City and County of San FranciscoSan Francisco Arts Commission

May 21, 2002

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:
Ralph Guggenheim, Denise Roth, Andrea Cochran, Janice Mirikitani

Staff Present:
Richard Newirth, Nancy Gonchar, Jewelle Gomez, Sarah Lenoue


Commissioner Roth called the Meeting to order at 4:05 p.m.



  1. Discussion and possible motion to approve recommendations for 34 grants totaling $455,100 in the 2002 cycle of Organizational Project Grants.

    Ms. Gomez pointed out that following the list of recommendations for funding for this year's Organizational Project Grant's (OPG's) were the panel comments. Commissioner Guggenheim thought the panel comments were great. Ms. Gomez said it was an amazing panel. The panelists started by saying how much they liked most of the applications, and how hard it was going to be to stay within the budget. Commissioner Guggenheim asked what percentage were recommended for funding. Ms. Gomez replied that there were just over 100 applications and 34 were recommended for funding. CEG receives more OPG applications than in any other grant category.

    Staff member Ms. Lenoue informed the Committee that the lists of grants were divided into small and large organizations, as they were considered this year. Commissioner Roth notes that there were a lot of organizations recommended for grants that have received funding before. Ms. Gomez indicated that we had a lot of new applicants this year and that maybe in the future we will to do a breakdown so the commissioners can see who's new.

    Ms. Gomez described this year's final voting process: the panel decided to distribute funding in a two tiered system in which organizations got either 100% or 80% of their request.

    She explained that what was done differently this year with OPG's was to divide the groups by their budget size and have two different panels look at them. The small groups were organizations with budgets under $150,000 averaged over three years, and the mid-sized groups were above that. Ms. Gomez felt like it really made a big difference as it shortened the time commitment for panelists making it a more reasonable 3 days of panel as opposed to five or six days as it was in the past. She pointed out that it also gave us more of a panel pool, because people who got grants in one cycle could be asked to be on the other one, and weren't competing against each other. Moat significantly, it also meant that the smaller groups weren't competing with the larger groups who sometimes have spiffier grant writers, and better support materials. She felt it really worked well. Commissioner's Mirikitani and Roth both comment that it was a good idea.

    Commissioner Cochran wondered if an assigned amount of money went to smaller groups and a different amount to larger groups? Ms. Gomez explained that it was assigned proportionately, and since we had more small groups, a little bit more money was assigned to smaller groups. We expanded our funding for that category by reallocating from another category. It felt like it was warranted because the panelists felt really strongly about a lot of the groups.

    Ms. Gomez also noted that CEG has been having a series of meetings about how the program can be streamlined and the process made a little bit easier and she will be summarizing the conclusions of those meetings for the commission this summer and fall.

    Ms. Lenoue passed out a list of organizations that were not recommended for funding.

    Commissioner Mirikitani wanted to know what percentage were turned down this round that had also been turned away before? She wondered whether most of these groups have been funded before. Mr. Newirth speculated that it was probably a higher percentage of new groups than ever before.

    Commissioner Mirikitani wanted to know if there were a lot of groups that are going out of business because of the economy. Ms. Gomez didn't see that happening and that we receive just as many proposals. Ms. Gomez explains that one of the things CEG did recently was to have a meeting with the staff at Grants for the Arts to talk about some of the things that come up for them and how they can get some of the organizations they can't fund to come to us. So we are putting together something to give people, a brochure, so if people don't get funding at Grants for the Art's then they can come here. A lot of community groups may know about Grants for the Arts but not know about us, she explained.

    Moved: Commissioner Guggenheim
    Second: Commissioner Cochran
    Motion: Unanimous

  2. Discussion and possible motion to approve the addition of the following individuals to the Cultural Equity Grants Panel Pool: Kim Cook, consultant, former Executive Director of Theater Artaud; Helene York, General Manager A Traveling Jewish Theater; Leon Lee, Flutist and staff member of NAATA

    Mr. Newirth brought up the question of how much information the commissioners would like on panelists. Ms. Gomez commented that she could give you much more. It used to be a couple of paragraphs of biographical information. Commissioner Roth said she trusted Ms. Gomez's judgement on this but that she wanted to oversee the diversity angle as much as possible.

    Moved: Commissioner Guggenheim
    Second: Commissioner Mirikitani
    Vote: Unanimous

  3. Discussion regarding the Board of Supervisors budget hearing of the Arts Commission's FY 2002-03 budget submission.

    Ms Gonchar explained the cuts that have been made in the Arts Commission's General Fund budget allocation and stated that the full impact of these cuts would not be known until all the program budgets had been submitted. The commission was informed at the beginning of the budget process that the department had to cover the 5.5 % cost of living increase for the nine salaries that are funded by the General Fund. In order to accommodate this $56,000 cost we deducted the Light, Heat and Power allocation of $37,758. Additional allocations in materials and supplies were also cut to contribute to the required COLA contribution. We were also requested to frame two budget cutting scenarios, a 3% budget cut and a 10% budget cut. Thus far the Arts Commission has had to sustain an additional $20,000 reduction in our rent allocation. All of these cuts thus far have been absorbed by Hotel Tax Funds from CAE and CEG. The impact of these reductions will been felt by a reduction of funding to the cultural centers and grants to artists and arts organizations. It will be extremely difficult to recover the rent reduction in future budget negotiations.

    Mr. Newirth noted that of considerable concern is that we may have to sustain more cuts if the Mayor's office requires us to implement the 10% reductions. The Mayor's Office is currently negotiating with the unions to agree to charge city workers for 2.75% of their retirement contribution to close a $50,000,000 deficit. The offer to unions in return would be a guarantee that there would be no layoffs. Since the climate changes when each new report from Sacramento, the budget deficit is a moving target until the end of July.

    Ms. Gonchar notes that the Arts Commission's budget has currently taken a $76,000 hit and more could be required of us. If the full 10% is ultimately required another $82,016 would be cut from the Arts Commission budget. This would represent a total cut of $158,016 including the COLA outlined above. Reductions in the Hotel Tax from last year to the current fiscal year are: CEG reduced by $248,151 and CAE reduced by $269,983.

    Mr. Newirth noted the irony of such severe budget cuts to our GF administrative budget. The Mayor's office is trying to avoid layoffs but the majority of the funds the SFAC receives from the General Fund supports nine salaries. The remainder is for the rent and a small amount of administrative costs (supplies, DTIS expenses, training, insurance etc.) Since 80 to 90% of the budget is personnel costs where do you accomplish these cuts? Any cuts to administrative costs will directly impact our programs and their abilities to provide services at current levels. Programs will have to proportionally cover administrative expenses cut from the General Fund.
  4. The meeting adjourned at 4:55 p.m.


    Submitted by Sarah Lenoue, Cultural Equity Grants Program Assistant.
    Approved by Richard Newirth, Director of Cultural Affairs

    June 27, 2002


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