City and County of San FranciscoSan Francisco Arts Commission

July 20, 2011

Visual Arts Committee - July 20, 2011
Wednesday July 20, 2011
3 p.m.
25 Van Ness Avenue, Suite 70

Commissioners Present: Lorraine Garcia-Nakata, PJ Johnston, Dorka Keehn, Greg Chew.

Commissioners Absent: Barbara Sklar.

Staff Present:
Mary Chou, Allison Cummings, Carol Marie Daniels, Marcus Davies, Jennifer Lovvorn, Kate Patterson, Susan Pontious, Zoë Taleporos.

Note: All votes are unanimous unless recorded otherwise.

The meeting commenced at 3:07 p.m.

1. Consent Calendar

Motion to approve former Civic Design Commissioner Rene Bihan to serve as a panelist for the North Beach Library Artist Selection Panel, to take place in September 2011.

Motion: Motion to approve consent calendar item.
Moved: Keehn/ Chew


2. Director’s Report
Susan Pontious

Program Director Susan Pontious reported that she and other Public Art Program staff had attended the Americans for the Arts Public Art Network (“PAN”) Conference last month in June. She explained that each year PAN distributes the Year in Review awards to the best public art projects in the United States. She announced that three of the San Francisco Arts Commission’s (“SFAC”) projects were selected to receive that award: Three Heads, Six Arms by Zhang Huan; and two separate installations by Owen Smith at Laguna Honda. Ms. Pontious noted some highlights of the conference which included sessions on examining city infrastructures through public art, crafting messages to the media, and a lecture by Penny Balkin Bach from the Fairmont Art Association regarding the afterlife of an artwork.

Ms. Pontious reported on the Board of Supervisors hearing, particularly noting Supervisor David Chiu’s interest in offering San Francisco based artists a significant amount of commissions though the Public Art Program. Ms. Pontious informed the Commissioners that in the last Fiscal Year, the program awarded 55% of projects to San Francisco based artists representing 65% of the budget. She noted however, that the statistics can vary greatly by year due to the wide range of project completion times and budget amounts. Because of this, some years will appear to support San Francisco based artists more than others, but will even out over time. Ms. Pontious noted that the program will continue to support local artists by issuing geographically specific Requests for Qualifications.

Ms. Pontious summarized the past year for the Commissioners noting that the program had completed several large scale projects including San Francisco International Airport Terminal 2 and Laguna Honda. She reported that the Transbay Terminal projects had received approval, the Central Subway artist’s contracts were being finalized, and an artist team had been selected for a Veteran’s Memorial that has been pending for 75 years. Ms. Pontious also noted the achievements of instituting new programs such as ArtCare and Guide by Cell tours. Ms. Pontious stated that the goals for Fiscal Year 2012 will be primarily focused on supporting program infrastructure. She noted upcoming changes that include staff members transitioning to higher positions and a new bookkeeping system that will be implemented in the near future. In addition to these changes, Ms. Pontious stated that this year’s goals will concentrate on the Civic Art Collection and the completion of a full inventory. A temporary position will be created to support this goal. Ms. Pontious reported that the Pubic Art Program will finish the Memorandum of Understanding (“MOU”) with the Public Utilities Commission (“PUC”) and find ways to collaborate with the SFAC’s Community Arts and Education Program (“CAE”) to develop interesting projects. Finally, Ms. Pontious noted that staff aims to update the program’s website and publish online catalogues.

3. SFAC Gallery
Meg Shiffler

Gallery Director Meg Shiffler introduced curator Anthony Torres who presented his work on the project Shared Histories. Ms. Shiffler noted that Mr. Torres had completed the initial stages of research for what was intended to be a larger project. However, Interim Director of Cultural Affairs JD Beltran asked for a reevaluation of the project as a whole. Ms. Shiffler explained that Mr. Torres’ presentation requests the payment of an honorarium of $5,000 for work he has done to date.

Mr. Torres reminded the Commissioners of the original premise of Shared Histories: a city-wide project focused on lost or forgotten Latino artists of the Bay Area, explored through exhibitions hosted by various academic and cultural institutions. Mr. Torres commented that the SFAC Gallery and many other institutions have agreed to participate in the project. Some have already developed exhibition concepts while others are yet to be determined. He added that a brochure or catalog would accompany the project to further demonstrate the overall concept and articulate the various issues addressed. Mr. Torres noted that there was an early concern about the cultural specificity of the exhibition expressed by the Commissioners at a previous Visual Arts Committee (“VAC”) meeting. In order to address that concern, Mr. Torres explained that he broadened the scope of the exhibition’s thesis to include other constituencies of underrepresented artists in the Bay Area.

The Commissioners further discussed the curatorial framework of Shared Histories with Mr. Torres who described his research and his connections made with other institutions. Ms. Shiffler noted that the collaborating institutions are ready to continue developing their exhibition concepts in response to Mr. Torres’ thesis. Commissioner Johnston commented that although the SFAC’s agreement with Mr. Torres has ended, the Commissioners may wish to agendize and vote on entering into a contract with Mr. Torres for him to continue as the curator of Shared Histories. He suggested that SFAC staff and VAC Commissioners meet to discuss the project in the context of all agency activities at a later date.

