City and County of San FranciscoSan Francisco Arts Commission



Meeting of the Full Arts Commission


Monday, March 4, 2002

3:00 p.m.

25 Van Ness Avenue, Suite 70

San Francisco, CA 94102



Commission President Gatti called the meeting to order at 3:21 p.m.


    Commissioners Present
    Stanlee Gatti
    Blanche Brown
    Andrea Cochran
    Rod Freebairn-Smith
    Ralph Guggenheim
    Eddie Marshall
    William Meyer
    Janice Mirikitani
    Dugald Stermer

    Commissioners Absent
    Kirk Anderson
    Andrew Brother Elk
    Denise Roth
    Barbara Stauffacher Solomon
    Ethel Pitts Walker
    Dede Wilsey


    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 February 4, 2002.



    President Gatti announced that Richard Newirth had received an award from the CAC in recognition of his exemplary leadership in the arts field.

    He announced that Commissioner Mirikitani's new book Love Works was now available in bookstores.

    He urged the Commissioners to visit the current CO-LAB show of art works created by artists in collaboration with youth in the main Gallery.


    Richard Newirth congratulated Tonia Macneil for her work on the public art projects at the new North Beach Parking Garage. He thanked Commissioner Meyer for his participation in the dedication ceremony.

    He reported on a Redevelopment Agency meeting on the Mid Market Redevelopment Project, and said that the Arts Commission would probably collaborate on a feasibility study.

    He reported on two successful events at the African and African American Art and Culture Complex. They were a gallery opening and a gala event produced by Cultural Odyssey. He commended Carol Marie Daniels and Rommel Taylor for their work on the new gallery space.


    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. 0304-02-060: Motion to approve the Civic Design Committee Meeting Minutes of January 28, 2002.
      Explanatory Document: Draft Committee Minutes

    2. RESOLUTION NO. 0304-02-061: Motion to approve the Street Artists Committee Meeting Minutes of February 13, 2002.
      Explanatory Document: Draft Committee Minutes

    3. RESOLUTION NO. 0304-02-062: Motion to approve the Visual Arts Committee Meeting Minutes of February 20, 2002.
      Explanatory Document: Draft Committee Minutes

      Visual Arts Committee Recommendations (02/20/02)

    4. RESOLUTION NO. 0304-02-063: Motion to approve the mural design "Juneteenth" by Eugene E. White at the the Ella Hill Hutch Community Center, 1050 McAllister Street, funded by Neighborhood Beautification.

    5. RESOLUTION NO. 0304-02-064: Motion to accept into the Civic Art Collection the sculpture by Ned Kahn titled "Wind Portal", 2002, consisting of 200,000 stainless steel discs mounted on delrin tiles, 10' x 55' x 1" installed in Concourse H of San Francisco International Airport.

    6. RESOLUTION NO. 0304-02-065: Motion to approve the Pink Triangle Memorial Project in concept.

    7. Motion to approve the removal/destruction of murals by Christopher Lane at San Francisco Youth Guidance Center, 375 Woodside Avenue.

    8. RESOLUTION NO. 0304-02-066: Motion to approve the revised and relocated preliminary sculpture design for Visitacion Valley by the Artist Team of Nobuho Nagasawa and Anita Margrill for the Third Street Light Rail Project.

    9. RESOLUTION NO. 0304-02-067: Motion to approve artists for "The Film Show" at the SFAC Gallery May - July 2002. Artists: Rick Peterson, Jesse Amado, Guillermo Gomez-Pena, Stephanie Snyder, Les LeVeque, Yasumasa Morimura, Ethan Jackson, Annu Palakunnathu Matthews, and Gustavo Vasquez.

    10. RESOLUTION NO. 0304-02-068: Motion to approve final tile mosaic designs by artist Isis Rodriguez for exterior and interior walls of the 23rd and Treat New Park and Clubhouse.

    11. RESOLUTION NO. 0304-02-069: Motion to approve Lewis deSoto's conceptual proposal for the Laguna Honda History Project.

    12. RESOLUTION NO. 0304-02-070: Motion to approve conceptual proposals for Neighborhood Identity Project by Beliz Brother, Ann Chamberlain & Bernie Lubell; Cliff Garten, Arlan Huang, Terry Hoff, Takenobu Igarashi, and Owen Smith.

    13. RESOLUTION NO. 0304-02-071: Motion to approve Ralph Guggenheim as the Commission representative and a pool of panelists including Lizzette LeFalle-Collins, Janet Lohr, Victor Mario Zaballa, Fran Martin, Al Wong, Valerie Soe, for the Ocean View Branch Library art selection panel.

      Street Artists Committee Recommendations (02/13/02)

    14. RESOLUTION NO. 0304-02-072: Motion to approve request to Board of Supervisors for designation of former winter holiday street artist spaces "Z-49" and "Z-50" (Stockton Street, east side, O'Farrell to Geary Streets) as permanent, year-round spaces.

