City and County of San FranciscoSan Francisco Arts Commission

January 21, 2003

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:
Stanlee Gatti, Ralph Guggenheim, Denise Roth
Absent: Andrea Cochran, Janice Mirikitani

Staff Present:
Richard Newirth, Director of Cultural Affairs, Nancy Gonchar, Deputy Director, Rachelle Axel, Jewelle Gomez, Sarah Lenoue, Jenny Louie, Judy Nemzoff


Note: All votes are unanimous unless recorded otherwise.

Commissioner Gatti called the Meeting to order at 4:02 p.m.



  1. Discussion and motion to approve change in Organizational Project Grants category to offer multi-year funding

    Cultural Equity Program Director, Jewelle Gomez introduced this motion as an effort to reduce the number of panel dates, use staff hours more efficiently, while allowing the applicant pool to increase for the Organization Project Grants (OPG's). OPG's are Cultural Equity's largest category, with about 100 applications received each year. Eligible groups would be offered the opportunity to be approved for repeat projects for up to two years. This multi-year option would be available for organizations with strong track records of a recurring activity such as festivals, home season or other on-going series of programs, and are in good standing with the Commission. Panels could choose to fund organizations for one or two years.

    In response to a question from Commissioner Gatti, Ms. Gomez explained that the panel would determine who gets multi-year funding based on the merit of the project and that CEG staff would determine whether an applicant was eligible or not. Commissioner Roth asked if this would take extra time and Commissioner Guggenheim responded that it may take a bit more or the same amount of time the first year but next year less since there would be fewer applications. Commissioner Gatti pointed out that the first year would be a trial after which CEG could evaluate the success of multi-year funding. Ms. Gomez stated that during the first year, grantees have to submit documentation showing successful completion of the first year of the project before the second year of funding would be issued.

    She also noted that CEG already offered multi-year grants with a 3-year grant for development initiatives. Multi-year grants would free up space for new applicants, as there will be fewer applicants returning each year. It was her hope that half of CEG's constituency will apply for multi-year funding.

    Commissioner Gatti expressed concern that the quality of work might be compromised since organizations would not have to document the success of programs each year. Ms. Gomez said documentation would be maintained through the reporting systems that are in place along with the addition of staff attending events, making site visits etc. However, if effective guidelines were set, the groups that would be eligible would be strong and the reporting would have the same high standards as currently exist. Commissioner Guggenheim agreed that if the stringent eligibility standards were set in the first year then it would become precedent.

    Ms. Gomez pointed out that if revenue for CEG should change the following year, there will be a corresponding percentage change in an organization's second year grant. Mr. Newirth pointed out that the stipulation should apply only in the case where the budget for the program is decreased rather than simply a percentage change.

    Commissioner Gatti was also concerned that multi-year funding would be bordering on general operating support and wondered what criteria would be used. Ms. Gomez replied that she has had conversations with Grants for the Arts about this issue and had attempted to address it by limiting the amount of administrative costs that the grant could support. Ms. Louie gave the examples of ongoing events such as film festivals and home seasons that were the primary arts activities of organizations, but at the same time distinct arts projects. Ms. Gomez pointed out that not all projects and organizations would be eligible.

    Mr. Newirth suggested that perhaps multi-year funding could be given to smaller organizations that do not receive support from Grants for the Arts to give them the ability to receive funding for consecutive years. Ms. Gomez said that this year CEG will look at who the organizations are that are going to both CEG and GFTA.

    Commissioner Guggenheim felt this funding strategy would also rotate new applicants into the pool. Commissioner Gatti stated that he thought the concept was good and asked if there was anything else within the application that needed to be changed. Commissioner Gatti requested that CEG make the proposed changes and put it to the Full Commission agenda.

    The following motion was continued until the full commission.
    Motion: Discussion and motion to approve change in Organizational Project Grants category to offer multi-year funding.

  2. Review and approve the addition of the following individuals to the Cultural Equity Grants Panel Pool:

    ?Lorraine Garcia-Nakata
    ?Linda Ayers-Fredrick
    ?Rachel Hamilton

    Commissioner Gatti asked about the ratio of men to women in the panel pool. Ms. Gomez said that, as is true of arts management in general, the majority of panelists are women and that CEG is always working on the recruitment of men, particularly men of color. She did point out that the percentage of people of color on the panel has increased by 3 to 5% in the past year and a half.

