City and County of San FranciscoSan Francisco Arts Commission

Wednesday, November 20, 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.

Public comment in regard to specific items will be taken before or during consideration of the item.

The ringing of and use of cell phones, pagers and similar sound-producing electronic devices are prohibited at this meeting. Please be advised that the Chair may order the removal from the meeting room of any person(s) responsible for the ringing or use of a cell phone, pager, or other similar sound producing electronic devices.


Commissioners Present

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


Staff Present

Richard Newirth, Director of Cultural Affairs; Nina Dunbar, Rupert Jenkins, Anna Kvinsland, Debra Lehane, Jennifer Lovvorn, Tonia Macneil, Jill Manton, Judy Moran, Susan Pontious, Kristen Zaremba.

Note: All votes are unanimous unless recorded otherwise.

The meeting commenced at 3:05 p.m.

  1. Consent
    1. Motion to authorize the Director of Cultural Affairs to enter into contract with Levy Design Partners in the amount of $9,500 for consultation during the fabrication and installation of artworks integrated into the platforms of the Third Street Light Rail Project.
    2. Motion to authorize the placement of $40,000 in art enrichment funds from the Public Utilities Commission La Grande Tank Replacement Project on reserve for future use at other PUC facilities or sites determined to be mutually agreeable to both the San Francisco Arts Commission and the PUC.
    3. Motion to redirect $2,000 in art enrichment funding from the Recreation and Park Department's Bison Paddock Renovation for use by the Civic Art Collection Program.
    4. Motion to authorize the Director of Cultural Affairs to enter into contract with structural engineer Robert Bailey for construction drawings for the Portals of the Past in Golden Gate Park for an amount not to exceed $17,500.
    5. Motion to accept into the Civic Art Collection with gratitude two bronze sculptures by Jonathan Beery titled "Leatherback Sea Turtle" and "The Pink Short-Spined Starfish" 2002 for the Moscone Playground gifted by Friends of Moscone Park and Recreation Center.

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

  2. Gallery
    Gallery Director Rupert Jenkins reported that the fundraiser for the gallery held on November 8 at LINC Real Art was well attended and a financial success. The event not only raised $7,000 after expenses but was also a good party. The amount brought in slightly exceeded the fundraising goal and will go to fund the 2003 "Construct" exhibition plus miscellaneous program expenses. Mr. Jenkins reported that the high and mid-priced boxes have sold out, but they still have some of the lower-priced boxes that will raise additional income over time. Those boxes will be on display at the next exhibition and they are making a second push to sell them.

    Mr. Jenkins also announced the upcoming exhibition at the 155 Grove Street window space: "Love Me, Inside and Out," an installation by Marina Vendrell. The show runs from November 22 - December 30, 2002. Mr. Jenkins encouraged everyone to come by and see this show.

  3. Collections
    Civic Art Collections Director Debra Lehane welcomed Barbara Wenger of the Hayes Valley Neighborhood Parks Group. Ms. Wenger came to present a community project for Koshland Park. Ms. Lehane explained that the tile mural that this group is proposing is to become a gift to the city. This project is funded by grants from the San Francisco Foundation and the Mayor's Neighborhood Beautification Fund. The tile mural will be located at Koshland Park in the Western Addition. Ms. Wenger said that the retaining walls at Koshland Park are being renovated and that after that work is completed in February 2003, work can begin to prepare the wall for the mural. Ms. Wenger introduced Justine Tatarsky, an artist who has been invited by the Hayes Valley Neighborhood Parks Group to facilitate and design the community based mural project.

    Ms. Tatarsky presented a scale model for the proposed tile mural entitled "The Peace Wall" to be installed on the retaining walls that span the length of Koshland Park on both Page Street and Buchanan Street. Ms. Tatarsky explained that over the past four years she has been conducting workshops at local schools and at other community centers where neighborhood participants have explored their emotions and painted over 1,300 tiles. Her role now is to take those tiles and create a unifying design.

    Ms. Tatarsky gave a detailed description of the scale model showing how the tiles would be laid out in discrete panels. Due to the grade of Page Street, the panels would be placed at intervals that remain at a constant eye-level. Ms. Tatarsky explained that wave shapes made from beige tones of stucco would be applied to the wall and act as a backdrop in order to integrate and unify the tile panels.

