Wednesday, April 16, 2003

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.

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Commissioners Present

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


Staff Present

Richard Newirth, Director of Cultural Affairs; Nina Dunbar, Rupert Jenkins, Debra Lehane, Jennifer Lovvorn, Tonia Macneil, Judy Moran, Kristen Zaremba.

Note: All votes are unanimous unless recorded otherwise.

The meeting commenced at 3:05 p.m.

  1. Consent
    1. Motion to enter into contract with Genevieve Baird of Baird/Reif Art Conservation for maintenance of the Monuments on Market Street for an amount not to exceed $25,000.
    2. Motion to enter into contract with Architectural Resources Group for the restoration of the Portals of the Past monument in Golden Gate Park for an amount not to exceed $191,000.
    3. Motion to approve the design of a bronze plaque to mark the Russian Hill Cemetery to be given by the United Humanitarian Mission with support from the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation.
    4. Motion to approve the following pool of arts professionals to serve on upcoming panels for new Public Art Projects commencing in 2003, including, but not limited to: Ocean Avenue Streetscape Project, Recreation and Parks 2003 Pre-Qualified Artist Pool, Hamilton Pool and Rec. Center, SOMA Rec. Center: Regina Almaguer, Public Art Curator/BART Consultant; Mike Blockstein, Ex-ED, Southern Exposure/Artist; Don Douglass, GSA Fine Arts Program; Courtney Fink, ED Southern Exposure; Donna Graves, Public Art Curator; Leslie Holzman, Public Art Coordinator, City of Oakland; Steve Huss, Public Art Program, Alameda County; Mark Johnson, Artist/Faculty, SFSU; Chris Johnson, California College of Arts & Crafts (CCAC); Leonard Hunter, Artist/Faculty, SFSU; Clara Kim, SFMOMA Associate Curator, New Langton Board Member; Marina McDougal, CCAC; Tara McDowell, Assoc. Curator, SFMOMA; Karen Moss, SFAI Walter McBean Gallery; Anna Nabokov, SFAI; Rachel Osajima, Artist/Curator, SF Craft and Folk Art Museum; Sabina Ott, SFAI Graduate Program Director; Mary Rubin, San Jose Public Art Program; Joe Sam, Artist; Saudi Sanchez, San Jose Public Art Program; Donna Schumacher, Artist/Architect; Moriah Ulinskas, Artist/Artists & Education Program Director, Southern Exposure; John Weber, SFMOMA; Lewis Watts, Artist/Faculty UC Berkeley.

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

  2. Gallery
    Gallery Director Rupert Jenkins announced the upcoming City Hall exhibitions that open on Wednesday, May 7 with an artists' reception at 5:30 PM. The exhibitions will be on view through July 6. They are: "Something in Common," photographs by contemporary Chinese photographers, "War and Peace: An Afghan Journey," photographs by Pia Torelli, " Teen Posters: Safe Jobs for Youth!," "Where We Are Now: Teens in the Workplace," photographs by Rebecca Letz, and "Let Children Be Children: Lewis Wickes Hine's Crusade Against Child Labor." Three of these exhibitions coincide with the celebration of May as California's "Safe Jobs for Youth Month" and have been sponsored by the California Department of Industrial Relations, Commission on Health and Safety and Workers' Compensation among other funders. Mr. Jenkins requested that one of the Commissioners speak at the reception and added that he will follow up with them by email. Commissioner Stermer stated that he greatly admires the work of Lewis Hine.

  3. Collections
    Civic Art Collections Director Debra Lehane began her report by stating that the Arts Commission Civic Art Collection has recently been offered several gifts. To review these offers, Ms. Lehane organized a subcommittee which is made up of the following staff: Nancy Gonchar, Rupert Jenkins, Debra Lehane, Judy Moran, and Susan Pontious. Ms. Lehane stated that Earth Island Institute, who wishes to give the sculpture "Spaceship Earth," has already received support for this gift from the Board of Supervisors. The sculpture was commissioned by Powerbar founders Brian and Jennifer Maxwell in honor of the environmentalist David Brower. Ms. Lehane stated that the subcommittee felt that the sculpture is ostentatious and aesthetically awkward. Upon viewing the proposal for the sculpture, Commissioner Stermer stated that the piece does not do honor to the environment nor to David Brower, and he added that there is no aesthetic relationship between the figure and the globe.

    Ms. Lehane continued her report by stating that the subcommittee also reviewed a proposed gift to the Civic Art Collection entitled "Peace Angel." Ms. Lehane explained that the artist would like to place "Peace Angels" around the world. The artist's concept is to make these figurative angel sculptures from donated weapons and to place them in specific locations in various cities that are affected by gun violence. Ms. Lehane reported that the city prefers unique works of art and therefore the subcommittee generally recommends declining gifts that are part of a series. Ms. Lehane added that the subcommittee felt that the sculpture is aesthetically crude and doesn't convey nor inspire peace.

