current Broadway production of La Boheme, which was introduced in San Francisco before its New York run. He remarked that art constantly changes, no matter how cutting edge a particular work or form seems to be. He emphasized the necessity of allowing change to happen rather than closing doors.


    Director of Cultural Affairs Richard Newirth updated the Commissioners on the status of the budget. He referred them to a memo summarizing a proposal, presented to the Executive Committee, to meet the target budget requested by the Mayor's Office for the coming year. In essence, departments had been asked to absorb the cost of living increases for the coming year and to prioritize an additional 5% in cuts, should they be needed. The requests had spurred the agency to restructure operations with a first step being to combine the CAE and CEG programs. Subsequent steps would be to combine the visual arts programs and to expand administration to include the street artists program and public information. The ultimate objective is to have three deputy directors and one commission secretary reporting to the Director of Cultural Affairs. Mr. Newirth added that, though the Commission staff had increased, the agency had not grown strategically. The time had come to devise a plan on how best to serve the agency's constituents. The reorganization would free the director from day-to-day management and allow him to assume a proactive leadership role in the arts community. The budget currently before the Commissioners on the Consent Calendar shows the numbers, but further changes are coming.

    Mr. Newirth further reported that, at a recent meeting between the Mayor and department heads, it was revealed that the budget is worse than initially anticipated. Departments now need to absorb a 4% cost of living increase in addition to the 3% already implemented this year, plus another 3% for a total reduction of 10% from the 2002-2003 original budget allocation. Also, the prioritized cuts beyond that reduction are now at 10% rather than 5%.

    Mr. Newirth said that a revised budget will be presented next March. The Commission's adoption of the budget before the members today is simply a first step. It will be discussed at the Executive Committee meeting, and a revision with further cuts will be presented next month.

    Mr. Newirth stressed that the City was in a tight bind, and that certain circumstances were different from what had existed during the previous recession in the early '90s. In particular, since then, California voters had passed proposition 218, which prevents local governments from imposing taxes without going to the voters. Consequently, very few things can be increased. In San Francisco, voters have voted to allocate funding for Muni, libraries, and youth funds. The projected deficit is $350 million. Once the funds allocated for the Muni, library and youth designations have been set aside, the $350 million deficit amounts to approximately one-fourth of the discretionary General Fund. This is the amount that needs to be made up. The General Fund represents about half of the entire city budget of $5 billion.

    Mr. Newirth added that the General Fund is only a small portion of the Arts Commission budget, and he hoped that the other dedicated funding sources would not be as volatile. However, there will probably be cuts in the Hotel Tax. Also, the status of the General Fund will continue to be uncertain. Even after the Board of Supervisors hearings are over by July, the State budget is often not final until late summer or fall. Consequently additional responses to developments at the State level may be necessary. Currently the California Arts Council is faced with a 50% cut. Mr. Newirth made the point that, in San Francisco, the proposed funding cut for the arts is not disproportionate to the overall budget. He commented on the spirit of trust and cooperation in solving the city problems that he had observed. The strategy for the Mayor's office is to encourage cooperation to minimize the impact on the city, and to go forward in a way that is the least painful for everyone. Mr. Newirth reiterated that the Arts Commission was being treated fairly. He told the Commissioners that their input on the budget would be appreciated.

    He reported on a meeting with the Private Industry Council and a number of arts organizations about a new federally funded job-training program for youth in arts. It will fit in with the Gallery 37 concept.

    He announced an upcoming poster campaign to be installed on Decaux kiosks. The posters address the arts education issue with levity.

