City and County of San FranciscoSan Francisco Arts Commission


April 9, 2002
4:30 P.M.
25 Van Ness Aveneue, Suite 70
San Francisco

Commissioner Roth called the informational meeting to order at 4:47 P.M.

Commissioners Present
Denise Roth
Blanche Brown
Ethel Walker

Commissioners Absent
Eddie Marshall
Janice Mirikitani

  1. WritersCorps Update
    Avesa Rockwell, Project Assistant for WritersCorps, made the report since Ms. Heller had to attend a meeting with Juvenile Probation. The final slam happened on Friday at SomArts with 13 finalists and an audience of 200 +. Judges included Susan Leal and Commissioner Andrew Brother Elk. Two students, Ieremiah T. from Log Cabin and Antonio Caceres from S. F. Public Library, were selected to go to Washington D.C. on May 3rd.

    This year, staff started phasing out the use of Borders as a venue for the slams and had two slams at community cultural centers, Mission Cultural Center (MCCLA) and SomArts. WritersCorps' event coordinator, Jose Carrasco from Loco Bloco, played a critical role in the slams' success in the community.

    The annual book party for WritersCorps' anthology, Believe Me I Know, will be on June 5th at the Main Library. The book will be published this month and the book shape will be square.

    Usually staff starts recruiting new teachers at this time, but teacher retention is almost 100% this year. In May, staff is only looking to hire a male teacher for Log Cabin.

    A comedian, Lisa Geduldig, selected WritersCorps to be the beneficiary of her next show. The event is called Funny Girlz and is on May 11 at 8 p.m. at the Herbst Theatre. Ms. Geduldig invited a WritersCorps youth, Lydia Celis, to perform with her.

    Also, Commissioner Mirikitani will be reading on April 20th at 2:00 p.m. at Small Press Distribution, one of WritersCorps' supporters.

    Commissioner Roth congratulated Ms. Rockwell and WritersCorps on another successful year.

  2. Chinatown Community Arts Update
    Currently on display in the gallery is an abstract exhibit called Slowly Entered featuring six artists from Asian American Women Artist Association. The reception on April 6 hosted 100+ viewers.

    On April 14th, CCAP hosts the annual Spring Symphony chamber music in cooperation with the San Francisco Symphony. Commissioner Kirk Anderson will represent the Commission at the event.

  3. Arts Education Update
    In March, the Arts Commission applied for two California Arts Council grants. Ms. Axel just heard that the Arts Commission received the Local Arts Education Partnership grant for $20,000 to advance the Arts Commission's collaboration with the school district. Staff is still waiting to hear about the State/Local Partnership Program grant.

    The Arts Providers Alliance, including approximately 50 arts organizations and individual artists working with the school district, is discussing building in a part-time staff person to oversee the Alliance.

    The Youth Arts Festival Week is May 11-18. There will be a VIP reception on May 9th. May 18th is when families are invited to the Zeum rooftop for a hands-on art experience.

    On the same day, the California Arts Council is sponsoring a conference in San Jose for model arts program grantees.

    The Arts Education Funders Collaborative held the first model development workshop with Sanchez Elementary School on April 7. This was the first of three workshops for schools to plan the next four years to build arts education programs into their schools with support from AEFC.

  4. Program Director Update
    As acting program director of the Community Arts and Education Program, Ms. Gomez thanked the CAE staff for their cooperation.

    CAE had a panel meeting to review grants for Programs in the Community. The panel recommended awarding $145,499 to ten organizations contingent on funding from Grants for the Arts. These are funds for non-arts organizations that have arts programming.

    The cultural centers are turning in their management and programming plan and budgets for 2002-03. Staff is awaiting Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts' (MCCLA) outstanding budget.

    The commitment to keep the Fulton Street facility up and running has met with success. The Curatorial Committee developed quality programming including First Contact, Hip-Hop Macbeth, and a wonderful gallery exhibit. The community response has been extremely positive to the cultural programming at the center. Many thanks are due to the Curatorial Committee, which also includes staff member, Marcie Byrde.