    Motion: Motion to accept the recommendation of the staff committee to decline the gift of Peace Angel.
    Moved: Solomon/Wilsey

    Motion: Motion to accept the recommendation of the staff committee to decline the gift of a memorial to David Brower titled Spaceship Earth.
    Moved: Wilsey/Solomon

    Temporary Art Installation for Union Square: "Talking Chair" Proposal by Donna Schumacher
    Ms. Lehane reported that a temporary art installation entitled "Talking Chair" by Donna Schumacher, which received funding from the Arts Commission's Cultural Equity Grants, has been proposed for approval by the Visual Arts Committee. "Talking Chair" would be installed in September 2003 and remain in Union Square through January 2004. Ms. Lehane added that she will be meeting with Union Square officials in order to create a policy for temporary installations at Union Square. Ms. Lehane explained that the artist proposed to mount a speaker on top of a pole that is pointed to a bench near the grass area. Due to the special design of the speaker, the soundtrack which consists of interviews with sales clerks from neighboring stores would only be heard by the person seated on the bench. The artist's concept is that the artwork would connect the people who work in Union Square with the shoppers. Commissioner Stermer stated that he finds the proposal appalling in that it assumes that all visitors to Union Square are shoppers. Commissioner Stermer added that he would prefer the sound of birds or surf. Commissioner Wilsey stated that the sound of the interviews would be cacophonous and that as a visitor to the Square, she prefers peace and quiet. Commissioner Solomon stated that the piece would be amusing if the sales clerks were able to say what they actually thought. Ms. Lehane pointed out that visitors to the Square had a choice to sit and listen to the piece or not. Because Ms. Lehane did not have the opportunity to hear the sound track and does not know what the content would be, she suggested that the artist be invited to present her proposal and bring a sample of the sound track. Commissioner Stermer stated that the artist is welcome to present her project to the Committee, but her proposal must be changed in response to the Commissioners' suggestions.

    The following motion was continued:
    Motion: Motion to approve the concept for the temporary art installation for Union Square titled Talking Chair for Union Square for Summer 2003 subject to technical review and approval by the appropriate agencies.

    Update on relocation of Juan Bautista de Anza and King Carlos III sculptures.
    Ms. Lehane reported that she has not yet met with a representative from the Recreation and Parks Department, but she is trying to locate an alternate site for the relocation of the Juan Bautista de Anza and King Carlos III sculptures. Ms. Lehane added that she will bring a new proposed location to the meeting next month.

    The following motion was continued:
    Motion: Possible motion to approve alternate location for monuments.

  4. Visitacion Valley Club House - Final Design
    Project Manager Nina Dunbar reported on the status of the Visitacion Valley Club House project. She explained that artist Victor Zaballa had originally provided poorly drawn plans of his final designs for the building's main entrance security gate and adjoining park entrance gate. The work was approved by the Committee in concept with the understanding that final shop drawings would be presented for approval prior to fabrication. Commissioner Solomon stated that the new drawings were much better. Ms. Dunbar also presented a material sample for the gate which was sandblasted metal with cut-out patterns. She explained that the client likes the metal sandblasted rather than painted with a bright color. Commissioner Solomon agreed that the metal should not be painted. Ms. Dunbar stated that the gate could be painted a taupe-gray to match the unpainted sample, but it could not be left unpainted due to maintenance concerns.

    Motion: Motion to approve Victor Zaballa's final designs for the Visitacion Valley Clubhouse.
    Moved: Wilsey/Solomon
  5. Union Square Project Completion
    Project Manager Nina Dunbar reported on the completion and dedication of "Union Square Colonnade" by R.M. Fischer. Ms. Dunbar began her presentation of slides of the individual pieces by stating that the sculptures were successfully installed. Ms. Dunbar added that the two lamps which were collecting water have been repaired. Ms. Dunbar reported that the reception for the artwork that was held at Ferragamo was a great success and was attended by Mayor Brown. She added that both Mayor Brown and Commissioner Gatti were greatly impressed by the project.