    Mr. Newirth reported on a meeting with the new Board of Supervisors president, Matt Gonzalez. The topics raised by the Supervisor were the possibility of establishing an artist laureate and a fundraising campaign to commission a bust of the late Supervisor Harvey Milk in City Hall. At the meeting, Mr. Newirth provided background information on certain criteria for such a monument. Mr. Newirth raised the issue of the relocation of the King Carlos III and de Anza sculptures. Mr. Newirth also raised the issue of the cultural centers and virtual centers within the existing centers. The Arts Commission is deliberating how to prepare the Supervisors when it is ready to proceed with proposals for those centers. Supervisor Gonzalez has said that he recognizes that the Arts Commission is trying to serve everyone in the city, and that he will support well-reasoned proposals

    President Gatti said that he had been told that Supervisor Gonzalez considered art to be a priority. He compared San Francisco's funding for the arts with support by other major cities. He urged the Commissioners to speak on behalf of the arts to people they knew who were decision makers.


    Approval: RESOLVED, that this Commission does hereby adopt the following items on the amended Consent Calendar and their related Resolutions:

    Approval of Committee Minutes

    1. RESOLUTION NO. 0203-03-017: Motion to approve the Street Artists Committee Meeting Minutes of January 8, 2003.
      Explanatory Document: Draft Committee Minutes

    2. RESOLUTION NO. 0203-03-018: Motion to approve the Visual Arts Committee Meeting Minutes of January 15, 2003.
      Explanatory Document: Draft Committee Minutes

    3. RESOLUTION NO. 0203-03-019: Motion to approve the Executive Committee Meeting Minutes of January 21, 2003.
      Explanatory Document: Draft Committee Minutes

    4. RESOLUTION NO. 0203-03-020: Motion to approve the Civic Design Committee Meeting Minutes of January 27, 2003.
      Explanatory Document: Draft Committee Minutes

      Visual Arts Committee Recommendations (01/15/03)

    5. RESOLUTION NO. 0203-03-021: Motion to authorize the Director of Cultural Affairs to enter into contract with Robert F. Bailey, Structural Engineer for construction drawings for the rehabilitation of the Portals of the Past Monument in Golden Gate Park for an amount not to exceed $20,000.

    6. RESOLUTION NO. 0203-03-022: Motion to authorize the Director of Cultural Affairs to enter into contract with John Griswold of Griswold and Associations for the conservation of the bronze elements on the James A. Garfield Monument in Golden Gate Park for an amount not to exceed $30,000.

    7. RESOLUTION NO. 0203-03-023: Motion to approve the following artists for gallery exhibitions March -May 2003: Paul Mullins, Karina Skvirsky, Lee Walton, Tim Kelley, and Jona Frank, curated by Leah Modigliani.

    8. RESOLUTION NO. 0203-03-024: Motion to approve Merle Axelrad Serlin final designs for three fabric collages.

    9. RESOLUTION NO. 0203-03-025: Motion to authorize the Director of Cultural Affairs to enter into an agreement with Merle Axelrad Serlin for an amount not to exceed $47,000 for fabrication and transportation of three fabric collages, entitled Bay Area Foothills, Cliffs at Land's End, and Marin Headlands for installation at Laguna Honda Hospital.

      Executive Committee Recommendations (01/21/03)

    10. RESOLUTION NO. 0203-03-026: Motion to approve the addition of the following individuals to the Cultural Equity Grants Panel Pool:
      ·Lorraine Garcia-Nakata
      ·Linda Ayers-Fredrick
      ·Rachel Hamilton

    11. RESOLUTION NO. 0203-03-027: Motion to review and approve 28 grants totaling $271,950 in the 2002-03 cycle of the Individual Artist Commissions category in literary, visual and media arts.

    12. RESOLUTION NO. 0203-03-028: Motion to approve the FY 2003-04 Cultural Equity Grants budget submission.

    13. RESOLUTION NO. 0203-03-029: Motion to approve the FY 2003-04 Street Artists budget submission.

    14. RESOLUTION NO. 0203-03-030: Motion to approve the Arts Commission FY 2003-04 General Fund budget submission to the Mayor's Office.

