City and County of San FranciscoSan Francisco Arts Commission

March 17, 2010

Visual Arts Committee - March 17, 2010


Wednesday, March 17, 2010

3:00 pm

25 Van Ness Avenue, Suite 70


Commissioners Present:
Greg Chew, JD Beltran, Lorraine Garcia-Nakata, PJ Johnston
Barbara Sklar

Staff Present:
Allison Cummings, Jennifer Lovvorn, Jill Manton, Judy Moran, Kate Patterson, Susan Pontious, Genevieve Masse, Eleanor Beaton

Note: All votes are unanimous unless recorded otherwise

  1. Consent Calendar

    1. Motion for the Director of Cultural Affairs to enter into a contractual relationship with Ms. Alyssa Licouris for an honorarium in the amount of $5000. Ms. Licouris will conduct research and provide administrative support for the 40th anniversary exhibition season.

    2. Motion for the Director of Cultural Affairs to enter into a contractual relationship with Mr. Taro Hattori for an honorarium in the amount of $2000, and Ms. Gay Outlaw for an honorarium in the amount of $2000, for the research, development and production of newly commissioned artworks for the San Francisco Arts Commission Gallery's exhibition Now & When opening June 4, 2010.

    3. Motion for the Director of Cultural Affairs to enter into a contractual relationship with the following artists for the research, development and production of newly commissioned artworks for the San Francisco Arts Commission Gallery's exhibition Transplanted opening September 24, 2010: $5000 honorarium to Mr. Primitivo Suarez-Wolfe, $2000 honorarium to Mr. Richard T. Walker, $1000 honorarium to Mr. Pawel Kruk.

    4. Motion for the Director of Cultural Affairs to enter into a contractual relationship with an individual Gwen Kuan-ying Kuo for an honorarium in the amount of $1000. Gwen Kuan-ying Kuo will be the project management intern for the San Francisco Arts Commission Gallery's exhibition Economica: Women and the Global Economy opening June 8, 2010.

    Motion: Approve consent calendar items.
    Moved: Beltran/Chew

  2. Airport
    Public Art Program Director Susan Pontious proposed an increase to artist Janet Echelman’s contract agreement to allow for the purchase of materials for fabrication of her artwork for Terminal Two at San Francisco International Airport. In order to pay the fabricator, Ms. Pontious will need a sole source dedication, and by increasing the contract amount she will be able to accomplish this goal.

    Motion: Motion to authorize the Director of Cultural Affairs to modify the agreement with Janet Echelman, Inc. to increase the agreement by $232,926 for an amount not to exceed $509,626 for the purchase of materials for fabrication of her artwork for San Francisco International Airport.
    Moved: Chew/Beltran

    Motion: Motion to authorize the Director of Cultural Affairs to enter into an agreement with Public Builders for an amount not to exceed $215,000 to fabricate and install the artwork designed by Janet Echelman for Terminal Two at San Francisco International Airport.
    Moved: Beltran/Chew

    Ms. Pontious then discussed possible approaches for a new project for Boarding Area E, which is slated for refurbishment. She explained that there will be some change in the floor plan but not much. The site also has a low ceiling and there is virtually no wall space and no ceiling space, so the art opportunities are limited. By Ms. Pontious’ assessment, the only place to integrate artwork is the terrazzo floor, which is approximately 30’ wide and 800’ long. The art enrichment budget is approximately $250,000. Ms. Pontious will ask the architects to come up with a color palette.


  3. Blue Greenway Signage and Sculpture Projects
    Port of San Francisco Master Planning Project Manager David Beaupre presented the public art opportunities associated with the Blue Greenway project. The Blue Greenway project is made possible with funds from the 2008 Clean and Safe General Obligation Bond, which generated approximately $400,000 in art enrichment funds for public artworks associated with the project. The Port, which is a self-supporting enterprise agency, is a trustee of the land adjacent to San Francisco Bay. As a trustee, the Port is committed to: promoting maritime commerce, navigation and fisheries, protecting natural resources, and attracting public to use and enjoy the waterfront.

