Community Investments Committee - April 12, 2016 - Minutes

Meeting Date: 
April 12, 2016 - 1:00pm
401 Van Ness Ave, Ste 125
San Francisco, CA 94102


Tuesday, April 12, 2016
1:00 p.m.
401 Van Ness Ave, Suite 125

The meeting was called to order at 1:06 p.m. 

1. Roll Call
Commissioners Present:
Sherene Melania
Roberto Ordeñana
Marcus Shelby 

Commissioners Absent:
Charles Collins
Janine Shiota 

Staff Present: Tom DeCaigny, Judy Nemzoff, Robynn Takayama, Cristal Fiel

2. General Public Comment
Commissioner Melania called for public comment. There was none.

3. FY2015-2016 Neighborhood Arts Grant
Community Investments Program Director Judy Nemzoff said that the funding for this preexisting grant was allocated from the Office of Economic and Workforce Development (“OEWD”). 

Commissioner Melania presented the following motion: 
Motion: Motion to increase the 2015-2016 Neighborhood Arts grant to Richmond District Neighborhood Center by $5,000, for a total grant amount of $23,000, to produce a Balboa Street music festival.
Moved: Ordenana/Shelby
Public Comment: None.
The motion was passed unanimously. 

4. Community Investments Program Director Report
Ms. Nemzoff and Program Officer Robynn Takayama gave an informational presentation about the facilities improvements to the four City-owned Cultural Centers over the past three years (see explanatory document “Cultural Center Facilities Presentation April 2016”). Ms. Takayama said that the San Francisco Arts Commission (“SFAC”) had struggled with being a good landlord to the Cultural Centers in the past, but over the past three years the buildings had received major investments from the Capital Investment Advisory Committee (“CIAC”), Mayor’s Office of Disability (“MOD”) and the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (“SFPUC”) for multiple facilities projects. Additionally, Ms. Takayama explained that Real Estate Department (“RED”) has been a critical partner in the facilities renovations, as they provide expert knowledge about capital projects, vendors, contractors, and individual people in the City that would help out. They also help to provide strategies for approaching capital projects. 

Ms. Takayama gave an overview of capital projects at three of the four Cultural Centers. Capital projects have included: roof replacement at Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts (“MCCLA”) and SOMArts Cultural Center; roof repair at African American Art & Culture Complex (“AAACC”); electrical upgrades and an upcoming HVAC repair at AAACC; and ADA and fire panel and fire door upgrades at MCCLA. 

Ms. Nemzoff gave an overview of the Bayview Opera House Ruth Williams Memorial Theatre (“BVOH”) renovation project, which was close to completion. The SFAC partnered with San Francisco Department of Public Works (“SFDPW”) construction management, TEF Architects and Walter Hood of Hood Design for the project. Prior to construction and design, Walter Hood and the SFAC hosted various community engagement activities to find out what the community wanted out of the Center. The project has included a fully accessible, contemporary redesign of the historic front entrance; an outdoor stage with seating; full ADA outdoor walkways throughout a newly expanded and green plaza. Interior renovations include three ADA bathrooms; an ADA lift to the stage; and repair to the sagging, historic balcony. Ms. Nemzoff gave thanks to funding from the MOD, who made so much of the renovation project possible. Tenant organization BVOH, Inc. would be able to move in by the summer and there would be a soft opening as well. Ms. Nemzoff said that the official ribbon cutting for BVOH would be in the fall. 

Ms. Takayama then provided an overview of confirmed and pending facilities projects. Confirmed upcoming facilities projects include elevator renovations and HVAC cooling at MCCLA. Proposed projects pending funding include: improvements to the MCCLA theater; security upgrades for all four Cultural Center buildings; ADA work at SOMArts; and HVAC improvement at BVOH and AAACC. 

Commissioner Melania asked what BVOH, Inc. plans were for summer programming. Ms. Nemzoff said that the tenant organization would continue to support programming in other locations and that there would be a soft opening of programming in the summer. She said that District 10 Supervisor Malia Cohen has been an extraordinary supporter of BVOH and had secured an additional two years of funding for the organization’s 3rd on Third monthly street festival. 