      Community Arts & Education Committee Recommendations (01/14/03)

    15. RESOLUTION NO. 0203-03-031: Motion to approve a $10,000 award to the Arts Education Funders Collaborative for the 2002-2003 FY from Youth Arts Fund.

      Street Artists Committee Recommendations (01/08/03)

    16. RESOLUTION NO. 0203-03-032: Motion to approve amending proposed ordinance increasing street artist fee to provide for a specific fee for each of the fiscal years 2002-03, 2003-04, 2004-05, and 2005-06.

      Civic Design Committee Recommendations (01/21/03)

    17. RESOLUTION NO. 0203-03-033: Motion to approve the Sunol Valley Flouridation Facility, Phase 2 & 3.

    18. RESOLUTION NO. 0203-03-034: Motion to approve the Coffman Pool, Phase 1.

  6. Committee Reports

    1. Civic Design Committee--Stanlee Gatti, Chair

      1. Report from Chair of Civic Design Committee regarding activities of the Committee and the Program.

        In reference to item (b) below, Nancy Gonchar explained that the project--which was designed to generate more sustainable energy in the city--had been reviewed for its aesthetic values by the Committee. The roof, a simple design in squares of blue, will be visible only from certain nearby hotel rooms.

      2. RESOLUTION NO. 0203-03-035: Motion to approve the Moscone Convention Center Photovoltaic Roof Program, Phase 1.

    2. Visual Arts Committee -- Ralph Guggenheim, Chair

      1. Report from Chair of Visual Arts Committee regarding activities of the Committee and the Program.

        It was announced that the R.M. Fischer light sculptures were scheduled for installation in Union Square on February 24.

    3. Street Artists Committee - Dugald Stermer, Chair

      1. Report from Chair of Street Artists Committee regarding activities of the Committee and the Program.

      2. RESOLUTION NO. 0203-03-036: Motion to approve requests by former certificate-holders for priority issuance of certificate with waiver of re-screening of wares: Pamelia Bailey.

    4. Executive Committee -- Stanlee Gatti, Chair

      1. Report from Chair of Executive Committee regarding activities of the Committee and the Program.

      2. RESOLUTION NO. 0203-03-037: Motion to approve change in Organizational Project Grants category to offer multi-year funding.

    5. Community Arts & Education --Denise Roth, Chair

      1. Report from Chair of Community Arts & Education Committee regarding activities of the Committee and the Program.

    6. Nominating Committee --Ralph Guggenheim, Chair

      1. Report from Chair of Nominating Committee regarding activities of the Committee and the Program.

        Commissioner Guggenheim announced that the Committee had nominated Stanlee Gatti for Commission President and Denise Roth for Vice President.

      2. RESOLUTION NO. 0203-03-038: Motion to elect Stanlee Gatti for Arts Commission President and Denise Roth for Vice President.

  7. Reports and Announcements

    President Gatti suggested that the Commission select a different arts subject to discuss at each full Commission meeting. He said that philosophically the Commission was concerned with any arts activities or issues in the city, and subjects could be anything within that spectrum. Commissioner Stermer suggested that the Commission might discuss the pros and cons of the plans of two major Bay Area arts schools to merge.

    Commissioner Freebairn-Smith said that an upcoming issue of interest would be the Recreation and Park Department's large-scale plan for the Golden Gate Park Concourse and issues of coordination with the new Academy of Sciences, the new deYoung Museum and the projected garage. He said that the Civic Design Review Committee had heard an informational presentation, and had decided not to take a position on it at the time. He said that the Committee would need, as a basis for review, a thorough understanding of the Recreation and Park Department's recently prepared master planning guidelines and the fit of the whole Concourse ensemble with those guidelines. In Commission discussion, the point was made that plans for the Concourse and the coordination of the different facilities, including the garage, were far from final.

  8. Public Comment

  9. Adjournment

    There being no further business, the Meeting adjourned at 4:15 p.m.

    Approved by Richard Newirth, Director of Cultural affairs


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