City and County of San FranciscoSan Francisco Arts Commission

May 9, 2012

Street Artists Committee - May 9, 2012

Wednesday, May 9, 2012
3:00 p.m.

25 Van Ness Avenue, Suite 70
San Francisco, CA 94102


Commissioner Chew, Chair, called the meeting to order at 3:04 p.m.

1. Roll Call
Commissioners Present:
Greg Chew, Chair
John Calloway
Amy Chuang

Commissioners Absent: Jessica Silverman

Staff present:
Arts Commission Deputy Director Rebekah Krell, Street Artists Program Director Howard Lazar, Street Artists Program Assistant Alyssa Licouris

Commissioner Chew welcomed the Commissioners and Police Officer Walsh acting as the sergeant-at-arms.

2. Discussion. Street Artists Program Director’s Report.

Program Director Lazar reported on the following:

CBS SF Article: On March 26, 2012, an article “Best Places to Find Street Artists in San Francisco” was published by CBS SF. A photo feature highlighted street artists Jill Gustafson, Chiyori Filion, A.B. Petrow, Bo Bixler, Sheila Taylor-Hill, Rebecca Wolford, William Tumath, Michael Borofka, Mara Murray, Jackie Boutin and Sue Phelan, Emilio Sotelo, Mandi Stillwell, Sureyya Ozsoy, Tania Echegaray, John Ammann, Anne Dal Pozzo, and Diana Samuelson.

6 Spaces on Market Street, Spear to Steuart streets:
On March 24, 2012, the Board of Supervisors approved the Arts Commission’s request for 6 additional street artists spaces on Market Street, Spear to Steuart streets.

2 Spaces on Post Street: On May 7, 2012, the Land Use Committee approved a recommendation to the full Board of Supervisors for approval of re-designation of the 2 temporary spaces on Post Street at Stockton Street. The temporary spaces were created due to the adverse impact by the Central Subway project on the 7 spaces on Geary Street.

DPW Mobile Food Facilities Hearing: On April 25, 2012, Mr. Lazar and street artists Tad Sky, Maria Hilius, Debra King and Stephen Phillips spoke at a DPW hearing to voice opposition to an application for a food vendor permit to set up on Market Street, Spear to Steuart streets. Street Artists Mabel Ma and Linda Pedersen were also present at the hearing. Mr. Lazar reported at the hearing that 6 spaces had been approved by the Board of Supervisors the day before in the same location that the mobile vendor wanted. Mr. Lazar recommended that the mobile food vendor move across the street. DPW’s staff was ordered to look into the matter for the hearing officer.

40th Anniversary update:
The full Arts Commission approved a $12,000 budget to be paid by the Arts Commission for it’s Street Artists Program’s 40th anniversary event. Mr. Lazar, Program Assistant Licouris and other Arts Commission staff are working with a design team to create double sided, double pole banners that will be up for 1 year to advertise the street artists marketplaces. Mr. Lazar reported that the Department of Recreation and Parks will be paid next week for a sound amplification permit and a permit to use the entire Justin Herman Plaza. Mr. Lazar said that the event will take place on Saturday, June 30. He reported that Arts Commission President JD Beltran will be opening the ceremony, and the Mayor should be in attendance. Mr. Lazar invited the Street Artists Program Commissioners to the event. He added that double the amount of street artists will be set up for business in the Plaza on the day of the event.

Public Comment:
Tad Sky thanked the Commissioners and Director of Cultural Affairs Tom DeCaigny for helping to advocate and seek funding for the 40th anniversary celebration.

3. Action. Hearing and possible motion to recommend to the Mayor six (6) candidates to fill two (2) vacant positions on the Advisory Committee of Street Artists and Crafts Examiners:
A) Renee de Cossio
B) Ethel Jimenez
C) Toby Klayman
D) Maggie Malloy
E) Jennifer Morningstar
F) Jerry Sierra

Program Director Lazar explained that the Advisory Committee is responsible for screening the wares of applicants and to verify the artwork is created by the applicants. Mr. Lazar stated that while the Advisory Committee is a five person committee, there are currently two vacancies. By law, Mr. Lazar said, the Arts Commission must submit three candidates per vacancy to the Mayor. Mr. Lazar expressed his gratitude to Commissioner Chew for helping him interview candidates who showed portfolios and work samples. Mr. Lazar explained that six candidates qualify for the position and he requested a Street Artists Committee recommendation in order to continue the approval process to the full Arts Commission which in turn would then submit the names to the Mayor.

