City and County of San FranciscoSan Francisco Arts Commission


September 10, 4:30 P.M.
25 Van Ness Avenue, Suite 60
San Francisco

Commissioner Roth called the meeting to order at 4:45 P.M.

Commissioners Present
Denise Roth
Blanche Brown
Ethel Walker

Commissioners Absent
Eddie Marshall
Janice Mirikitani

  1. WritersCorps Update
    Ms. Heller passed out and summarized WritersCorps' 2001-02 Final Report. WritersCorps is one of the few arts education programs that evaluates the educational impact of the program on the youth. WritersCorps initiates this evaluation so that it can improve the program. The evaluation found that 76% of the youth improved their writing skills. The sites see WritersCorps as a learning opportunity for the youth. The students' self-reporting shows that 92% are better able to use their imagination and share their feelings. ESL students report that WritersCorps helps them improve their English.

    WritersCorps' publicist, Cynthia Bowman, secured some great press over the summer. Ms. Heller passed out the Chronicle book review, the first full book review, which recognizes the literary merit of the WritersCorps anthology. Because of the book review, KALW hosted two WritersCorps youth on the air in August. KGO featured WritersCorps in July in its monthly book talk led by Chronicle book critic David Kippen.

    The program launches its ninth year in October. Ms. Heller noted the importance of Commissioners' support and encouraged the CAE Commissioners to become involved with the program on a deeper level. Commissioners could partner with a WritersCorps teacher or site, invite their friends and contacts to WritersCorps events, or identify corporate sponsors for the book give away. Students could visit a Commissioner in his/her professional or artistic life.

    This year, WritersCorps is expanding services at Log Cabin Ranch. Rather than putting effort towards bringing a few Log Cabin youth off the ranch, WritersCorps teacher Kim Nelson is coordinating a regular poetry workshop reading called Tuesday Night on the Ranch. The Department of Juvenile Probation has been supportive of these efforts and sees it as a bridge between the staff, families, and the youth.

    Commissioner Roth asked how WritersCorps budget is for 02-03. Ms. Heller responded that the budget is tight in every category.

  2. Chinatown Community Arts Update
    From August 31 through September 6, the gallery showcased the photos of two Chinese American photographers in the show "Lotus and Landscapes." 1200 people visited the show.

    On September 7, "Night of the Rising Stars" drew 250 people to the Chinese Cultural Center Auditorium.

    Opening on September 14, the New Century International Youth Art Exhibition showcases the artwork in different mediums by over 50 young artists. The exhibit runs through October 19.

    CCAP sponsors a music concert with the San Francisco Gu-Zheng Music Society on October 5. For their 20th anniversary, the event will take place at the Herbst Theater, starting at 7:00 p.m. There will be a limited number of complimentary tickets through CCAP.

  3. Arts Education Update
    Ms. Axel reported great funding news. Levi Strauss joined the Arts Education Funders Collaborative with a three-year commitment of $50,000 each year. Pending proposals total almost $250,000 with $100,000 for the following year. Mr. Newirth congratulated Ms. Axel on her successful fundraising and thanked Ms. Nemzoff, Ms. Axel, Ms. Lam and Ms. Takayama for their teamwork in completing the NEA grant application.

    There will be a book launch on October 8 for Inside/Out, which coincides with a reception for elementary school principals and child development centers site managers at the Randall Museum.

    On December 3 and 4, AEFC holds their annual Professional Development Workshops for elementary school teachers where artists will teach teachers how to teach art.

    Ms. Axel explained that the motion is to award a grant to the fiscal sponsor of the Arts Provider Alliance after a proposal is submitted to the Arts Commission. This will be a one-time grant to hire a contractor to plan and coordinate trainings on the Visual and Performing Arts Standards.

    Commissioner Walker made the following motion:
    Motion to approve a $15,000 award to Intersection for the Arts, the fiscal sponsor for the Arts Providers Alliance of San Francisco, from Youth Arts Fund ($13,700) and CAC Grant ($1,300).
    The motion passed unanimously.

  4. Program Director Update
    At her first official CAE meeting, Ms. Nemzoff thanked CAE and SFAC staff for all their support through the transition.

    Ms. Nemzoff distributed the CAE budget and thanked Ms. Takayama for making it a clearer and more useful document from previous years. She emphasized that every program could use more funding. Rommel Taylor from the Civic Design program has joined CAE two days a week. Mr. Taylor is a trained architect and will oversee some of the facilities work at Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts and at Bayview Opera House, Ruth Williams Memorial Theatre.

    Grants for the Arts (GFTA) awarded CAE $250,000 for re-granting to PIC and Festival grantees. Without the increase in funding from GFTA, the grantees were awarded at the amount approved by the Commission.