    According to Mr. Beaupre, the Blue Greenway is more than a trail; it is a unifying identity for the 13-mile corridor along San Francisco’s southeastern waterfront. The Blue Greenway will link established open spaces; create new recreational opportunities and green infrastructure; provide public access through the implementation of the San Francisco Bay Trail, the San Francisco Bay Area Water Trail, and green corridors to surrounding neighborhoods; install public art and interpretive elements; support stewardship; and advocate for waterfront access as an element of all planning and development processes over time. Public art will play an important role in attracting people to the Blue Greenway project areas, which include: Bayfront Park Shoreline, Pier 70 Crane Cove Park, Warm Water Cove Park, Islais Creek, and Heron’s Head Park.

    In addition to public art opportunities at the various outdoor sites, Mr. Beaupre also proposed that art enrichment funds could be used to integrate art into signage, wayfinding and interpretation along the Blue Greenway. Because the northern waterfront areas have significant public artworks, the Port would like to focus the art enrichment funds on the southern section of the project area for greater equity. Mr. Beaupre is working with Ms. Pontious and Project Manager Eleanor Beaton on how to best allocate and maximize art enrichment funds. The grain silos located at pier 92, which have been abandoned since the 1970s are being considered for a large-scale public art project, possibly using a light element. The silo project would be paid for out of the Port’s discretionary funds, not art enrichment monies. If implemented, a public art project that integrates the silos may provide an attractive gateway to the Bayview district, and may be a destination. Mr. Beaupre emphasized that the Port is committed to working closely with the surrounding neighborhoods, and that the public art competition would be open to the community.

    Commissioner García-Nakata asked about the future of the silos to which Mr. Beaupre replied that they had not been used since the 1970s and that there is a chance that they may be demolished in the future. Commissioner Johnston asked if the silos were on Port property to which Mr. Beaupre replied yes. Commissioner García-Nakata asked whether or not there would be a thorough community process and if so, which groups will the Port target. Ms. Pontious stated that the Arts Commission would work with the shipyard artists and their existing outreach network and Mr. Beaupre added that the Port is currently working with eight different community groups along the Greenway, as well as the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency and resident artists. The Arts Commission and the Port will coordinate its community outreach efforts. Director of Programs Jill Manton added that the public art program team would work with Project Manager Kate Patterson to research additional community groups and artists living or working in the project areas.

    Ms. Manton mentioned that as the port considers whether it would like one large sculpture verses two, the scale of the sculpture should be taken into consideration, because even a very large sculpture might be dwarfed by the magnificent backdrop of the bay and City. She also noted that the scale would have to be consistent and that you would want it to be seen from land or from the sea. Commissioner García-Nakata complemented Mr. Beaupre on the plan and asked about the timeline. Mr. Beaupre said that the Port wants to move quickly on the grain silos and that in a year’s time they would want to start the art enrichment project. Ms. Pontious confirmed that the Public Art staff is comfortable with the timeline; however, the earlier it could start in 2012, the better.

    The Arts Commission’s Public Art Program staff is currently working on a budget for the silo project and brainstorming project ideas with Mr. Beaupre. Both parties are interested in using the maximum amount of space on the silos verses a small area. According to Mr. Beaupre, engineers will do a structural assessment before beginning the project. Commissioner García-Nakata agreed that it would be better to do something all over the structure rather than just on one little square. There was also discussion about designing lighting for the large cranes instead of the silos. Commissioner Johnston asked when a demolition of the silos might occur. Mr. Beaupre said that the demolition would be a multimillion dollar project and in this economic climate, it is not a priority. Commissioner Johnston said that the port just struck a deal with a concrete recycling firm and his concern is that if we do a public art project that might be demolished in 10 years, that the public might get upset and he cited Brian Goggin’s Defenestration, which was supposed to be temporary and is now in the process of being saved because the community likes it. Mr. Beaupre said his commission will have to take that into consideration. Commissioner Johnston expressed his concern about spending money on something that would eventually be taken down.

    Ms. Pontious said that the project would be presented as long term temporary. Ms. Manton stated that if the project goes forward that it would be the largest art project on an unutilized building undertaken in San Francisco. She added that it has the potential to draw an audience and generate revenue for the city, and she cited Olafur Eliasson’s Waterfalls in New York City. Commissioner García-Nakata restated the point of the presentation, which was to put this project on the table and to consider some of these issues and ideas. Mr. Beaupre concurred that this was just the beginning of a long process. Ms. Pontious said that we would present the project again to the Visual Arts Committee at a later date.