Motion: Motion to approve an honorarium in the amount of $5,000 to Anthony Torres for curatorial contributions, research and development of the SFAC Gallery exhibition project Shared Histories.
Moved: Chew/Johnston


4. Sterling Park
Tarryn Soderberg

Presentation of Lights on S.F., a proposed temporary light installation at George Sterling Park in Russian Hill.

Motion: Motion to approve Lights on S.F., a temporary light installation at George Sterling Park in Russian Hill.

5. Public Utilities Commission
JD Beltran

Ms. Pontious presented on behalf of Ms. Beltran, the revised MOU with the PUC. Ms. Pontious explained that the PUC’s primary interest lies in funding projects that emphasize community engagement. Ms. Pontious noted that because of this focus, the current version of the MOU allocates 65% of funds to CAE and 35% to the Public Art Program. Ms. Pontious stated that she wished to collaborate with CAE on new projects in ways that effectively combined the strengths of both programs.

6. McClaren Park
Susan Pontious

Ms. Pontious introduced artists Peter Richards and Susan Schwartzenberg who are near completion of their project Philosopher’s Way at McClaren Park. Ms. Schwartzenberg stated that Philosopher’s Way is incorporated into the park’s existing trail systems and is designed to create places of contemplation for walkers. She explained that the project includes many elements: marker stones indicating directions; resting places overlooking views of the city; sign posts with maps and project description; and “landscape musings.” Ms. Schwartzenberg described the “landscape musings” as a collection of site-specific reflections on landscapes taking the form of a quote, narration or image which are laser etched in black granite and installed on markers, signposts, or benches. Ms. Schwartzenberg presented various examples of “landscape musings” that she and Mr. Richards had developed.


Motion: Motion to approve Design Development of graphics package and final design of granite elements for Susan Schwartzenberg and Peter Richard’s Philosopher’s Way at McClaren Park.
Moved: Johnston/Keehn


7. Veteran’s Memorial
Susan Pontious

Update on Memorial Court veteran’s memorial project.

Motion: Motion to approve the Director of Cultural Affairs to enter into design contract (through Construction Documents) with Susan Narduli and Andrea Cochran for an amount not to exceed $250,000 to complete construction documents and design development for a veteran’s memorial at Memorial Court.

8. General Hospital Acute Care Unit: Plaza
Jennifer Lovvorn

Project Manager Jennifer Lovvorn gave an update on Anna Valentina Murch’s plaza project for the General Hospital Acute Care Unit. Ms. Lovvorn reminded Commissioners that at their last meeting they approved the Construction Document Phase of design for this project, which included the final lighting design and project budget. Based on that approval, she requested authorization to modify the artists’ contract, which currently is only for design, to add to the scope of work the implementation phases of the project, which includes fabrication, transportation and consultation during installation of work.

Motion: Motion to authorize the Director of Cultural Affairs to modify the agreement with Anna Valentina Murch to increase the agreement by $575,512 for a total contract amount not to exceed $620,512, to add fabrication, transportation and consultation during installation of artwork to the scope of work for General Hospital Acute Care Unit: Plaza.
Moved: Chew/Johnston


9. SOMA West Skatepark
Mary Chou

Project Manager Mary Chou presented artist Jovi Schnell and her proposal as the one recommended by the Artist Selection Panel for an artwork at SOMA West Skatepark located under the Central Freeway. Ms. Chou reminded the Commissioners that three finalists had been selected to create artwork proposals for the available art opportunities: the freeway columns and underpass; the sound wall; a sculpture element at the park’s entryway; and a fence treatment. Ms. Chou reported that the selection panel was comprised of: Department of Public Works Landscape Architect, Koa Pickering; Exhibitions Program Manager at Southern Exposure, Maysoun WazWaz; community representative Tessa Springer; and Civic Design Commissioner Kimberlee Stryker, who unanimously selected Ms. Schnell as the project artist. Ms. Chou described Ms. Schnell’s artwork proposal which references the Woodward Gardens, an amusement park formerly located near the project site. Ms. Chou explained how the artist translated the aesthetics of Woodward Gardens into strong, graphic imagery with bright colors, incorporating symbolism inspired by celestial imagery and clocks. Ms. Chou noted that the artwork will be painted on the freeway columns and underpass with KEIM silicate paint which has an approximate 50 year life span. Ms. Chou added that this material had been reviewed and approved by Senior Registrar Allison Cummings.

Motion: Motion to approve the artist Jovi Schnell and the artist's proposal as recommended by the Artist Selection Panel for an artwork at the SOMA West Skatepark.
Moved: Johnston/ Chew

Motion: Motion to authorize the Director of Cultural Affairs to enter into a contract with Jovi Schnell for design, fabrication, transportation and installation/consultation during installation of an artwork for SOMA West Skatepark in an amount not to exceed $51,000.
Moved: Chew/Johnston.