    The Controller's Office informed us last week that the money allocated to us from the Hotel Tax Fund was cut by 10%. This means that the grant amounts awarded to the cultural centers and the CAE budget needs to be adjusted. To balance last year's budget deficit, the Controller's Office also swept up the money the cultural centers put on reserve last year and collected money in facilities maintenance funds.

    In response, staff is assessing how much money is at DPW and where other allocations are. Then, Ms. Daniels needs to assess if we have enough money to complete the projects that are a priority. Ms. Gonchar emphasized that money sitting in funds needs to be allocated in to work orders before October 1 when the Controller's Office may look for more money to remove. Staff will meet with the cultural center directors and assess how to make the facilities work happen this year, with or without DPW.

    Next month, Ms. Daniels will report on what projects we lost. The big loss was to the HVAC systems for Somarts and Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts. They are expensive projects. Commissioner Walker expressed concern about heat at the African American Art and Culture Complex. Ms. Daniels said that we wanted to replace the whole system, but now we can only replace parts.

    Mr. Newirth explained that the Hotel Tax Fund legislation caps funding increases and decreases at 10%. Last year, the fund fell 29% but the Controller's Office had only put 7% on reserve. The additional 3% (to a total of 10%) was taken from outstanding facilities project funds.

    Ms. Nemzoff suggested that as good landlords, we need to figure out a way to bring in more money for facilities improvements. We did not receive any capital improvement funds this year and have not received any in the last five years. Mr. Newirth noted that the capital budget for the City this year was cut from $50 million to $20 million, so only the most egregious problems are receiving funding.

    African American Art and Culture Complex
    London Breed, the newly appointed Executive Director, introduced herself. She was born and raised in the Western Addition and attended the center in her youth, taking dance and theater classes at the center.

    She noted some facilities infrastructure issues that might be a liability including the north wall, which is near a playground.

    Ms. Breed noted that the Complex is being booked and provided information on the upcoming year's programming. The programming is based on input from the community. The studio is booked with dance classes including hip hop, traditional African dance, and stepping. The San Francisco Ballet contacted the Complex and is interested in teaching classes at the Complex. The Complex will host intergenerational poetry workshops with a potential collaboration with WritersCorps. The second floor is under utilized so there are plans to develop a learning hub upstairs. Computers were donated to the Complex that will be connected to the Internet and accessible to the community. There will be graphic art and Web site design classes for different age groups. The Department of Parks and Recreation might use the Complex as one of the many haunted houses they set up for Halloween. Organizations that have presented at the center are returning and making their events annual events.

    She then summarized programming that recently occurred including Afro Solo's festival, Monday Night Jazz and In Search of a Legend, the Josephine Baker Story which is currently in the theater.

    The visual arts committee will curate the gallery and develop an artist in residence program in the Complex. Ms. Daniels is chair of the committee. Ms. Breed hopes to create a similar system for programming the theater.

    AAACC has two positions open: an office manager position and a program manager position. They will be made public through Intersection for the Arts and will hopefully be filled in six to eight weeks. These are full time positions. The program manager position is on a contract basis.

    Ms. Breed is trying to raise money from various City departments to improve a wall at the Complex and re-do the mural on it.

    Ms. Breed said she knows that the Complex has lost integrity through the years. She is developing basic systems such as an application process and a hiring process. Combined with keeping resources and information available to the community, she hopes to restore integrity at the center.

    Ms. Nemzoff noted that staff was prepared to share AAACC's budget with the committee, but the recent budget cuts makes the budget out of date. We will be able to present the budget with a formal Management and Programming Plan in the future. AAACC, Intersection for the Arts, and SFAC staff have developed a great working relationship and cash flow management so there shouldn't be any panicked requests for funds.

    Commissioner Walker asked what is the status of getting a non-profit group for the Complex. Ms Breed said it will happen as soon as she brings structure to the Complex. She is considering an outside consultant to advise options to pursue to develop or bid a new non-profit. Mr. Newith informed the Commissioners that Ms. Breed's mandate from the Mayor was to create the structure, the non-profit, then either work herself out of a job or decide to become an employee of that entity.

    Mr. Newirth acknowledged the great job Ms. Nemzoff has been doing on the Arts Commission end of managing AAACC and stated that the team of Ms. Nemzoff and Ms. Breed and Ms. Daniels is the recipe for success that we haven't had in the past.

    Ms. Nemzoff suggested we table the facilities report until the next CAE meeting. Ms. Daniels did announce Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts' Gallery Opening for their 25 Year Retrospective of Posters & Prints.

    There was no new or old business. Commissioner Roth adjourned the meeting at 6:45 P.M.

    Next Meeting
    October 8, 2002, 4:30 P.M. at 25 Van Ness Avenue, Suite 70; San Francisco


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