    Some outstanding issues are directly related to the African American Art and Culture Complex (AAACC). On April 1, the cultural centers' MPP and budgets were due. AAACC's submission was late and incomplete, lacking information on cultural programming. The revenue figures were incorrect and need clarification. Staff will work with AAACC staff during the month of April and hope a revised MPP and budget will be submitted by the end of the month.

    AAACC submitted a budget amendment on April 8 and staff has not had a chance to review it.

    On April 8, Ms. Gomez received a fax that announced AAACC staff had been laid off. Arts Commission staff has no understanding of why such a lay off was necessary. Mr. Edington has not given Commission staff any information on that situation at this time.

    Commissioner Roth noted that ten organizations are recommended for funding. She asked how many organizations applied for funding. Ms. Takayama answered 21.

    Commissioner Walker made the following motion:
    Motion to approve the Programs in the Community (PIC) grant to the following PIC grantee organizations, recommended by the PIC review panel, from the 2002-03 Grants for the Arts Fund, pending written confirmation from Grants for the Arts:

    The Arc San Francisco


    Institute on Aging


    Lavendar Youth Recreation and Information Center


    Life Frames, Inc


    Positive Directions Equals Change, Inc.


    Every Child Can Learn


    Richmond District Neighborhood Center


    San Francisco Ministry to Nursing Homes


    San Francisco Women Against Rape


    Tenderloin Reflection and Education Center




    The motion passed unanimously.

    Commissioner Roth asked if staff is expecting an increase in funding from Grants for the Arts. Ms. Gomez said that staff requested an increase in funding from Grants for the Arts, but it is unlikely that we will receive our request.

    Commissioner Roth noted that the panel recommended to increase the funding for four organizations rather than fund additional organizations. Ms. Gomez noted that the request made by one of the organizations is very small. If the program receives additional funding, the amount will be so small that it probably won't be enough to fund another organization.

    Commissioner Brown made the following motion:
    Motion to approve distribution of additional funds for Programs in the Community (PIC), pending written confirmation from Grants for the Arts if the funding exceeds $145,499, following the recommendations by the panel: a) increase to $6,100 for Tenderloin Reflection and Education Center; b) distribute the remainder evenly to San Francisco Women Against Rape, Institute on Aging and Richmond District Neighborhood Center.
    The motion passed unanimously.

    Cultural Center Facility Report
    Center-wide, the centers are replacing burned out lamps in exit signs. Bayview Opera House, Ruth Williams Memorial Center (BVOH) and MCCLA are complete; SomArts has a few lamps remaining; AAACC will be complete as soon as the next order is filled.

    The next center-wide project is conservation. Staff will remove non-operating fixtures and replace them with new energy saving fixtures and replace old working fixtures and lamps with energy saving fixtures and lamps.

    At MCCLA, furnace controls are installed: all five roof units and one interior unit are working. DPW and Yamas Controls, Inc. identified a malfunctioning economizer as the cause of uneven airflow in the building. In addition, Arts Commission staff, Mr. Rommel Taylor will develop a building usage survey. The building was originally a furniture warehouse and when new walls were constructed the airflow was altered. The building usage survey will poll tenants on how comfortable/uncomfortable they find the temperature in the building. Floor-by-floor and room-by-room, the activities and times of usage in various rooms will be identified to better balance the temperature throughout the building. This survey will be adapted for the other cultural centers as well.

    Thyssen-Krupp, the elevator maintenance company, submitted a proposal to install a phone in the passenger elevator and to repair door straps on the freight elevator.

    Today, Ms. Daniels met with the Executive Director of BVOH, Shelly Bell; Construction Project Engineer, Claudia Cody; and Restoration Architect, Alice Carry, to discuss BVOH's plaza design and construction. The Metropolitan Commission awarded BVOH $1.4 million to develop a plaza along with the Third Street Lightrail Project. They are currently identifying funds to build a new facility and look at historical restoration of the existing structure.

    Remaining projects for BVOH are interior hazmat disposal. Staff hopes to have abatement done by the end of this fiscal year. Exhaust fans on roof have been cleaned and repaired. In the past 60 days, no water leakage has been reported.

    Three heaters at SomArts are out of commission. DPW will provide an estimate for their repair or replacement. Both the water fountain and the plumbing in the men's restroom are repaired. Mr. Jack Davis is awaiting a third bid for electrical work to replace a fire panel.