  4. Public Art Program Project Administration
    Ms. Pontious gave a report on the impact of small projects on the Public Art Program administrative budget and possible remedies. The impact of small public art projects has recently become a critical issue because public art staff has been cut back and the program also carries the financial burden of the civic art collection. Additionally, accounting requirements have become increasingly difficult and more stringent, which is an added drain on staff time and resources. Ms. Pontious said that we have to start to look at smaller budget projects, especially the Recreation and Parks projects, and determine whether or not they can be undertaken within the program’s means. Ms. Pontious cited a study by a business school graduate student that analyzed the cost of doing a small public art project. In order for the Public Art Program to break even, the administration fee, which is 20% of the total project budget, needs to be at least $20,000. In many instances the total project budgets do not provide for an adequate administration fee.

    Commissioner Johnston stated that he was convinced that projects had become increasingly more expensive and that the pubic art program can no longer sustain its current practice. However, he wanted to know what the impact would be if the public art program could not fulfill the art enrichment ordinance for bond projects. Ms. Manton stated that it would certainly be a political issue, because the Arts Commission would have to decide which facility would get the art enrichment funds. As it stands now, bond projects can either be spent on the site or on other project sites related to the bond. However, with the Recreation and Parks department bonds, the Arts Commission either uses the funds or loses them.

    Ms. Pontious said that either we have to decide which projects we can do or we have to scale the project to the budget. Ms. Pontious and Ms. Manton clarified for Commissioner Beltran that the admin fee is a one time, fixed amount. Ms. Manton said that there is the expectation that the Arts Commission will meet with the community at regular intervals and involve them in the selection and decision-making process. The arts commission does meet with the community during its process; however, it is not enough. The public outreach process absorbs a significant amount of the admin fee and consequently it is breaking the bank of certain projects.

    Commissioner García-Nakata posed whether or not there was a way to establish a more succinct community process and how would the Arts Commission communicate that it is not going to work on certain projects. Ms. Pontious stated that Director of Cultural Affairs Luis R. Cancel was considering putting a moratorium on projects with budgets below $100,000 on the table and was planning on having a discussion with the Recreation and Parks Department about a possible solution for future projects that clearly outlines the public process and project design parameters.

    Commissioner García-Nakata encouraged this plan and for the Arts Commission to have a conversation with the Recreation and Parks department on protocol and setting priorities. Ms. Manton cited the Library Improvement Public Art Projects in which the Arts Commission was allowed to pool funds and divided it among the various sites. Ms. Pontious added that many of the projects are too complex and the staff often has to figure out how to execute them, which adds to the admin costs. A solution would be do simpler projects, like purchasing an artwork that is already extant. Commissioner Johnston expressed his concern that voters might be angry if they found out that their funds were being pooled for another park in a different area. He added that he is not in favor of a moratorium on projects under $100,000. He suggested sitting down with General Manager Phil Ginsberg to discuss projects in the pipeline, to explain their complexities, and to broach the idea of priorities. Commissioner Johnston said that he didn’t think that Arts Commission would be able to raise the 20% fee but that we may be able to cap a portion of the fee on community outreach. He added that the Public Art Program needs to establish hard boundaries when it comes to its public process so that people are aware and know when and how to participate in public meetings. Commissioner García-Nakata added that whatever process is implemented it should be standard procedure.

    Ms. Manton suggested that for that for smaller projects we should state up front that we will identify existing works that are appropriate. Ms. Pontious said that Mission Playground might be a model project to track how a simplified project might be implemented. Commissioner Johnston stated that the reality is that the large portion of the population isn’t in anyway cognizant about how much public art costs or even exists. He thinks they would react negatively if they were told they couldn’t participate in a public process.

