May 20, 2003

4:00 p.m.

25 Van Ness Avenue, Suite 70

Explanatory documents are available for public inspection and copying at the Arts Commission office, 25 Van Ness Ave, ste 240, during regular business hours.

Commissioners Present:
Stanlee Gatti, Andrea Cochran, Janice Mirikitani, Ralph Guggenheim

Absent: Denise Roth

Staff Present:
Richard Newirth, Director of Cultural Affairs, Nancy Gonchar, Deputy Director, Jewelle Gomez, Judy Nemzoff


Note: All votes are unanimous unless recorded otherwise.

Commissioner Gatti called the Meeting to order at 4:10 p.m.

  1. Discussion and motion to authorize the Director of Cultural Affairs to enter into contract with the San Francisco Symphony for the 2003 Summer in the City concert series for the amount of $1,211,979.

    Ms. Gonchar described the upcoming concert series and the long time collaboration that led to the success of the annual event.

    Moved: Guggenheim
    Second: Cochran

  2. Discussion and motion regarding the FY 2003-04 Arts Commission Budget.

    Ms. Gonchar described the cost cutting measures being used to meet the goals required by the new budget deficit figures. The General Fund allocation has been reduced by 25%. Discretionary expenses such as copying and office supplies are being reduced. The additional budget reduction resulted in staff layoffs---an accountant, the public information officer and a program assistant. She also explained that some portion of four positions were moved so they could be covered by other sources because of reductions in the general fund and cuts in Arts Education funding from the California Arts Council.

    Second: Guggenheim

  3. Discussion and motion to approve the FY 2003-04 Community Arts and Education budget.

    Ms. Gonchar explained each source of revenue in the budget that had fluctuated or was potentially at risk such as carry forwards and new sources of funding. Major drops in revenue were shown in the funds from the Hotel Tax, Grants For the Arts and California Arts Council. WritersCorps funding from Juvenile Probabtion has been eliminated due to the closing of Log Cabin Ranch. One of the largest impacts will be reduction in funds going to the Cultural Centers. Reductions will be made proportionately as they have been done in the past.

    Moved: Mirikitani
    Second: Cochran

  4. Discussion and motion to approve a $10,000 allocation from the PAF to fund a consultant to be named for an agency strategic planning process.

    Ms. Gonchar explained the process for locating a consultant and reported that there is a short list being considered by staff for interviews. Mr. Newirth asked Commissioners to consider giving staff input on what they would expect from a consultant and how best to use the consultant's services.

    Commissioner Mirikitani commented on the transitory nature of Commissioners and said that the staff would be the real key in setting policy, goals and mission and that would guide the current or new body of Commissioners. She suggested the staff focus on codifying the philosophical underpinnings of the Commission's work so it can be passed on to Commissioners and newer staff. She felt that which members of the staff are involved is critical to accomplishing a successful strategic plan and that doing the planning during a difficult financial period meant even more care should be taken to preserve the integrity of the organization and its processes.

    Mr. Newirth indicated that much of the perspective or philosophy of the work done at the Arts Commission has its roots in legislation that was initiated by the public. He said that these programs would not be in danger as long as the public remained attentive. He indicated that the public has been at the vanguard of mandating funding for these programs.

    Commissioner Mirikitani agreed but suggested that now the agency is going in the positive directions set by the legislation it should be codifying those values even further as it strategizes about restructuring.

    Mr. Newirth reiterated that the cultural center and CEG funding should not be at risk because the legislation protects the vision and mission of these programs.

    Commissioner Mirikitani concurred and suggested that development of the new internal structures is still crucial to maintaining the agency's vision.

    Moved: Guggenheim
    Second: Cochran

  5. Motion to review and approve the following individuals to the Cultural Equity Grants panel pool:

    -Rosalyn Tonai, National Japanese American Historical Society
    -Marilyn Shaw, former board member Eureka Theatre, PlayBrokers
    -Eugene J. Sakai, AIA, San Jose Architect
    -Laura Derosier, choreographer
    -Maher Sabry, director, playwright, program director at Jon Sims Center
    -Fredric Sonenberg, former executive director of San Francisco Arts Education Foundation, founding member of New Century Chamber Orchestra board of directors.
    -Tom Stone, violinist, Cypress String Quartet
    -Valerie Chow Bush, editor, journalist

    Moved: Cochran
    Second: Guggenheim

  6. Discussion and motion to approve recommendations for 19 grants in the 2003 cycle of Cultural Equity Initiative - Level 1 category in the amount of $291, 900.

    Moved: Cochran
    Second: Guggenheim

  7. Cultural Equity Grants Program Director Report

    Ms. Gomez reported on the project funded as an Individual Artist Commission for Donna Schumacher. The public bench to be installed temporarily in Union Square produces an audio track of interviews with neighborhood workers. Although a CEG panel and the Executive Committee approved the project, the Visual Arts Committee did not feel it had sufficient information to approve the project's installation. Ms. Gomez will be bringing more details to the next Visual Arts Committee meeting.

    Ms. Gomez described the efforts being made by CEG to cope with reduction in Hotel Tax Funds revenue including: a voluntary reduction by 10% in the hours of one of the staff; development of multi-year funding in one of the categories to reduce work load; tighter eligibility requirements; and production of one guidelines/application booklet a year.

    Ms. Gomez further described the changes in the guidelines, which include stronger restrictions on double funding from City agencies and within the Commission programs such as CAE and CEG. She also indicated that the format for applications would probably be changed to create less work in-house. She also reported that after discussion with the City Attorney it was agreed that changing the names of some CEG categories, to differentiate between them, was acceptable as long as the focus of the categories remained the same as outlined in the legislation.

    She reported that in the current fiscal year 45 new panelists had been added to the pool the majority of them from underserved communities.

    The meeting adjourned at 5:20 p.m.


    Submitted by Jewelle Gomez, Director, Cultural Equity Grants Program
    Approved by Richard Newirth, Director of Cultural Affairs

    May 23, 2003


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