    At AAACC, waterproofing the west wall and pigeon abatement is nearly completed. DPW is replacing broken windows and hazardous waste in the window putty. A serviceman repaired the elevator. The gallery was renovated with an electrical upgrade, a partial wall constructed, new track lights and a motion detector installed, and the floor and walls painted. An electrical assessment to determine the capacity of the building is completed. $61,000 is allocated for an electrical upgrade in the building and Ms. Daniels is waiting for a facility plan that maps out the needs for each room.

    Next year, one furnace will be replaced.

    The fourth floor mechanical room which houses electrical panels, timers, and heating controls is no longer being used as a photography studio. Work on the photo studio was done without the appropriate city permits and safeguards, presenting serious safety hazards.

    Work on the second floor to install sinks to accommodate a silkscreen studio and a new photo lab are underway without consultation with Ms. Daniels. In addition, Ms. Daniels observed work on bathroom stalls in the ramp area, but she has not approved any of the work. This work is not done in accordance with the Cultural Center Maintenance and Repair Policy. All renovation projects require Arts Commission approval and coordination with the Cultural Facilities Manager.

    Nancy Gonchar?s Report
    To date, the Arts Commission has allocated $597,135 to AAACC of a $774,332 approved budget, which is exclusive of capital monies that were approved. For several months, Ms. Gonchar has requested a year-to-date financial report that would compare the actual expenditures to the approved budgeted items. She received some of that information only today. Her request for a report on received revenue is outstanding. It appears that some of the revenue has been spent without Commission approval.

    Ms. Gonchar summarized the last two invoices from AAACC. Staff received an invoice in March for $100,000. A check was issued March 19. A second invoice was received on April 1, less than two weeks later, for $100,000. Ms. Gonchar was concerned that $100,000 was spent in two weeks.

    Today Ms. Gonchar learned in writing that AAACC staff was laid off and that payroll was not met. That is unfortunate because $100,000 was just disbursed and financial management should set payroll as a priority.

    Mr. Edington is aware that the City process for disbursing money takes several weeks. The process can take longer if there are contradictions within the financial report or if staff needs clarification.

    Ms. Gonchar suggested that it might be a good idea to have the Controller's Office perform a financial audit.

    AAACC Report
    Mr. Edington said he and the staff were disappointed the location for the CAE Committee meeting was changed from AAACC back to the Arts Commission. He hopes the Commissioners will visit and attend upcoming events.

    Mr. Edington said he was told that AAACC is a hybrid organization and that money for operations would be sent to AAACC in $100,000 increments. He outlined his understanding of the process. The Commission would initiate a request to the Controller, transfer the money to the fiscal sponsor, then AAACC would get approval to spend money. He also believed that the remaining balance would be placed in Intersection's account for AAACC spending when the Commission approved the program plan in January.

    There were two instances when the transfer of $100,000 was delayed. He felt that AAACC has no control over when the $100,000 request is made, when the request is made to the Controller, nor when it is transferred to the fiscal agent. That is all under the control of the Arts Commission. On January 25, Mr. Edington gave a cash flow projection from February - June to Ms. Lerma (the former CAE Program Director), Ms. Bok at Intersection for the Arts (Intersection), and to the Arts Commission accountant. This was suppose to be a guide to insure that funds would be available for AAACC to be reimbursed. The projection reflected center spending at approximately $133,000/month. Mr. Edington asked Mr. Newirth for an on-site $12,000 revolving account to insure that AAACC could make payroll.

    Last week, on the day of payroll, Intersection staff told AAACC there was no money in the account. No one from the Arts Commission contacted AAACC. When Mr. Edington made inquiries to the Arts Commission, he said he was unable to reach Commission staff. Mr. Edington met with Intersection staff to show the approved budget and Intersection staff said the Arts Commission transferred $600,000 and they were not going to transfer any more money. Intersection staff told Mr. Edington that it would take 30 days until more funds could be transferred, and without enough money on hand to meet payroll, all but two staff members were laid off temporarily until AAACC could straighten out the funding dilemma.