    Project Manager Judy Moran made two points: the first was that the art budget is often inadequate for smaller projects, because the cost of material, fabrication and installation is so high. Secondly, she proposed creating a comprehensive plan for a group of projects. She used the Library Improvement Project as an example stating that at the very beginning they created a master plan that outlined how the funds would be allocated and how many community meetings would be held. Ms. Moran added that the public isn’t wedded to a unique artwork for each project. One possible alternative would be to commission one artist to do multiple projects or to purchase an existing work of art. Commissioner García-Nakata concluded that whatever policy is decided that it needs to be clearly communicated to the public.

    Ms. Pontious outlined the next steps, which are as follows: the Public Art Program staff will work with other departments to reach an agreement about how these projects can be restructured (i.e. pooling funds, direct purchase) so that they can be managed within the available administrative and Ms. Pontious would pursue a conversation with the head of the Recreation and Parks Department. Commissioner Johnston stated that he thinks that the Recreation and Parks Department would respond in a positive way to the Arts Commission’s recommendations, but that in general the Visual Arts Committee is not supportive of a moratorium.

  5. Fulton Playground
    Project Manager Jennifer Lovvorn reported on a proposed public art approach for Fulton Playground, which will be implemented in conjunction with park renovations. Ms. Lovvorn met with the Fulton Playground Project Manager to explore possible opportunities for the artwork, and she said that she has been working closely with Ms. Manton and Ms. Pontious to streamline her current Recreation and Parks projects so that they don’t end up costing more than the actual budget. Fulton Playground is a 40,000-square-foot park located on Fulton Street between 27th and 28th avenues. As it stands now, the Playground is a heavily paved site. As part of 2008 Clean and Safe Bond, the Recreation and Parks Department will renovate historic playhouse, removing barriers and increasing use. There are plans to complete a small garden in a corner of the site that will include plantings, pathways, and seating. Ms. Lovvorn and Ms. Pontious think the garden would be an ideal place to install a human-scale sculpture as a focal point in the garden’s central planter. The current art enrichment budget is $51,636, of which approximately $38,000 would go towards the purchase or the commission of an artwork.

    As the Playground plan further develops this garden may be reconsidered. Ms. Pontious and Ms. Lovvorn discussed alternative locations for the sculpture with Recreation and Parks staff and determined that the front of the building would also be an appropriate location. The Recreation and Parks Project Manager and Architect were also interested in an artistic treatment for the fence. However, San Francisco Arts Commission staff is enthusiastic about the possibility of purchasing a sculpture so that it can be a stand alone work of art rather than doing another integrated fence panel. The sculpture selected or purchase would be appropriate for the setting, which is a garden within a playground, and should therefore appeal to children. Ms. Lovvorn proposed that the San Francisco Arts Commission look for artwork that is contemplative, playful and naturalistic. She added that staff would do research at galleries and look for artists who have completed public art projects and find out if they have existing sculptures available for purchase. The sculptures would be presented to the selection panel, which would include an Arts Commissioner, a Recreation and Park Department representative, and two community representatives. Commissioner García-Nakata expressed her happiness in the fact that the city is creating more green spaces.

    Motion: Motion to approve the public art approach for Fulton Playground as detailed in the Fulton Playground Public Art Project Outline.
    Moved: Johnston/Beltran

  6. Tutubi Plaza Art Project
    Project Manager Eleanor Beaton presented on the artist selected by the Tutubi Plaza Art Project Selection Panel. The project scope as given to the San Francisco Arts Commission by the Redevelopment Agency was to transform the plaza into a pedestrian area. The Redevelopment Agency wanted an artist to create an artwork that would cover a 15’x 60’ area. The selected artist will create a camera-ready artwork that can be translated into cement formulated from a patented asphalt-base material. This material has the ability to replicate designs and is being used all over the world. The project contractor will take care of the fabrication elements.

    The selection panel chose artist Jovi Schnell who is a San Francisco resident. The panelists’ comments focused on the artist’s interesting use of shapes, the fact that her work is both playful and cerebral, and that her design would be fun for children in the area to walk through. The Selection Panel chose artist Michael Bartalos as the alternate. Commissioner Chew, who was on the Selection Panel, commented that the selection panel was diverse, but everyone was very enthusiastic about Jovi Schnell.