Motion: Motion to recommend to the Mayor six (6) candidates to fill two (2) vacant positions on the Advisory Committee of Street Artists and Crafts Examiners: Renee de Cossio, Ethel Jimenez, Toby Klayman, Maggie Malloy, Jennifer Morningstar, Jerry Sierra.
Moved: Chuang, Calloway

Commissioner Chew called for public comment. There was no public comment.

The motion was unanimously approved.

4. Action. Hearing and possible motion to request Board of Supervisors to designate for six (6) months two (2) street artists spaces on Jefferson Street, south side, at Leavenworth Street.

NOTE: With the elimination of space “L-1” from Leavenworth Street due to creation of an adjacent entrance, staff proposes that 2 spaces be designated around the corner on Jefferson Street.

Mr. Lazar explained that he added the 6-month time frame as the Board of Supervisors is more willing to approve spaces on a temporary basis first to make sure they cause no problems before the Board might ultimately make the spaces permanent.

Mr. Lazar described the history of the Leavenworth spaces. He explained that many artists that use those spaces are portrait artists and caricature artists. Mr. Lazar stated that The Cannery is now owned by the Academy of Art, and a new store, Wharf Garage, has expanded its doorway on the Leavenworth side thus eradicating space “L-1” since it now would be in violation of the doorway regulation.

The Board of Supervisors, Mr. Lazar noted, can exempt a space from such a regulation if the space does not threaten public safety, and the Board has done this for many spaces in the past. With the loss of space “L-1”, “L-2” doesn’t get immediate attention from the public; the artists want to move “L-1” around the corner to the Jefferson side of the store and add a second space. Mr. Lazar said that two spaces could possibly fit in on the sidewalk around the corner from “L-1”. He noted that the proposed spaces would require an exemption and they did not seem to pose a public safety issue.

Mr. Lazar stated that he had spoken to Ms. Rebecca Delgado of the Academy of Art and had received an e-mail from the store owner opposing the placement of any street artist spaces on Jefferson Street. Mr. Lazar said that Ms. Delgago asked for the item to be continued. Mr. Lazar recommended this to the Commissioners so he could have time to make a detailed drawing of the proposal. Mr. Lazar asked the Commissioners to discuss the matter even if no motion is made.

Commissioner Chew agreed that there was not enough evidence to make a decision, and he asked for a better map to get a clearer picture of the area in question.

Commissioner Calloway requested photographs of the area to better understand the question.

In answer to a question by Commissioner Chew, Mr. Lazar stated that, although there are other spaces on Leavenworth Street, only the first 3 or 4 spaces are viable since the rest of the spaces are far removed from the main stream of traffic.

Public Comment:
Street Artist Drew Flores explained that he spoke with the store owner, David Berbery, and that Mr. Berbery had not had a problem with the proposal. Mr. Flores explained that if Mr. Berbery is now worried about congestion, there had previously been street artists spaces in that same proposed spot many years ago. Mr. Flores reiterated the vital importance of “L-1” since it always lured the public into the other spaces on Leavenworth Street. Mr. Flores explained that although there is a short distance between “L-1” and “L-2”, the amount of money that can be made at “L-1” is a significant difference than that at “L-2”.

Commissioner Calloway questioned whether “L-1” could be re-designated. Mr. Lazar responded that it could be re-designated only by exemption from the doorway regulation.

Mr. Flores said that Mr. Berbery had wanted to work with the street artists but had not wanted “L-1” to block the doorway.

Mr. Lazar answered a question by Commissioner Calloway about the visibility and viability of the proposed spaces. Mr Lazar stated that the street artists would be able to take advantage of the high volume of traffic that is on Jefferson Street around the corner from “L-1”.

Commissioner Calloway asked Mr. Flores about the number of artists using Leavenworth spaces.