    Mr. Edington said AAACC was out of options because Mr. Newirth was out of town, Ms. Lerma's position is vacant, and Ms. Gomez did not indicate a sympathetic ear. Mr. Edington contacted the Mayor's Office and let them know that AAACC funds had been "abruptly halted," the transfer of money from the Arts Commission to the fiscal sponsor had not been executed, and that the fiscal sponsor could not account for why there was not enough money to pay bills when he felt that the budget shows there should be.

    With regards to fiscal reporting, Mr. Edington said he and Ms. Lerma agreed that he would provide an expenditure report showing a comparison to the budget on the fifth of each month. Commission staff received the February and March report. The April report was delivered yesterday due to holidays. His report shows a very little over expenditure, primarily in payroll tax. Two weeks ago, AAACC staff asked Ms. Gomez how to request a budget change to cover payroll taxes and increased security needs.

    Mr. Edington said that the Commission entered into an agreement with the fiscal sponsor to handle the cash flow for AAACC. He indicated he felt that the Arts Commission has not actively taken a role to develop systems with the fiscal sponsor.

    For a short period, Mr. Newirth and Mr. Edington held Wednesday meetings. Mr. Edington expressed several concerns. On record, Mr. Edington is liable for technical and operating concerns of the facility, rather than the City. A month ago he expressed concerns with Workers Compensation. He met with Arts Commission staff about issues that "languished" or he was given insufficient information.

    He has taken initiative to make needed improvements on the building due to deferred maintenance. He tried to adhere to Arts Commission guidelines, but in many cases they had to solve internal problems on their own because of lack of Arts Commission assistance. One example is the West Wall. It had asbestos, lead-based paint, and leaked water into the facility. Mr. Edington selected two contractors. One contractor that bid $32,800 had no knowledge of the City's hazmat rules, so DPW took over the job. Mr. Edington asked how long it would take. DPW said 30 days, weather permitting. That was 120 days ago and it' s still not finished.

    AAACC staff has been submitting expenditure reports on a regular basis to the fiscal sponsor. The last time Mr. Edington met with Mr. Newirth and Ms. Gonchar, they made several requests. One was a review of the AAACC tenants. He said he would make it available on site. He said they set up a structure for the expenditure reports. One call to Mr. Edington or Intersection for the expenditure report would have solved a lot of problems.

    Mr. Edington congratulated Mr. Idris Ackamoor for his revitalization of the theater. Mr. Thomas Simpson, the interim program manager, set up a community based collaborative funding program where the community can initiate programs. There were 44 requests for over $140,000. AAACC funded 14 programs and fully committed $40,000. There is a groundswell of support at the center and the more activity that happens with input from the community, the greater the potential. The center can be a rich resource for the community with nine artist tenants and the hopes to add four more.

    Commission Roth asked for a copy of the cash flow projection and a monthly expenditure report. She then opened the floor to public comment.

    Ms. Carmen Johnson said AAACC has been growing and introduced the Ad Hoc Committee made up of people from the Western Addition community who have taken an interest in the cultural center. The Ad Hoc Committee meets every Wednesday at 2:00 at AAACC to discuss how to move forward and how to include the Western Addition community in the center's programming. Some of the Ad Hoc members reviewed the community proposals for the collaborative projects. The Committee would like to recommend formalizing an advisory committee or board of directors.

    Reverend Ted Frazier, associate pastor from a local Pentacostal Church, has lived in San Francisco for almost 50 years, primarily in the Western Addition. He has participated with the center for a number of events and noted the physical and programmatic progress made. He asked for mercy from the Commission to understand the importance of the center in a community that has been plagued with crime and violence and government agencies that have disrupted the community. The center represents pride in the people and the culture. He knows there have been some problems in the past but he hopes to be more involved and wants to work together with the Arts Commission. The committee has people who want to make the center a success. They just need to know the rules by which to play. The community should have direct input in determining the future of the center. The Ad Hoc Committee is the beginning of that process and as the center is being built, the Commission should build an entity that can assist with the fiscal agent and Commission to make sure all the requirements and policies are implemented.