    Motion: Motion to accept into the Civic Art Collection four light sculptures by R.M. Fischer titled Union Square Colonnade, 1999-2002, aluminum, stainless steel, granite, commissioned by the San Francisco Arts Commission for the Union Square Improvement Project.
    Moved: Wilsey/Solomon

  6. Octavia Boulevard Streetscape Project
    Public Art Program Assistant Jennifer Lovvorn presented the proposal for the Octavia Boulevard Streetscape Project by artist Wang Po-Shu, as recommended by the Octavia Boulevard Artist Selection Panel. Ms. Lovvorn explained that this revised proposal called for the placement of human-scaled "observatory" scopes to be place on the pedestrian median at twelve to sixteen sites along the new Boulevard. The observatories have two standard designs: one for standing adults and one for wheelchair accessibility and children. The observatories contain kaleidoscopic lenses that refract the view of the passing cars. Ms. Lovvorn stated that the selection panel was concerned that the observatories be designed such that the lenses would not be vulnerable to vandalism. Ms. Lovvorn added that the selection panel was very impressed with the artist's concept of a socially interactive artwork that involves the pedestrians in viewing the traffic and involves the motorists in noticing that they are being observed.

    Motion: Motion to approve the Selection Panel's recommendation of the proposal by Wang Po Shu for the Octavia Blvd. public art project.
    Moved: Wilsey/Solomon

    Motion: Motion to authorize the Director of Cultural Affairs to enter into contract with Wang Po Shu for the design development of his proposal for the Octavia Blvd. public art project for a total amount not to exceed $7,500.
    Moved: Solomon/Wilsey

  7. Recreation and Park Department Bond Projects
    Project Manager Tonia Macneil presented the new proposed guidelines for the selection of artwork for the Recreation and Park Department Bond Projects. Ms. Macneil explained that these new guidelines are based on the agency's Art Enrichment Guidelines, but would establish substantially streamlined processes for projects with a project budget under $50,000 and would also somewhat streamline the administrative processes for larger budget projects. Ms. Macneil added that this document will not only provide consistency and clarity for Project Managers, but will also be a useful tool for the staff to explain the Public Art Program processes to community members. Commissioner Stermer agreed that the new guidelines will help the Public Art Program staff immensely.
    Explanatory Document: Proposed Guidelines for the Selection of Artwork for the Recreation and Park Department Bond Projects

    Motion: Motion to approve the guidelines for Selection of Artwork for the Recreation and Park Department Bond Projects.
    Moved: Solomon/Wilsey

  8. Proposed Change to the Art Enrichment Guidelines
    Project Manager Tonia Macneil, acting on behalf of Project Manager Susan Pontious, who was not able to attend the meeting, presented proposed changes to the Art Enrichment Guidelines. Ms. Macneil explained that the Public Art Program has begun a program assessment for the purposes of making our program operate more effectively, both in terms of trying to reduce our administrative burden and improve the final artistic product. Ms. Macneil reviewed the proposed changes which are as follows: to clearly define how "Project Budget" is determined, to change the threshold amount for limited competitions to $50,000, to use the term "Project Budget" instead of "Art Budget," and to streamline the selection process for projects with project budgets under $50,000.
    Explanatory Document: Art Enrichment Guidelines with proposed changes

    Motion: Motion to approve the proposed change to the Art Enrichment Guidelines.
    Moved: Solomon/Wilsey

  9. New Business
    As an item of new business, Director of Cultural Affairs Richard Newirth announced that the next event as part of "Sculpture in the City" will be on May 8th at the San Francisco Zoo from 10:30 AM to 12:30 PM. This event will include a dedication of two art projects: "Cougar III" and "Tiger II" by Gwynn Murrill and "Split Mound" by Barbara McCarren and Jud Fine. Mr. Newirth encouraged the Commissioners to submit names to be added to the announcement mailing list.

    As an additional item of new business, Project Manager Tonia Macneil introduced John Stafford, the Executive Manager of the Queensland Public Art Agency. She explained that he received a Churchill Fellowship to travel to the United States to observe various Public Art agencies across the country. Ms. Macneil added that he made a presentation to the Arts Commission Public Art staff of the work of his agency that included a very impressive program to foster the work of indigenous artists and younger artists. Staff was also impressed by a number of public/private and interagency projects managed by the agency, as well as the strong commitment to marketing.

    As an additional item of new business, Commissioner Stermer requested to go on record with a statement about the recent looting of museums in Iraq. He stated that the looting is devastating and added that the entire culture is being destroyed while the United States military forces are standing by.

  10. Old Business
    As an item of old business, Project Manager Nina Dunbar reported on the status of the Fillmore Bridge project. Ms. Dunbar stated that the installation of the artwork is scheduled to begin on Monday, April 21 and will continue for two weeks. She noted that two presentations on the work's progress had been made recently to the Redevelopment Commission. Ms. Dunbar presented slides of the etched glass panes and explained that the work included 180 pieces of glass with more than 240 individually etched words. Given the complexity of the work, human error was a factor in some of the fabrication delays. The primary cause of delay during the installation would be weather.

  11. Adjournment
    As there was no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 4:20 p.m.

    Submitted by Jennifer Lovvorn, Public Art Program Assistant

    Approved by Richard Newirth, Director of Cultural Affairs, 4/29/03



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