    15. RESOLUTION NO. 0304-02-073: Motion to approve amendment to street artist lottery helpership procedure to allow a designated helper to fulfill his/her helpership without having to present his/her lottery slip if sign-up sheet indicating the artist's helpership is present.

      President Gatti opened the meeting to public testimony.

      Artist Christopher Lane spoke in reference to item 7 approving the removal/destruction of his murals from the Youth Guidance Center. He said that he had been notified by Chris Bigelow, BOA, in the summer of 2000 that several murals he had worked on with Center detainees over a period of 20 years had been destroyed. He said that he had received no notice. Since then he had tried every means of negotiation to reach a settlement with the City of San Francisco, initially through a lawyer who had since resigned. The City had rejected his claim. He said that, if all efforts failed, he would be forced to take legal action against the city to receive damages for his loss, and he did not want to see taxpayer money spent that way. Ten thousand square feet of murals had been destroyed, including a self portrait by a 17-year-old girl awaiting trial for murder. Over the years the project gave youth in detention the opportunity to express their feelings in a positive way, and their destruction exemplified society's lack of respect for youth who are locked up. Mr. Lane said that only two murals remained, they too were scheduled for removal and destruction, and the Visual Arts Committee had voted to approve their removal/destruction on February 20. If the full Commission approved that destruction by voting for the item before them, it would be a travesty for him and the youth involved. Also, if the destruction was approved, he would deserve compensation. He told the Commissioners that their job was to preserve the murals, and that preservation should be the primary mission of the Arts Commission. In reference to a Commissioner comment, made during the Visual Arts Committee Meeting, that the importance of the murals was that the youth had experienced something positive during their stay at the Youth Guidance Center, Mr. Lane said that a work of art exists as an ongoing inspiration to the community, and that it takes on a life of its own.

      Mark Roller, artist, said that Christopher Lane had been wronged and that the Arts Commission had a responsibility to be his advocate. He urged the Commissioners to vote against the motion.

      Peter Selz, professor emeritus of art history at UC Berkeley, founder of the Berkeley Art Museum, and former chief curator at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, stressed the importance of the preservation of art. He suggested that other works currently on the Commission agenda could also be destroyed because of future arrangements.

      President Gatti commented on the difficulty of making a decision against an art work because of a new building. He noted the way in which the works in question had been applied onto a surface of heavy concrete, and said that no proven method for easy removal existed. He said that the murals had never been within Arts Commission purview, and that the Commission had to take into account its budget, its own priorities and the needs of other agencies. He advised Mr. Lane to take the issue up directly with the agency owning the facility in which the art works were located.

      Mr. Lane said that the Arts Commission had never offered an alternative plan, and he made reference to a conservator who had come up with a method of removing a mural by peeling off the paint.

      President Gatti responded that the Arts Commission had no money to pay a consultant.

      Mr. Lane reiterated that no alternatives had been proposed, such as a photograph of the present mural or the possibility of another mural in the new facility executed with the current detainees. He added that he had a seven-page contract with the Friends of Support Services for the Arts stipulating that, if the painting was to be altered, the artist must be notified.

      President Gatti said that the Commission would be agreeable to Mr. Lane's finding the funding for preserving the remaining murals.

      In response to a question from Commissioner Meyer, Commissioner Guggenheim, the Visual Arts Committee Chair, confirmed that all art enrichment funds for the new facility had already been allocated. He said that those artists had gone through the Commission's usual process of selection by an independent panel.

      Commissioner Meyer raised the possibility of saving the present walls, with their murals, and incorporating them into the new building.

      President Gatti asked Commissioner Meyer if he was interested in undertaking the murals' preservation.

      Commissioner Meyer responded that his suggestion was merely an idea, and that he would be unable to head a fundraising campaign.

      Chris Bigelow, BOA, said that there had already been large-scale deletions in building design in order to stay within the funding limitations. He said that the construction budget would not allow for the removal, storage and relocation of the walls in the new building.

      President Gatti pointed out that the art enrichment opportunity for the new building had been widely advertised, there had been a large response, and the selection panel had commissioned artists who would conduct ongoing projects with youth.

      Commissioner Freebairn-Smith said that he did not recall hearing of the relocation issue. He asked Deputy City Attorney Adine Varah for input.

      Miss Varah said that, assuming the two murals at issue were protected by the Federal Visual Artists Rights Act and the California Art Preservation Act, the City had provided Christopher Lane with adequate notice of the City's proposed removal/destruction of the murals under those two statutes. Accordingly, there was no legal issue before the Commission regarding the two murals. She said the legal requirement was 90-day prior notice to the artist. The artist then had the option to remove the murals or pay someone else to remove them during that 90-day period. Here, the City had given notice in the Summer of 2001 (on June 28, 2001 and July 2, 2001) regarding its plans for removal/destruction of the existing murals.

