City and County of San FranciscoSan Francisco Arts Commission

Wednesday, June 19, 2002

3:00 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, San Francisco CA 94102 during regular business hours. Tel: 415-252-2594.


Commissioners Present
Ralph Guggenheim, Barbara Stauffacher Solomon, Dugald Stermer; Absent: Stanlee Gatti, Dede Wilsey.

Staff Present
Richard Newirth, Director of Cultural Affairs; Rupert Jenkins, Anna Kvinsland, Debra Lehane, Jill Manton, Judy Moran, Susan Pontious, Kristen Zaremba.

Note: All votes are unanimous unless recorded otherwise.

The meeting commenced at 3:10 p.m.

  1. Consent
    1. Motion to approve six original posters designs by artist Megan Wilson to be exhibited in Market Street kiosks from August 16 to November 14, 2002 as part of the Market Street Art in Transit Kiosk Poster Series.
    2. Motion to approve an artist selection panel pool including Megan Wilson, Laurie Lazar, Darryl Smith, James Bewley, Isis Rodriguez, Steve Pon, and Carmen Lomas Garza to recommend artists for the 2003 Market Street Art in Transit Kiosk Poster Series.
    3. Motion to approve the mural design by lead artist Gabriela Lujan and SOMARTS/Mural Resource Center, at 48 Balmy Alley, funded by Neighborhood Beautification.
    4. Motion to approve the mural design by lead artist Jessica Sowards and youth from the Boys and Girls Club, Mission Unit, at 685 Florida Street, funded by Neighborhood Beautification.
    5. Motion to authorize Director of Cultural Affairs to enter into final contract with Liz Diller and Ric Scofidio for artwork for the Moscone Expansion project in an amount not to exceed $355,000.

      Motion: Motion to move the consent calendar item.
      Moved: Stermer/Stauffacher Solomon

  2. Collections
    Civic Art Collection Program Director Debra Lehane announced that at today's meeting, there would be an informational presentation regarding a proposed monument to the Abraham Lincoln Brigade at Harry Bridges Plaza. The proposed monument, a tribute to the American men and women who volunteered to fight in the Spanish Civil War, has received the Board of Supervisors' permission to be placed at the northern end of Harry Bridges Plaza. A memorial to Harry Bridges is planned for the southern end of the plaza. Ms. Lehane added that the Port Commission's Design Review Committee has not yet reviewed or approved the design.

    Ms. Lehane explained that there was a publicly advertised RFP for this project, as well as an independent committee to review and select the artists (Ms. Lehane was an advisory member of the committee). Originally, the group hired Donna Graves, a public art consultant, to serve as Project Manager. But, because of other personal commitments, Ms. Graves recommended Regina Almaguer, another public art consultant, to take her place. Ms. Lehane announced that Ms. Almaguer, Linda Lustig of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade Memorial Committee, Dave Smith, a veteran of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade, and artists Ann Chamberlain and Walter Hood were all at the meeting today. Ms. Lehane reminded the Commissioners that the purpose of today's presentation was purely informational, and that this would be the appropriate time to ask questions and raise issues.

    Ms. Lustig remarked that she was honored and thrilled that the process for this memorial had gotten this far. She said that her hope was that this tribute to the Abraham Lincoln Brigade examined the past while looking to the future. Ms. Lustig introduced artists Ann Chamberlain and Walter Hood.

    Ms. Chamberlain began by saying that she and Mr. Hood are currently involved in the process of research and design. She said how she and Mr. Hood attended several meetings and fundraisers of the Brigade where they learned of the association's history and heard their songs. Ms. Chamberlain explained how certain songs are central to the history of the Brigade. Ideally, the memorial will include visual and oral components, featuring songs, photos, and written documentation of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade. Ms. Chamberlain also said how she was interested to learn of the strong connection between the Longshoreman of San Francisco and the Abraham Lincoln Brigade.

    Mr. Hood explained how Harry Bridges Plaza, the proposed site for the tribute, is an open, paved area bounded by traffic and public transport on all sides. Mr. Hood said that the artists' goal for the memorial is to create a place for people to stop for a moment to remember the Brigade and reflect on their own lives. Mr. Hood further explained that the symbolic elements for the memorial are red earth (actually pulverized red granite) and an olive tree. The memorial will also feature east and west facing walls with text and images, a sound system that will play songs from the Brigade, a low stone seat wall, and an ochre colored podium. Mr. Hood added that he and Ms. Chamberlain would like to feature quotes about the Brigade by famous writers, citizens, and veterans of the Brigade. He also said that the San Francisco Mime Troupe has agreed to sing and record the songs of the Brigade to be broadcast at the memorial. Mr. Hood then opened the presentation up for questions from the Commissioners.

    Commissioner Stermer asked if it would be possible to recess the red granite paving one level from the ground. Mr. Hood replied that because of ADA restrictions, the paving had to be flush with the surrounding pavement. Mr. Hood did think that a wider, flat edge would provide an effective transition to the red paving. In response to a question by Commissioner Guggenheim regarding the feel and durability of the red granite paving, Mr. Hood responded that it feels like packed dirt, similar to a running track, and that the material is as durable as asphalt.