    After Ms. Tatarsky's presentation, Ms. Lehane asked the Commissioners for feedback. Commissioner Barbara Stauffacher Solomon said that the tiles look wonderful but felt that a more random pattern for the layout would look better and that there could even be areas of blank wall. Commissioner Ralph Guggenheim said that Ms. Tatarsky's tiles and the communities tiles work well together, but he stated that what gives him pause is the stair-step nature of the layout. Mr. Guggenheim would prefer that the layout be more scattered. Commissioner Dugald Stermer expressed concern about the various colors of stucco and the use of text. Mr. Stermer felt that the stucco should be one color (preferably white) and that the imagery should speak for itself and therefore need minimal text. Commissioner Dede Wilsey also stated that the various colors of stucco and the panels made the wall look too visually complicated.

    The Commissioners asked to see another visual presentation by the artist before they can approve the design concept for Koshland Park Peace Wall. That new design should incorporated the following recommendations: that the stucco be one color, that the community tiles be grouped more irregularly and randomly, and that the text be simplified and located in only one area.

    Project Update
    Ms. Lehane reported that she had received a call from Gerry Crowley of the Telegraph Hill Dwellers concerning their meeting of November 12. Ms. Lehane had forwarded emails concerning the THD's position on the proposed Emperor Norton Statue to Commissioners Stermer and Guggenheim and Director Newirth. Due to the divided community, the THD chose not to take a position on the proposal, but passed a motion encouraging the project sponsors to work with the Committee working to improve Kearney Street steps to find an alternative memorial to Peter Macchiarini.

    Ms. Lehane also reported that the scaffolding is down from the Dewey Monument and that work is almost complete. Ms. Lehane added that the Garfield project is almost complete, that the Haring sculpture was washed and waxed, and that McKinley is having graffiti removed.

  4. Branch Library Improvement Program
    Project Manager Judy Moran presented the artwork proposal by artist Vince Koloski for the renovated Richmond Library, as recommended by the Richmond Branch Community Artist Selection Committee. Ms. Moran described that the artist is proposing to make a light sculpture that resembles the pages from a book. These pages are Plexiglas panels that have text and images etched into their surface. Various bright color LEDs are connected to the edges of the panels and illuminate the text and images. Ms. Moran showed drawings of the proposed artwork as it would be installed in the library. These drawings show a number of etched panels connected together to form a band of alternating colors along the wall just below the ceiling. Ms. Moran expressed that this design is in keeping with the librarian's desire for a high-tech look.

    Commissioner Ralph Guggenheim commented that the color choices were a bit garish and wondered if they are meant to be so bright. Ms. Moran explained that this color choice was important and that they needed to be bright so that they could be seen from a distance. Ms. Moran pointed out that if the colors were subtle, they would go unnoticed. Ms. Moran showed a scaled down example of the Plexiglas panels with the LED turned on. Commissioner Dede Wilsey stated that she loves what happens to the light as it dissipates.

    Motion: Motion to approve the artwork proposal of an illuminated book wall sculpture by artist Vince Koloski for the renovated Richmond Branch Library, as recommended by the Richmond Branch Community Artist Selection Committee.
    Moved: Stermer/Solomon

    Motion: Motion to authorize the Director of Cultural Affairs to enter into contract with artist Vince Koloski for Final Design, Fabrication, Transportation and Installation of an artwork for the renovated Richmond Branch Library in the amount of $36,000.
    Moved: Wilsey/Stermer

  5. Art on Market Street Temporary Projects
    Project Manager Judy Moran reported on the proposed revitalization of the Temporary Projects Program for Market Street. Ms. Moran stated that the Temporary Projects Program ran from 1992 - 1998 when it terminated because PUC funds were expended. Ms. Moran said that because there are funds accumulated over time from various sources, this program could be initiated again to include 2 to 3 temporary projects a year for a total amount not to exceed $35,000.