    Mr. Charles Gibson-McClinton is concerned that AAACC has been treated differently than the other centers. In the past, the SomArts' director left the country with organizational funds. SomArts was able to form a board in-house and did not have their funding disrupted. The Arts Commission helped them solve the problem and they've thrived ever since. MCCLA had problems and reorganized with the blessing of the Commission. They worked it out in-house and thrived ever since.

    With AAACC, the budget was cut off for a year and now there's another budgetary problem. Mr. Edington is reporting to three people and going through another agency for money. The other centers didn't have to go through this process.

    Mr. Gibson-McClinton disapproved of the RFP process for finding a new organization to fill the center. He would like an opportunity for the organization to work out their problems just like the other centers.

    Mr. Matthew Ruzette is a lifetime San Francisco resident. He said the center is a great building in a great location with lots of space. Through the meeting, he observed a lack of communication. The details of the problem seem very mundane. The center's time is better spent providing more community events, shows, and art events. People all over the City need a center like this working at full capacity so that youth have things to do on the weekends and at night.

    A member of the Ad Hoc Committee who said she lives and works in the community said that they did everything they were supposed to do and now the funding is held up. This is not fair and there are many hoops to dance through. This should be ironed out because this is affecting people beyond the center staff. She is disappointed that the photography studio is no longer being built.

    Ms. Saundra Mayo lives in the Western Addition. She would like to see an African American culture center be viable again. Her daughter grew up and participated in the activities at the center. She and other young people are wondering why the center isn't active like it used to be. Another audience member said the Ad Hoc Committee, under the leadership of Mr. Edington, are trying to rejuvenate the center. With viable programs, young people would participate in center activities instead of being out on the streets.

    Mr. Idris Ackamoor said for the last 15-20 years, the budget at the center has been around $300,000/year. There has not been any funding outside the Arts Commission and he called this a tragedy. He said the center should have a budget of $1.5 million, but the center can't even manage $400,000. One of the first things he would have done was hire a fundraiser to look for alternative funding sources. He was glad that the season's two shows brought in $14,000 in earned income. Half of it goes to the center for future programming. There are plenty of programs, but we need funding more than anything else.

    Commissioner Roth closed the floor to public comment.

    Mr. Edington agreed with Mr. Ackamoor that funding is crucial. Funding means independence to support projects that are not art related. In Mr. Edington's five months at AAACC, he submitted three proposals: one to the Mayor's Office for $150,000, one to the Arts Commission for creative space usage. But currently, AAACC and Mr. Edington are extensions of the City, and the City cannot fund itself. He encouraged the idea to develop an independent non-profit entity at AAACC. He wants autonomy instead of presenting ideas to committees.

    Commissioner Roth missed someone from the floor.

    Ms. Essie Collins asked for an explanation for the difference in the funding for the four centers. Ms. Gonchar said that this year AAACC's approved budget was $774,332 exclusive of capital funds. That was two years of funding, which is twice as much as the other centers received this year.

    Commissioner Walker asked if there is money in the budget to make payroll for the next two months. Ms. Gonchar said she believes so, but she needs to go over the reports with Mr. Edington when he provides them. Intersection never said they were out of money. She heard that for the first time today. Commissioner Roth confirmed there is approximately $200,000 left in programming and operating funds.

    Commissioner Roth asked Mr. Edington about the construction at the center. Mr. Edington said when he first came to the center the women did not use the restrooms. The staff kept toilet paper in their offices and there were few supplies because of lack of funds. Mr. Edington wanted to upgrade the facility before funding programming and he submitted a budget to Mr. Newirth with funds only targeted to upgrade the facility. He listed problems like fixing the bathrooms and making them ADA compliant and resolving chemical problems with the building. Mr. Newirth agreed with the plan but also wanted to see programming in the building and appointed a curatorial committee. Mr. Edington took issue with the curatorial committee because he was not consulted on its formation as he believes a director should be.

    Mr. Newirth and Mr. Edington did not agree on the priorities set for the center so Mr. Edington proceeded to work on the bathrooms. There was $61,000 in ADA money approved for the center from the Mayor's Office of Community Development two or three years back. Mr. Edington contacted Mr. Eric Baker at the MOCD to see if those funds were still available. Mr. Edington said it didn't make sense to fix the bathrooms when a disabled person could not get on the elevator. Mr. Baker agreed and agreed that the funds could be used towards the cost of fixing the elevator. Mr. Edington still wanted to upgrade the bathrooms so that people felt safe using them so he started remodeling the bathrooms and the remedied the deferred maintenance in the facility.