    Moved: Guggenheim/Roth

  3. Motion to review and approve 28 grants totaling $271,950 in the 2003-04 cycle of the Individual Artist Commissions category in literary, visual and media arts.

    Moved: Roth/Guggenheim

  4. Discussion and motion to approve the FY 2003-04 Street Artists budget submission. Discussion and motion to approve the FY 2003-04 Cultural Equity Grants budget submission.

    Deputy Director Nancy Gonchar stated that the Cultural Equity and Street Artists budget submissions, due in the Budget Office Feb 21st, are much the same as last year. Commissioner Roth was concerned about the elimination of the line item for policed security in the Street Artists budget submission. Ms. Gonchar explained that it was eliminated because the commission has to charge more costs to the programs. Commissioner Roth was concerned that this would eliminate even Christmas security. Ms. Gonchar explained that Street Artists Program Director, Howard Lazar needed to identify and prioritize core services and licensing was more important than security.

    Ms. Gonchar noted that the Mayor's Office had budgeted revenue for the Hotel Tax at current levels but that she had decided to reserve funds in addition to the $74,867 reserved by the Mayor's Office. In the fall the Mayor's Office had to balance a year-end deficit for FY 01-02 and an additional $280,000 was taken from the program budget due to a 29% drop in the Hotel Tax.

    Moved: Guggenheim/Roth

  5. Discussion and motion to approve the Arts Commission FY 2003-04 General Fund budget submission to the Mayor's Office.

    Ms. Gonchar began by reviewing the history of the Hotel Tax Fund allocations for FY 2000-01, FY 2001-02 and the current year budgets to illustrate losses. She also explained reductions in General Fund line items begun in the current year due to directives from the Mayor's Office including a 3% cut. Ms. Gonchar further explained that due to the year-end loss to the CEG and CAE budgets she reserved amounts larger than the Mayor's mandated. In fact the most recent estimates on receipts for the Hotel Tax indicate that more drastic reserves are necessary.

    Ms. Gonchar summarized reports from the Mayor's and Controller's offices that the current budget deficit is estimated at $350,000,000. All departments are expected to absorb the COLA which amounts to $33,472 for the Arts Commission for FY 2003-04. The agency has also been directed to map out a plan for an additional 5% cut ($61,0670) if needed. The budget documents due in the Mayor's and Controller's offices will include a Strategic Planning Memo which will identify the core services of the Arts Commission along with a three year plan.

    Mr. Newirth then spoke to the budget summary as presented to the commissioners and summarized other issues that might affect the budget should additional cuts need to be made.

    He then introduced a larger issue, explaining that over the past ten years the Arts Commission's growth had been dramatic and not reflected by any change in organizational structure. There has also been the great expense of technology, our computer network, for which there has been no general fund support. The growth of the commission has been accommodated by more and more general fund and other expenses being charged back to the programs

    He stated that in light of the recent budget cuts, the Agency is seeking to maintain services and improve efficiency and effectiveness by streamlining the way the Commission is structured. As the first step toward reorganization, this would achieve the initial goal of cutting the general fund by combining CEG and CAE under one umbrella and changing the source of part of Judy's salary to Hotel Tax funds, along with doing some reorganization of support staff.

    The Arts Commission has grown from 17 to 32 in the last ten years, from an agency with a budget of about $2,000,000,000 (two million) to almost $10,000,000,000 (ten million) and has done so reactively rather than through planning. With this growth, he felt the structure of the organization doesn't work any more. Effectively, Mr. Newirth would like to have three umbrella programs: Administration, including Street Artists and public information, Community Arts/Grants and Visual Arts. The intent is to make the change over the next several years. Commissioner Roth asked why over years, why not do this starting now. Mr. Newirth responded that the reorganization should, in his opinion, be phased in organically over time. The proposal is for the reorganization to be in place by July 1st but the change will be reflected in the budget submission in February.

    Commissioner Gatti requested that Mr. Newirth provide a memo for the Full Commission explaining how this will impact the commission. Commissioner's Gatti, Guggenheim, and Roth and all concur that the proposed reorganization is a good solution.

    In closing the discussion of the general fund budget Mr. Newirth expressed his appreciation that the budget office hasn't singled out art as an expendable. They treat us like every other department, he said, while the arts get cut disproportionately on the State level.

    Motion: Discussion and motion to approve the Arts Commission FY 2003-04 General Fund budget submission to the Mayor's Office.

    Moved: Roth/Guggenheim

    The meeting adjourned at 5:27 p.m.


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

    January 28, 2003


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