City and County of San FranciscoSan Francisco Arts Commission

Wednesday, April 17, 2002


4:00 p.m.

Suite 70, Conference Room

25 Van Ness Ave.

San Francisco 94102

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


The meeting commenced at 4:10 p.m.

  1. Role Call:

    Commissioners present: Ralph Guggenheim, William Meyer, Rod Freebairn-Smith, Barbara Stauffacher-Solomon, Dugald Stermer, Dede Wilsey

    Commissioners absent: Andrea Cochran, Stanlee Gatti

    Staff present: Jessica Goodson, Nancy Gonchar, Debra Lehane, Michelle Liapes, Richard Newirth, Rommel Taylor

  2. Emperor Norton Memorial
    Review of Proposed Gift to the City of Statue of Emperor Norton
    Presenters: John Caulder, Dan Macchiarini

    Debra Lehane, Program Director Civic Art Collection, briefly summarized the project proposal and history. Ms. Lehane introduced John Calder, design architect, to present the revised proposal.

    John Calder explained that he was here to address specific concerns expressed by residents of the Telegraph Hill community. He explained that there were three primary concerns: 1. The scale of the sculpture 2. Security 3. Loss of usable area. Regarding the issue of the scale of the sculpture, he explained that the statue was not 16' tall. The overall height of the piece is 12'. The statue of Emperor Norton is 8' tall and sits on a 4' base. Mr. Calder explained that there wouldn't be any new security issues with the proposal. He had been in conversation with the SFPD and was informed that the existing patrol schedule and frequency would not be changed. Regarding the issue of loss of square footage he explained that the total overall loss in area is approximately 8 sq. ft. maximum.

    Mr. Calder continued to explain that the statue had been located to conform with DPW design guidelines which require a 15' sidewalk clearance either in front or in back of the statue. The revised design reflects compliance with this requirement. The front of the statue is 5' away from the curb along Vallejo street with 15' clear sidewalk space.

    Mr. Clader explained that all members of the community that opposed the design had been contacted and invited to comment on the design. He said that he had not received any response. Mr. Calder continued to explain that he harbors no ulterior motives within the proposal. The intent of the project is honor the life of Emperor Norton and to honor the work designed by the late Peter Macchiarini of Emperor Norton.

    Ms. Lehane clarified that the sculpture presented is an enlargement of a smaller piece designed and crafted by the late Peter Macchiarini honoring Emperor Norton.

    Daniel Macchiarini read a prepared statement as a response to recent statements about the project. Mr. Macchiarini presented a printed copy of the statement to the commission for the public record.

    Commissioner Guggenheim opened the floor to public comment.

    Sherry O'Donnell expressed support for the project.

    Sean Kilcoyne expressed opposition to the project.

    Marvin Kasoff expressed opposition to the project.

    Edward Brooks expressed support for the project.

    Ward Dunham expressed support for the project.

    Michelle Johnson expressed opposition to the project.

    Gerry Hurtado expressed opposition to the project.

    John Barnes expressed opposition to the project.

    Bob Planthold expressed support for the project.

    Gerry Crowley expressed support for the project.

    Claude Allen expressed opposition to the project.

    Jeanette Conley expressed support for the project.

    Suzanne Nelson expressed support for the project.

    Patricia Cady expressed opposition to the project.

    Mede Goldstone expressed support for the project.

    Commissioner Guggenheim closed the floor to public comment.

    Commissioner Freebairn-Smith responded to Mr. Plantholds's public testimony regarding the use of DPW funds for beautification of Telegraph Hill. He explained that the information was obtained from the outgoing Telegraph Hill Dwellers chair, Julie Christiansen and that he didn't say that they were beautification funds. The DPW funds in question are allocated toward pavement improvements and his inquiry was toward the possibility of those funds being converted for use in improving the entire block.

    Commissioner Freebairn-Smith commented that he is also a Telegraph Hill Dweller and that he has been involved in the process of improving the area for quite some time.

    Commissioner Freebairn-Smith verbally presented a draft motion for the committee to discuss. Mr. Freebairn-Smith also distributed printed copies of this draft motion to the commissioners and for the public record.

    Commissioner Stermer commented that he has an considerable amount of respect for the late Peter Macchiarini as a jewelry maker however, he feels that the sculpture of Emperor Norton is substandard. Mr. Strermer commented that although he has aesthetic concerns with the sculpture he does support the concept of commemorating Emperor Norton.

    Commissioner Stauffacher-Solomon agreed with commissioner Stermer. She commented that as a small scale maquette the design works well however, it does not translate well as a large scale sculpture. Ms. Stauffacher-Solomon explained that she supports the conceptual idea of a project honoring Emperor Norton but does not support the design presented.

    Commissioner Wilsey commented that she was in favor of the concept however did not like the design presented. She explained that the sculpture was to tall.

    Commissioner Meyer commented that he had major concerns with the orientation of the statue. Mr. Meyer explained that he needed to see more design studies that showed the view looking up Kearny from Broadway and down Kearney street from Green. He also commented that more studies investigating alternative placements was necessary. Mr. Meyer also agreed with the idea of having some type of tribute to Emperor Norton but did not support the current design scheme.

    Commissioner Guggenheim commented that he had not visited the site. He commented that the photos were unclear and did not give an accurate sense of how the piece will look in the site.

    Debra Lehane explains that the motion on the agenda can be approved as stateted or modified. However, it is expected that there will be a motion today.

    Commissioner Stermer asked if the proposal wise dependent on the sculpture.

    Daniel Maccchiarini responded that the proposal is based on the sculpture by Peter Maccchiarini.

    Commissioner Freebairn-Smith commented that the sculpture should be located at the Macchiarini steps.

    Daniel Maccchiarini commented that the sculpture could be repositioned however the overall design must comply with DPW requirements.

    Debra Lehane commented that the goal of this meeting was to have an open dialogue with the community and designers. Ms. Lehane highly recommended that each commissioner visit the site.

    Motion: Motion to continue this item to May 21st Executive Committee meeting
    Ralph Guggenheim

    Yes- Unanimous

  3. Adjournment

    Meeting was adjourned at 5:45 p.m.