    Ms. Moran continued her report with a slide presentation of past Market Street Temporary Projects commissions and gave background details. Ms. Moran showed slides of the following projects: 1. A performance called "Crossroads" done by the artist-group Contraband. Ms. Moran explained that Contraband made multiple performances which occurred at the exits of a number of BART/MUNI stations; 2. A project called "Job Security" where the artists set up desks along Market Street that resembled corporate work stations; and 3. The Zaccho Dance Company project where dancers propelled themselves in an aerial dance off the facade of the Ferry Building Clock Tower. It was noted by both Jill Manton and Richard Newirth that this project received great publicity, but that the Arts Commission was not credited. Ms. Moran then showed a slide of the project "What is the Difference Between Stripping and Playing the Violin." Richard Newirth noted that this project provoked questions from the press about the use of public funds. Finally, Ms. Moran passed around a copy of the book "Cento" that was created by Susan Schwartzenberg as part of the Temporary Project program. It was noted by both Jill Manton and Richard Newirth that this project was incredibly well publicized and that the books, which were free to the public, went quickly. Ms. Moran noted that Susan Schwartzenberg would like to reprint this book.

    Commissioner Dede Wilsey stated that the Arts Commission needs to get publicity for these projects. Commissioner Wilsey also inquired whether the Arts Commission could give away the posters from the Market Street Art in Transit Program. Both Jill Manton and Judy Moran stated that the posters are too costly to be given away, and that staff endeavor to sell used posters at a reduced cost to increase program revenue.

    Explanatory Document: Staff Report

    Motion: Motion to resume the Art on Market Street Temporary Projects program for 2003, to include 2 to 3 temporary projects for a total amount not to exceed $35,000.
    Moved: Solomon/Stermer

  6. Minnie and Lovie Ward Recreation Center
    Project Manager Tonia Macneil reported that the selection panel met, but did not reach consensus regarding the final selection of an artist. Ms. Macneil added that the panel was split and decided on two finalists who will be invited to submit revised proposals. Ms. Macneil noted that these finalists will be given $150. each for reworking their proposals.

    The following motion was removed.
    Motion: Motion to approve the Selection Panel recommendation of the proposal by (artist to be named at the meeting) to create a work for art for the Minnie and Lovie Ward Recreation Center.

    The following motion was removed.
    Motion: Motion to authorize the Director of Cultural Affairs to enter into contract with (artist to be named at meeting) to complete design development, fabricate, transport and install a work of art for the Minnie and Lovie Ward Recreation Center, for an amount not to exceed $115,000.

  7. Moscone Center Expansion Project
    Public Art Program Director Jill Manton reported on the status of the Diller + Scofidio Project. Ms. Manton passed around a copy of the impressive brief that the city attorney prepared relative to our assertion that the Arts Commission should not have to pay sales tax on the purchase of the LED screen for the Moscone Project. In accordance with section 6596 of the State Tax Code, this section relieves local governments of the burden of paying sales tax when purchasing artwork for public display. Ms. Manton noted that approximately $80,000 is at stake. Ms. Manton reported that the brief has gone to the State Board of Equalization and that if they disagree, the city attorney may agree to staff's request to appeal the decision in court. Ms. Manton said that the Arts Commission should get a response within 30 days. Commissioner Dugald Stermer commented that if this does go to court, it could set a precedent.

    Ms. Manton gave an update on the use of materials in the piece. There will be polycarbonate plastic at the rear of the LED screen so that the electronic activity can be seen interspersed with the letters of the scrolling alphanumeric text.

    Ms. Manton also gave an update on the production. The video shoots have been completed. Diller + Scofidio have a variety of vignettes for which they interviewed 250 actors: 23 hotel vignettes, 23 night scenes, and 50 close-ups. Ms. Manton reported that the artists are in post-production, and they will be able to present the video soon. Ms. Manton added that the New York Times recently covered one of their projects.

  8. New Projects / Recreation and Park Bond Projects
    Public Art Program Director Jill Manton began her discussion of approaches to the Recreation and Park Bond Projects by stating that there are 15 to 20 new recreation and park projects. Ms. Manton noted that within the last couple of months alone there are 12 new projects. The Recreation and Park Bond is for $400,000,000. Of this money, not all costs or projects will be eligible for art enrichment, however there will be significant funding for art enrichment. In response to this increase in projects, the Arts Commission needs to develop new approaches that will streamline administrative processes. Ms. Manton also noted that if the Public Art Program cannot move quickly to initiate new projects and select artists, it will lose the opportunity to get involved early in the planning and design process, thus limiting art opportunities.