      President Gatti asked if the Commission was obliged to approve removal of the murals in order for the Youth Guidance Center project to proceed.

      Ms. Varah said that the Arts Commission was the policy body charged with approving removal of works of art under the City Charter (Section 5.103(2)). She noted that that Charter section made no express distinction between works of art that are part of the Civic Art Collection and those that are not. She said that she needed a moment to verify whether the Arts Commission was required to take action in this case and what implications a deferred action might have on the Juvenile Hall construction project.

      President Gatti called for a break.

      After the break, Ms. Varah confirmed that the Arts Commission was required to make a decision under the Charter. If it wished to grant the artist a period of time to obtain funding for preserving the murals, it could do so. She said that, here, assuming the Federal and/or State law required notice of the City's intention to remove/destroy the murals, the City had already given such notice. She noted that, where adequate notice had been given and the 90-day period had expired, as in this case, the City had no legal obligation to obtain the artist's prior permission to remove the works.

      President Gatti presented a motion to rescind the motion to approve the Consent Calendar.

      RESOLUTION NO. 0304-02-057: Motion to rescind Motion to approve the Consent Calendar.

      President Gatti severed item 7 from the Consent Calendar, so that the Commissioners could discuss it after voting on the Consent Calendar as amended by the removal of the item.

      RESOLUTION NO. 0304-02-058: Motion to approve the Consent Calendar as amended .

      President Gatti opened discussion on item 7.

      The Commissioners discussed the possibility of rewording the item to give the artist 30 days to find a means of removing the murals.

      Commissioner Freebairn-Smith noted the difficulty of making a decision without a written recommendation from staff. He also commented on the need to assess the work and determine whether it was at the level of art that the Commission strives to save. He said he would support the establishment of a grace period in order to see if further support for the works would develop. He asked if a period of 30 days was sufficient.

      Mr. Newirth said that it was not up to the Commission to assess the quality of the work. If someone wanted to champion the effort to save the murals, the responsibility to vote on the measure remained the same. If the building was to be demolished, a vote for removal was an Arts Commission obligation.

      Commissioner Stermer said that public outcry had not been enormous.

      Commissioner Freebairn-Smith said that the opinion of someone as noted as Peter Selz should be listened to.

      Joanne Chow Winship, Mayor's Criminal Justice Council, said that the new Youth Guidance Center facility project had a time limit,and, even if the artist were allowed another 30 days, additional time would be needed for the mural removal itself.

      Christopher Lane asked the Commissioners to see the murals for themselves. He suggested that there were alternative possibilities, and that he would be interested in working something out.

      Commissioner Freebairn-Smith asked Mr. Lane if he had investigated means of removing the work and if he knew of a reasonable method that he could present to the Commission.

      Mr. Lane raised again the possibility that the murals could be peeled off. He said that he had asked the Arts Commission to look into potential methods.

      President Gatti said that the staff had investigated the matter and concluded that the only way of removing the murals was to remove the concrete wall itself. He said the wall was eight inches thick, and that the approximate weight of each mural was 11 tons for the small work and 22 tons for the larger one.

      Commissioner Freebairn-Smith said that the works would have to be removed in sections.

      Debra Lehane said that, since the walls were interior, removal would have to be carefully coordinated with the demolition of the building.

      Peter Selz cited the previous successful removal of smaller works from walls and suggested that removal of the murals in questions might be more difficult. He suggested that Mr. Lane could be commissioned to create other murals for the new facility.

      President Gatti said that there were no means to do so, since the art for the future building had already been commissioned.

      The Commissioners agreed to reword the item to include the words "to take effect in 30 days."

      RESOLUTION NO. 0304-02-059: Motion to approve the removal/destruction of murals by Christopher Lane at San Francisco Youth Guidance Center, 375 Woodside Avenue, to take effect in 30 days.

  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.

    2. Visual Arts Committee -- Ralph Guggenheim, Chair

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

        Commissioner Guggenheim announced the March 13 reception for three art exhibitions in City Hall--"PULSE!," a selection of art works by City Hall employees, volunteers and interns; an exhibition of photos by Leon Pantoti titled "Lost Portraits from San Francisco's Greek Town"; and photos by Ann Meredith titled "Don't Call Me Honey."

        Richard Newirth said that Commissioner Cochran had served on the jury for PULSE!

        In reference to the issue of the Christopher Lane murals, Commissioner Guggenheim said that the feasibility of saving them had been discussed at length.

      2. RESOLUTION NO. 0304-02-074: Motion to approve the removal and destruction due to irreparable damage of etched stainless steel doors by John Ammirati titled Place Poem created in 1998 located on the Hallidie Plaza elevator on Market Street at Powell.