    Motion: Motion to approve the artist Jovi Schnell and Michael Bartalos as an alternate as recommended by the Tutubi Plaza Selection Panel.
    Moved: Chew/Johnston

    Motion: Motion to authorize the Director of Cultural Affairs to enter into a contract with the selected artist Jovi Schnell as recommended by the Tutubi Plaza Selection Panel for design of artwork for Tutubi Plaza Art Project, in an amount not to exceed $15,000.
    Moved: Beltran/Johnston

  7. Moscone Center West
    Ms. Manton reported on the progress of the retrofit of Facsimile by Diller + Scofidio at Moscone Center West. On March 6, the San Francisco Arts Commission retrofitted the artwork; however, the work is ongoing. Some of the parts that came were different than the construction drawings and consequently modifications had to be made in the field to some of the equipment. It was discovered that an electrical box interfered with the movement of the equipment. There was a full complement of engineers. The San Francisco Arts Commission was successful in replacing the wheel. The bogies were also fixed and guide wheels were added to help regulate the pressure and to keep the system going in straight trajectory. However, it was discovered that the bogie was too tight and, consequently, it does not move. These issues will continue to be resolved. The engineers think they can adjust the bogies. Currently, the project is stuck on Howard Street while its home base is on 4th Street. These issues will continue to be resolved.
  8. Shanghai Sister City Project
    Ms. Manton gave an update on the installation of Three Heads Six Arms by Zhang Huan for the Shanghai Sister City project. Thanks to Commissioner Chew the containers and the shipping were donated. Matson Navigation Company has agreed to cover the cost of shipping door to door. The loan agreement with PaceWildenstein gallery will be executed when the insurance is in place. San Francisco Arts Commission is helping PaceWildenstein procure liability insurance. PaceWildenstein received an estimate for several million because of the City’s policy about putting private property on public land. Ms. Manton said that she is working with someone locally reduce the cost of the insurance by half. The sculpture is scheduled to ship on April 5 and is estimated to arrive in San Francisco on April 25. The Mayor’s Chief of Protocol Matthew Godeau is sending letters on behalf of the Mayor to help expedite the customs paper work. Scott Atthowe has generously donated the administration time associated with the sculpture’s installation. Ms. Manton is currently soliciting other donations include a free plane ticket and hotel accommodations for the artist. Commissioner Chew asked if the sculpture was for sale to which Jill replied yes. The sculpture will be on loan to the city for 1.5 years. Ms. Manton is currently working on securing the permit from the Recreation & Parks Department. Ms. Manton also recently presented the project to the Public Utilities Commission and was granted permission to pay for the sculpture using PUC art enrichment funds. The dedication will be announced in the coming weeks.
  9. 525 Golden Gate Avenue
    Ms. Manton reported on the modified selection methods for the Public Utilities Commission project at 525 Golden Gate Avenue. Artist Ned Kahn was originally selected, but now other projects related to the project site are being considered. Rather than do a call, Ed Herrington is fine with the San Francisco Arts Commission selecting from its 2009 prequalified pool of artists as a money saving strategy. Commissioner Johnston suggested moving the bust of Michael O'Shaughnessy to the site. Ms. Manton said that she agreed and that in addition to that the she would like to develop some kind of interpretation to accompany the bust.
  10. Planning Code, Section 149
    Ms. Manton reported on the first public meeting regarding proposed changes to section 149 of the San Francisco Planning Code. SPUR was not in favor of changing code. Ms. Manton is meeting with Bob Frieze to discuss the issue. Supervisor Bevan Dufty is eager to move it forward. Commissioner Johnston said that Supervisor Dufty has one year left in office, and that he is very supportive of changing the code. He added that if it is not done by Supervisor Dufty it will be done by Deborah Walker.
  11. 11. Pink Clouds
    Ms. Manton reported on the progress of the Pink Cloud project. Through research, the San Francisco Arts Commission found that the project could not be done for $50,000. The project was looking like a minimum of $150,000, which was more than the San Francisco Arts Commission could spend. In addition, the community was not happy with the association, and Supervisor Dufty ultimately decided that he didn’t support the project either. Consequently, the San Francisco Arts Commission will put the project to rest and start a new process to select an artwork for the area sometime in the future.
  12. New Business

  13. Old Business

  14. Adjournment

    KP 3/17/10


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