    Commissioner Stauffacher Solomon felt that the idea of a wall breaks up the open space of the site. Director of Cultural Affairs Richard Newirth added that the original intention of Harry Bridges plaza was that it be user friendly, but it's not. He felt that the proposed memorial would further the original intention of the plaza, and bring people together. Ms. Chamberlain believes that the memorial to the Abraham Lincoln Brigade and the memorial to Harry Bridges will join the plaza in a way that is friendly to pedestrians. Mr. Hood added that he thinks that the wall is necessary because there is so much traffic and action around the plaza. There are already architectural features in the plaza, and that he and Ms. Chamberlain need to find the best place for the wall. Ms. Lehane added that there was concern from the Port that once the Ferry Building opens, the monument should allow for the set-up of different events and use of the space for activities such as sporting events and festivals.

    Commissioner Guggenheim asked if the sound element would be operational all of the time, and Mr. Hood answered that he didn't think it would be. He and Ms. Chamberlain are currently investigating a timer or relay that would be tripped by movement.

    Commissioner Guggenheim said that by mixing images of the labor movement in San Francisco and the Spanish Civil War, he believed that the clarity of the message was lost. Ms. Chamberlain replied that Longshoremen from San Francisco were very involved in the Spanish Civil War, and that there is a strong connection between the two groups. Commissioner Guggenheim suggested that the memorial to the Abraham Lincoln Brigade concentrate on the Spanish Civil War, and that the memorial to Harry Bridges concentrate on the history of the Longshoremen and labor movement in San Francisco. Ms. Chamberlain responded that images and text about the Spanish American War could be featured on one side of the memorial and images and text about the Longshoremen could be featured on the other side. Commissioner Guggenheim said that sounded like a good idea.

    Ms. Lehane concluded the informational report by saying that she has discussed permanency and durability of materials with the artists and others involved in the project. Elements such as the speakers and stainless steel walls are not expected to last a long time, but the basic elements that hold the ideal of the monument such as the olive tree and red earth paving, have a relatively long life expectancy. Ms. Lehane said that given the discrepancy in durability of materials, she still believes that the memorial holds an interesting concept. The Abraham Lincoln Brigade Memorial Committee has given a commitment of ongoing maintenance of the memorial. This memorial will be a gift to the city because it involves a permanent addition to the landscape.

    As a Collections Report, Ms. Lehane announced that money has finally been released for the cleaning of the Dewey Monument, and that even though the carousel is only 95% complete, it will be operational when the zoo reopens on June 28th.

  3. Gallery
    Gallery Director Rupert Jenkins invited the Commissioners to attend a reception for the annual juried exhibition by sight-impaired people hosted by Rose Resnick Lighthouse for the Blind and the Arts Commission in City hall on July 18, 5.30 - 7.30 p.m.

    Mr. Jenkins said that there will be a panel to select artists from the 93 applicants to participate in Construct II, a site-specific exhibition, this Friday and Saturday. Mr. Jenkins invited the Commissioners to sit in on the panel if they wished.

    And finally, Mr. Jenkins explained that there was a motion to approve an honoraria payment of $1,500 to Stephanie Snyder Sakellaris for production costs for Film Show, a catalogue of an exhibition that will travel to Reed College in August.

    The following motion was modified.
    Motion to approve honoraria payment of $1,500 to Stephanie Sekallaris, aka Stephanie Snyder, for the catalog design and essay writing - Film Show.
    Moved: Stermer/Stauffacher Solomon

  4. North Beach Pool Project
    Judy Moran reported for Project Manager Nina Dunbar who is on vacation. Ms. Moran began the report by giving background information. North Beach Pool is a Recreation and Park Department facility located on Lombard Street between Powell and Mason. In 1998 DPW started a renovation project to stabilize the pool itself and make seismic and ADA upgrades. Ms. Moran reminded the commissioners that artist Vicki Saulls' competition design for the renovation of the pool was approved by the Arts Commission in 1999. Her $32,000 contract included producing a sculpture installation in the pool lobby, providing an entry sculpture, signage and custom-designed metal window grills for the pool's Lombard Street façade. Ms. Moran said that Ms. Saulls was a third of the way complete with her fabrication work when the renovation was put on hold due to community concerns over the scope of the architectural renovations. Paulette Taggert Architects was assigned to revisit the design and work with the artist in re-siting her project. Ultimately, Saulls was able to revise and relocate her interior work. Due to major changes in the building's Lombard Street façade, the exterior concepts were abandoned and a new work developed proposed for a door facing the Joe DiMaggio/North Beach Playground.

    Ms. Moran went on to explain that the revised concept for the interior work would be cast faces of North Beach pool swimmers. The faces would be cast using polymer-modified fiber-reinforced gypsum, with integral color, sealant, and anti graffiti coating. The cast faces would be mounted to the natatorium's multi-colored tile wall immediately to the left of the glass entry doors. Ms. Moran said that in addition to the revised location, the works will be colored and integrated into the architect's 1" x 1" color tiles. Ms. Saulls proposes to alter the specified tiles immediately around the sculptures to subtly introduce an additional tile color in a darker shade of green.