    Ms. Manton listed a number of possible new approaches to help deal with this increase in projects. One idea is that the Public Art Program consider not managing projects with budgets less than $50,000 which might mean combining the art enrichment generated by several small projects into one project site with a total budget of at least $50,000. Another idea is to evaluate what works and what doesn't work in terms of the current procedures. Staff might also consider predetermining the site for artworks, for example, staff might recommend that all new projects with budgets of $25,000 or less will receive a decorative gate. One artist might be assigned three or four park sites, with the mandate to work with the community in each to develop a unique and appropriate gate design. This would save the Arts Commission administrative time by not having to find three artists to produce three different gates. Ms. Manton stated that it is the large number of small projects which really overwhelms the staff. She also spoke about the Commission and staff exercising their professional expertise by curating a selection of artists, instead of conducting public competitions for each project.

    Commissioners Barbara Stauffacher Solomon and Dugald Stermer liked the idea of combining smaller projects to have a more substantial project and contracting with one artist for these bundled projects. They wondered what the drawback to this approach would be. Ms. Manton stated that the community might feel that the city is dictating what sort of work ends up in their neighborhood instead of having the public more involved in the decision-making process, as is currently the practice.

  9. New Business
    Project Manager Susan Pontious reported that on a recent tour of the Airport Rapid Transit Station at the San Francisco Airport, a BART official was able to reach the Ned Kahn piece and received a small cut on his finger. Ms. Pontious presented slides of the finished work. The piece is made up of tiles that have small metallic disks (similar in size to a quarter) hanging off them. These tiles cover the walls of a circular passage that the escalator passes through. Ms. Pontious stated that the problem is that the disk tiles are reachable from the escalator in certain areas and the concern is that someone may damage the artwork and/or receive a small cut on the hand. Ms. Pontious showed a diagram of the tiles and explained that there are 272 tiles reachable by a 6' person. Ms. Pontious stated that these 272 tiles could be replaced with tiles that have thicker disks. Ms. Pontious passed around a sample of the thicker disk and noted that they cannot cause paper cuts and that they are not easily bent. Ms. Pontious reported that the cost to replace all these tiles is $30,000, although she was not certain that all 272 tiles need to be replaced.

    Commissioner Guggenheim asked if it would be better to create a Plexiglas barrier. Ms. Pontious pointed out that the cost would be just as high and it would not look as nice. Ms. Pontious said that there are two issues that need to be addressed: the issue of aesthetics and the issue of liability. Ms. Pontious recommended that they test a small area with the replacement tile to see how it blends in with the original tile. Ms. Pontious noted that although 272 tiles are reachable by a 6' person, only 25 tiles are easily reachable by almost anyone. Ms. Pontious said that the tiles cost $75. each. Ms. Pontious will consult with the city's Risk Manager for his advice and direction. Ms. Pontious stated that the Arts Commission needs to decide whether to replace all 272 tiles or just the 25 easily reached tiles. Commissioner Wilsey said that we need to find out what our liability is legally. Ms. Pontious said that the Arts Commission does need to respond, but that it is a matter of to what degree. Also discussed was the possibility of placing signage that cautioned people not to touch the artwork.

    Motion: Motion to authorize the Director of Cultural Affairs to enter into an agreement with Ned Kahn for the safety retrofit of his artwork at the San Francisco International Airport for an amount not to exceed $30,000.
    Moved: Stermer/Wilsey

  10. Old Business
    As an item of old business, Project Manager Nina Dunbar gave an update on the Union Square project. Ms. Dunbar reported that the lights were delivered but that there was a problem with the electrical component. The fabricator provided a non-regulation electrical junction box that can't be easily fixed. Ms. Dunbar has notified the fabricator and has had the electrical problem cited by a city electrical inspector. Ms. Dunbar said that there are two options for solving this problem. She can either send the light back to the fabricator and they can fix the problem, or she can have the work done here. Ms. Dunbar reported that she is working with an engineer and getting an estimate for the cost to have the repair done here. It is possible that it will cost as much as what is owed to the fabricator. Ms. Dunbar said that the work should be done in time so that the sculpture can be installed by the new year.

    As an additional item of old business, Ms. Dunbar also reported that the handcarved Redwood tree has been successfully installed at the new Moscone West, but it is currently covered up for protection through the duration of construction. Ms. Dunbar has assembled a photo album of this project for anyone who would like to see it.

  11. Adjournment
    As there was no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 4:52 p.m.

    Submitted by Jennifer Lovvorn, Public Art Program Assistant

    Approved by Richard Newirth, Director of Cultural Affairs, 11/26/02



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