    Commissioner Walker asked for a status report on the electrical upgrade and photo gallery. Ms. Daniels said there is no relationship between the mechanical upgrade and the need to discontinue use of the fourth floor mechanical room for a photo lab. The fourth floor is for DPW building staff with a number of regulations and needs to be resolved before the general public can access it. There certainly can be a photo lab in the building, but there are steps to take to make it happen properly for the safety of everyone in the building.

    With regards to the electrical upgrade, DPW made an assessment and a list of repairs. Now we need to know how the rooms are going to be programmed to plan electrical improvements to meet those needs.

    Commissioner Roth asked Mr. Edington for a one-page review of all the repairs done to the center with the costs associated with each.

    Commissioner Roth said that their job is to oversee how public funds are spent, insure that funds are spent properly, and insure that the center is operating in accordance to minimum guidelines at the best benefit of the community. When she sees that there are two requests for $100,000 within one month and hears that requests for an accounting of the expenditures are unanswered, it gives her the feeling that she doesn't know how the funds are being spent. She did not insinuate that they were spent improperly, but explained that the Commissioners must be able to account for the money.

    Mr. Edington said it was unfortunate that Ms. Lerma left without explaining structures that were in place. To make the Arts Commission aware of AAACC needs on an ongoing basis they set up a cash flow projection by line item. He said it's unfortunate that Ms. Bok from Intersection is not here to testify that they've met several times so that the Arts Commission would know what AAACC was spending money on. AAACC provides invoices to Intersection to request funds. The invoices were previously given to Mr. Newirth and Ms. Gonchar at their scheduled meetings, but those meetings have been cancelled.

    In the interest of expediting a process for AAACC, Commissioner Walker asked if there is a reason Intersection needs to have the financial reports. Ms. Gonchar explained that once the Commission approved the MPP and budget, the fiscal agent, Intersection for the Arts, could use the approved budget as a guideline to approve the expenditures to AAACC. Ms. Gonchar restated that Commission staff asked for a financial report and had not received one until today. Procedures have been set up but there has been a breakdown in communication. The meeting tomorrow between Ms. Gonchar and Mr. Edington should help clarify any confusion.

    Commissioner Roth requested that Ms. Gonchar and Mr. Edington meet tomorrow and review AAACC's budget and reporting questions. Commissioner Roth amended the motion to read as follows:

    Motion to approve up to $274,332 as a grant to Intersection for the Arts as fiscal sponsor for the African American Art & Culture Complex subject to review of financial reports.
    The motion passed unanimously.

    Ms. Gonchar explained that this motion means that Mr. Edington agrees on the amount of money that is left to transfer to Intersection. Mr. Edington said that Intersection and the Arts Commission are not in agreement with how much capital improvement money is available. Commissioner Walker requested that someone from Intersection be present at tomorrow's meeting with Mr. Edington and Ms. Gonchar.

    Commissioner Walker asked if the people laid off by Mr. Edington would be automatically reinstated. Mr. Edington said they would be reinstated pending release of funding.

    Ms. Gonchar reiterated a concern for the poor communication and spread of misinformation. She spoke with staff at Intersection four times over the past ten days and they never indicated that the Arts Commission "turned off the faucet." The Arts Commission has proved their support for this center. The Commission approved two years of funding for the center and spent over 75% of the funds and allocated money for next year. Four or five Arts Commission staff members have devoted over 20% of their time to AAACC. Throughout this period where Mr. Edington claims that he did not have access to any funds, the Arts Commission staff did not receive a call from Mr. Edington. However, Mr. Edington in a memo to staff indicated that the Commission was responsible for the layoffs, despite his not informing staff until after the fact.

    There was no new or old business. Commissioner Roth adjourned the meeting at 6:21 P.M.

    Next Meeting
    May 14, 2002, 4:30 P.M. at 25 Van Ness Avenue, Suite 70, San Francisco


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