    Ms. Moran said that the revised concept for the exterior work was a 9' square sliding door to the playground restrooms. Ms. Saulls will provide the steel doorframe built to the architect's specifications. The frame will be clad in cold-cast aluminum sculptural relief depicting a stylized topographical representation of the North Beach neighborhood.

    Commission Stauffacher Solomon said that she preferred that the tile pattern be all light green in color. She felt that it would be more elegant and subtle if the wall were all one color. Commissioner Stermer agreed with Commissioner Stauffacher Solomon, but added that from far away, the multi-colored tile wall might melt into one color. Commissioner Guggenheim elected to defer comment on this subject to the other Commissioners.

    Ms. Moran said that she would pass along Commissioner Stauffacher Solomon and Commissioner Stermer's comments to the project architect, and reminded everyone that the choice of tiles was not under the Arts Commission's jurisdiction. Commissioner Stermer concluded by saying that Ms. Saulls had done a wonderful job, especially in the redesign.

    Motion: Motion to approve artist Vicki Saull's revised design concepts for North Beach Pool and the adjoining Recreation Center.
    Moved: Stermer/Stauffacher Solomon

    Motion: Motion to authorize the Director of Cultural Affairs to increase Vicki Saull's existing contract with City (CT280PUB4312) by $32,000 in new Art Enrichment funds generated by the facility's new capital improvement budget, so that she can fabricate and install the designs approved above.
    Moved: Stermer/Stauffacher Solomon

  5. Airport
    Project Manager Susan Pontious reported that Ying and Yang, a sculpture by the late Robert Arneson, is finished and currently in storage at Atthowe Fine Art Storage in Oakland. Ms. Pontious said that unfortunately, after the events of September 11, 2001, the Airport feels that Arneson's images are reminiscent of severed heads and would be inappropriate for the airport setting. The Airport has formally denied a building permit to install Arneson's sculpture on site.

    Public Art Program Director Jill Manton suggested that instead of paying for storage, the sculpture should be displayed in another prominent public location. Ms. Manton said that of course the Airport would need to approve re-siting of the work, but Ms. Pontious did not feel that would be a problem. As suggested by Ms. Manton, Ms. Pontious, and Commissioner Stermer, some possible public locations for the siting of the artwork were Civic Center Plaza, the War Memorial plaza, the gardens at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, and/or long-term loans to either the de Young's sculpture garden or the grounds of the Legion of Honor.

    Ms. Manton said that she would like to talk to Mr. Newirth, as well as with a publicist, to come up with plan of action so that a valuable artwork is not kept in permanent storage.

    Next, Ms. Pontious read a list of potential jurors and their qualifications and experience for the selection of a sculpture for Boarding Area C at the San Francisco Airport. The list of potential jurors includes Karen Tsjimoto, Steven Nash, Lizzette LeFalle-Collins, Janet Bishop, Jim Melchert, and Connie Lewallen.

    Motion: Motion to approve the following pool for potential jurors for the selection of sculpture for Boarding Area C: Karen Tsujmoto, Steven Nash, Lizzette LeFalle-Collins, Janet Bishop, Jim Melchert, and Connie Lewallen.
    Moved: Stermer/Stauffacher Solomon

  6. Laguna Honda Hospital
    Ms. Pontious reported that the landscape plan at the remodeled Laguna Honda Hospital, with its formal courtyards, is an obvious site for sculpture. The landscape architect has designed the gardens with places for landscape sculpture, and there is money available for five commissions between $30,000 and $50,000.

    Motion: Motion to approve a new project: 5 landscape sculptures with budgets between $30,000 and $50,000.
    Moved: Stauffacher Solomon/Stermer

  7. New Business

  8. Old Business
    As an item of old business, Ms. Manton provided a report on the Diller & Scofidio project at Moscone Center. Ms. Manton said that because Moscone expanded the project, the 2% originally negotiated is now lower than 2% of the new budget. She plans to ask for more money from Moscone Center to cover video production, which entails renting warehouses, hiring crew, and animation production. Ms. Manton said the artists have attempted to get a lower price on this phase of the project, but it is just not possible.

    Also, Ms. Manton added that sales tax was something that was not considered at the initial phase of the project, because it was assumed that an exemption could be granted. Ms. Manton will still try to pursue the exemption, but if it's not possible, that figure could be as high as $75,000, and will come out of the original artwork budget. Ms. Manton also added that $20,000 was paid to Mitsubishi for initial design services before it was determined that Mitsubishi would not be involved in the project. Ms. Manton said that she is certain that she will have to request additional funds from Moscone, but at this time, she does not know the extent of her request.

    Commissioner Guggenheim suggested that she maintain a 10-15% contingency. Ms. Manton said that she is still holding a contingency, but is not sure if she should draw on it yet.

  9. Adjournment

    As there was no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 4:30 p.m.

    Submitted by Anna Kvinsland, Public Art Program Assistant

    Approved by Richard Newirth, Director of Cultural Affairs, 7/17/02



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