      3. RESOLUTION NO. 0304-02-075: Motion to authorize the Civic Art Collection Program Director as agent to conduct negotiations, execute and submit all documents for grants from the State of California Department of Parks and Recreations for restoration of the James Garfield, Verdi and Portals of the Past monuments in Golden Gate Park.

    3. Executive Committee -- Stanlee Gatti, Chair

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

      2. RESOLUTION NO. 0304-02-076: Motion to approve the following proposed panelists for the Cultural Equity Grants Program:

        Jonathan Yorba, Director Education and Community Programs, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts
        Lee Corbett, teacher, theatre artist
        Ann Bluethenthal, dancer, choreographer
        Trish Legasso, Executive Director Southern Exposure
        Danielle Donovan, philanthropist, realtor
        Stephen Pelton, dancer choreographer
        Karen Amano, theatre artist, co-director Thick Description
        Emile Miland, concert cellist, educator

    4. 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. 0304-02-077: Motion to approve waiver of 15-day policy in obtaining certificate for applicant: Peter Kokelaar

      3. RESOLUTION NO. 0304-02-078: Motion to request by former certificate-holder for priority issuance of certificate with waiver of re-screening of wares: Kristina Peterson.

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

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

      2. RESOLUTION NO. 0304-02-079: Motion to rescind resolution #0107-02-023, and to authorize the Director of Cultural Affairs to enter into a contract with Tom Ferentz in an amount not to exceed $13,000, to provide photography and lab instruction through for WritersCorps, from the Youth Arts Fund and the Department of Juvenile Probation.

      3. RESOLUTION NO. 0304-02-080: Motion to approve grants to the cultural centers in the following amounts for additional Hotel Tax Funds received but not granted by the SFAC in 2000-2001:

        BVOH: $33,578
        MCCLA: $58,898
        SomArts: $101,686
        Total: $194,162

      4. RESOLUTION NO. 0304-02-081: Motion to approve the following pool of panelists for Programs in the Community grant selection:

        Marie Acosta Ponce, Acosta & Associates
        Juana Alicia, Institute for Urban Arts
        Janeen Antoine, American Indian Contemporary Arts AICA
        Brenda Berlin, Young Audiences of the Bay Area
        Anne Brodzky, Meridien Gallery
        Winnie Chu, Community Foundation of Silicon Valley
        Grant Din, Asian Neighborhood Design
        Gary Draper, Performing Arts Workshop
        Tom Ferentz, Sixth Street Photography
        Janell Flores, Zeum
        Prado Gomez, Proyecto Contra SIDA por Vida
        Linda Howe, Zellerbach Family Fund
        Safi Jiroh, EdgeWork Consulting and Coaching
        Tana Johnson, SF MOMA
        Lester Jones, Zellerbach Family Fund
        Diem Jones, East Bay Center for the Arts
        Herbert Kohl, USF School of Education
        Nashormeh Lindo, Independent Consultant
        Gina Mackintosh, The ArtCouncil, Inc.
        Carolyn Mason, Performing Arts Workshop
        Greg Morozumi, La Peña Cultural Center
        Claudia Naganuma, Asian American Dance Performances
        Matthew Onik, Youth Commission
        Alleluia Panis, Kulintang Arts
        Kristen Ramirez, Southern Exposure
        Karen Ransom, Oakland Museum
        Joe Rodriguez, San Jose Office of Cultural Affairs
        Jennifer Ross, About Face Consulting
        John Seto, California Arts Council
        Sarah Shelley, World Arts West
        Arlene Shmaeff , MOCHA
        Jordan Simmons, East Bay Center for the Arts
        Cynthia Taylor, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts
        Lance Walker, Marin Arts Council
        Vanessa Wang, East Bay Community Foundation
        Ann Wettrich, Independent Consultant
        Charles Wilmoth, Jon Sims Center
        Midge Wilson, Bay Area Women's and Children's Center
        Pamela Wu, Asian American Theater Company
        Jonathan Yorba, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts

  7. Reports and Announcements

    Commissioner Meyer noted that a community member had thanked him for the Commission's support for the memorial bench in honor of Juana Briones in Washington Square Park.

    In answer to a Commissioner question, Jewelle Gomez said that the LINES Contemporary Ballet's budget was too large for the company to be eligible for a Cultural Equity Grant.

    Commissioner Freebairn-Smith described a broad plan, currently in progress, to identify certain pedestrian channels as art walks through the North Beach, Telegraph Hill and Fisherman's Wharf districts. He said that he would welcome suggestions for artists or projects that might be highlighted for walkways.

  8. Public Comment

  9. Adjournment

    There being no further business, the Meeting adjourned at 5:00 p.m.

    Approved by Richard Newirth, Director of Cultural affairs


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