10. Palega Recreation Center
Marcus Davies

Project Manager Marcus Davies presented artist Kelly Ording’s tile samples and proposed color palette for an interior mosaic mural at the Palega Recreation Center. Mr. Davies noted that the Artist Selection Panel for this project had recommended the artist with the suggestion that she brighten the color palette demonstrated in her conceptual proposal. He reported that Ms. Ording had been working with Pippa Murray Mosaics to achieve the desired effect. Mr. Davies noted that the primary design elements are enhanced with the new colors and that the artist is pleased with the changes.

Motion: Motion to approve tile samples and proposed color palette for Kelly Ording’s ceramic tile mosaic for the interior of Palega Recreation Center, as proposed by Kelly Ording and Pippa Murray Mosaics.
Moved: Johnston/ Keehn


11. Laguna Honda
Susan Pontious

Ms. Pontious gave an update on several items related to artwork at Laguna Honda. Ms. Pontious stated that Public Art Program staff had been working to complete the two-dimensional artwork program at the hospital. She reminded the Commissioner that approximately 100 two-dimensional artworks were purchased for display, and 31 of those were selected by residents for limited reproductions for patient rooms. Ms. Pontious noted that Magnolia Editions was selected to produce the reproductions, and presented the final artwork proofs. Ms. Pontious explained that a survey was conducted among Laguna Honda residents to indicate the popularity of each image. She stated that this data will inform the eventual print count of each artwork to allow residents to have the image of their choice. In addition to the two-dimensional work already purchased, Ms. Pontious noted that the director of the Laguna Honda cafeteria was interested in purchasing artwork. She explained that if the budget allows for it, the Public Art Program will issue a Request for Proposals and commission an artist to do photographic series at a local farmers market.

Ms. Pontious informed the Commissioners that the sculpture Rabbinoid by Gerald Heffernon, which was recently relocated from Stern Grove to Laguna Honda, had been subject to complaints from hospital residents. She reported that some residents found the sculpture to have racial overtones that were taken as offensive. Ms. Pontious explained how she met with the residents to provide background on the artist’s work so they could see the Rabbinoid in context of the artist’s practice. Ms. Pontious said that the hospital staff will hold a “town hall” meeting with the residents to discuss removing the artwork. She noted that the hospital’s Executive Committee had approved the artwork prior to its relocation and is aware of the costs associated with its removal.


12. Collections
Allison Cummings

Senior Registrar Allison Cummings reported that she met with the Telegraph Hill Dwellers Association in response to the increasing number of complaints regarding the conservation of the Coit Tower murals. Ms. Cummings stated that the meeting was a productive opportunity to introduce herself, the Civic Art Collection, and the mission of ArtCare. As a result of the meeting, the Telegraph Hill Dwellers Association has offered to help fundraise for the restoration of the murals. Ms. Cummings also noted that she recently applied for a grant offered through Bank of America for artwork restoration with the Coit Tower murals as the focus.

Ms. Cummings reported on the activities of ArtCare, stating that a press event was held regarding the recent restoration of Peter Volkous’ sculpture outside 850 Bryant Street. Ms. Cummings noted that an article about the restoration appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle shortly thereafter. She mentioned a recent ArtCare fundraising event that resulted in grant from the Koret Foundation and stated that fundraising efforts will continue. Ms. Cummings confirmed several candidates for restoration including works by Keith Haring, Stephen DeStaebler, Jim Dine and Ruth Asawa, among others. She commented that ArtCare may start developing a Board and eventually move towards establishing non-profit status.

Ms. Cummings announced that she received approval from Ms. Beltran to create a temporary position devoted specifically to the inventory of the Civic Art Collection. This position would include completing a database of all 4052 objects in the collection that are both permanently sited and on loan to 183 city agencies. The work will entail data collection and entry, documentation and updating existing records. Ms. Cummings explained that this position has been thoroughly conceived with an executable plan to complete the inventory within 18 months.

Ms. Cumming reminded the Commissioners of a previous report on the vandalism of the McKinley Monument, stating that since then, all graffiti has been removed and the base of the sculpture has been cleaned. Ms. Cummings reported that while there have been no incidents of vandalism since the cleaning, she would like to implement the installation of a fence around the sculpture’s base to avoid future incidences. She noted that several approaches to the fence treatment were being considered that would affect the period style, location and cost. Ms. Cummings reported that she was currently looking for financial partners to collaborate with on this effort.


13. Transbay Terminal
Mary Chou

Update on Transbay Joint Powers Authority projects.

14. New Business

Public Relations Manager Kate Patterson presented an update on the SFAC rebranding efforts. Ms. Patterson explained that she had been appointed by Ms. Beltran as the staff liaison to work with the design team Studio 1500. Ms. Patterson commented that she will invite SFAC staff to participate in the process through meetings with the Communications Committee. She noted that several concepts will be developed for staff feedback before one is chosen to be presented to the VAC. Ms. Patterson added that Commissioner Chew and Ms. Beltran will also participate in the process.

15. Old Business

16. Adjournment

The meeting adjourned at5:03 p.m.

ZT 7/20/11


Explanatory documents are available for public inspection and copying at the Arts Commission office, 25 Van Ness Avenue, Suite 345, San Francisco, CA 94102 during regular business hours. INFO: Zoe Taleporos (415) 252-3215.

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