Street Artist Brian Hopper stated that the 8 ft x 10 ft doorway was finished for the store on March 17. He had spoken to Mr. Berbery and recommended that he speak to Mr. Lazar. Mr. Hopper also emphasized the importance of “L-1” versus “L-2” saying it was “like night and day”; the other Leavenworth spaces are blocked by trees and the public cannot see them.

Rebecca Delgado, representative from Academy of Art, stated that her organization did not want to object to the activities of the artists but to express its concern about the safety of those people in the area. She noted that the proposed spaces would not be within the City guidelines.

Ms. Delgado presented the Commissioners with a packet of photos of Jefferson Street as evidence of her organization’s concerns and showing the narrowness of the Jefferson Street sidewalk.

Ms. Delgado pointed out that the proposed street artist space 25 feet down Jefferson Street would not be in compliance with City guidelines and explained how it would block emergency exit doors, not meet the entrance requirement and would be in violation of sprinkler inlet and foot traffic restrictions.

Mr. Lazar noted that the distance-from-doorway regulation was changed from 12 feet to 10 feet.

Ms. Delgado explained that the sidewalk on Jefferson Street becomes more narrow and, with a high volume of pedestrian traffic, there would be a safety issue if a street artist space was present.

Ms. Delgado suggested that the street artists continue to use the current Leavenworth spaces instead of the proposed spaces.

Ms. Delgado said that after hearing about the proposal for a space on the corner of Jefferson and Leavenworth streets she would consider the space and go back to that site to see if that would be a viable option.

Mr. Lazar explained that the street artists used to have a space called “J-9” on that same corner of Jefferson and Leavenworth streets. Mr. Lazar stated that the Street Artists Ordinance does not have regulations regarding blocking windows and that that location could be a possible option since it is not blocking a major window of the store. Mr. Lazar said the street artists would be at the curb and not directly in front of the window which is already obstructed by trees.

There was discussion about the placement of the proposed spaces on the corner of Jefferson and Leavenworth streets and the Commissioners noted that there are currently spaces on Jefferson Street down the block.

Mr. Lazar suggested that he meet with Mr. Berbery, Ms. Delgado, and the street artists to work out an agreement of the placement of the proposed spaces and explained the process of getting the spaces approved.

Commissioner Calloway recommended speeding up the process to which Mr. Lazar suggested submitting the proposal to the June 4 full Arts Commission meeting, and the Commissioners agreed.

Motion: Motion to issue a continuance for item #4.
Moved: Calloway, Chew

Public Comment:
Street Artist Tad Sky stated that he used to sell in “J-9” when it existed, there was never an issue with pedestrian safety, and he never saw anyone come out of the fire door. Mr. Sky suggested that the best solution is to work with the store owner. He noted that cafés on Jefferson have taken up the whole sidewalk, so an exception for street artists should be appropriate. Also the Academy of Art, in his opinion, should want to promote artists. Mr. Sky also noted that old “J-9” helped funnel pedestrians towards the doorway and windows of the stores.

Street Artist Maria Hilius suggested that street artists set-up in the proposed spaces for Jefferson Street as a trial and take pictures to see how they would fit on the sidewalk.

The motion was unanimously approved.

5. Discussion. Public Comment.

Street Artist Tad Sky submitted possible locations around the city for the 40th anniversary banners which he has scouted out. Mr. Sky stated that it would be better to have the banners near the spaces rather than having them in areas like Lombard Street or Van Ness Avenue since they would be too isolated and wouldn’t have as much of an impact.

There was no further public comment.

6. Discussion. New Business and Announcements.

There was no further new business or announcements.

There was no public comment.

7. Action. Adjournment.

There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 3:59 p.m.

Respectfully submitted by:
Alyssa Licouris, Street Artists Program Assistant

Minutes approved by:
Howard Lazar, Street Artists Program Director

ADL 5/17/12

An audio recording of this meeting is available online at the following address:

Additional Explanatory documents submitted by the public at the meeting: Item #4: Photo packet/evidence by Rebecca Delgado; Item #5: Proposed 40th Anniversary Banner Locations by Tad Sky.