Commissioner Shelby asked about how the SFAC went about finding support and funding for the capital projects, and how projects were prioritized. Ms. Takayama said that the SFAC’s primary responsibilities as landlord were to fund building systems, so RED would make recommendations and help SFAC strategize what took priority. Funding has come from the CIAC, which funds capital projects that fall under the landlord’s purview.

Director of Cultural Affairs Tom DeCaigny said that the CIAC has a model for improvements and capital projects, such as the HVAC systems should be upgraded every 15 years. He explained that because of the recession years, the SFAC fell behind in the CIAC’s model. However, the City & County of San Francisco had a lot of money coming in that has allowed the SFAC to catch up with its deferred maintenance of the Cultural Center buildings Mr. DeCaigny said, in terms of tenant improvements, the SFAC has heard over the years various interests from all the Centers and has seen requests come in through the Board of Supervisors. 

Ms. Nemzoff added that the SFAC staff relies on the facility managers at each building to inform Ms. Takayama and RED staff about facility needs. For example, Executive Director of MCCLA Jennie Rodriguez has been talking about the need for theater improvements at MCCLA for years. After lots of conversation, SFAC staff made the capital request for the theater to be upgraded to serve the needs of the arts community. 

Mr. DeCaigny said that he and Deputy Director Rebekah Krell would be presenting a two-year budget ask to the CIAC that included projects at the Cultural Centers. However, because the Cultural Center tenant organizations only have to pay an annual lease of one dollar, the CIAC believed that the tenant should be able to leverage this to raise private funds. He said the CIAC may prioritize other critical City capital needs. 

Commissioner Ordeñana asked about total investment in capital improvements to the four Cultural Center buildings over the past three years. Ms. Takayama said that, not including BVOH renovation, investment has been around $3 million over this time period being discussed. Mr. DeCaigny said the BVOH renovation project was probably close to $10 million. Ms. Takayama commented that as other arts organization in San Francisco face displacement or the need to work on their own tenant improvements, the City has invested in these Cultural Centers to sustain the communities and people the buildings serve. 

Lastly, Mr. DeCaigny said that City Administrator Naomi Kelly and Director of the Capital Planning Program Brian Strong have been strong partners in the SFAC’s capital planning. He thanked Board of Supervisors President London Breed, District 5, and former Board President David Chiu for being champions of the City-owned Cultural Center buildings, as well as the Mayor’s Office and the Board of Supervisors. 

Commissioner Melania called for public comment. 

Public Comment:

Jennie Rodriguez, executive director of MCCLA said that she was appreciative of the facilities work that was being done at the Center. She said there were continually challenges, but the staff has been very resourceful and creative with the space. She appreciated that the HVAC cooling system was on the to-do list, as it has been a conversation to improve the system for 17 years. She said it would make a lot of people in the community happy and thanked the SFAC again for its support.  

Thomas Simpson, artistic director of AfroSolo Theatre Company, a resident arts organization of AAACC said that he echoed the sentiments of Ms. Rodriguez for AAACC. He said that the ongoing work has been significant for the Center, and that you could see the difference from before and at the present. He said that the Center was embarking on improvements on publicly-accessible wireless internet services through funding from Hewlett Foundation. He thanked the SFAC for continuing to support the Center’s building needs. 

Mr. DeCaigny said the challenge ahead would be long term planning, as the Cultural Center buildings were not originally built to be community engagement spaces. There were long term seismic and structural challenges that the SFAC as landlord would have to address. He said that now that deferred maintenance was getting up to speed, the SFAC would be looking toward a long term, 20 to 30 year assessment and capital plan to fully maximize Cultural Centers for community benefit. 

Explanatory Document: Cultural Center Facilities Presentation April 2016 (pdf)

5. New Business and Announcements
There were no announcements or new business. 

6. Adjournment
There being no further business, the meeting adjourned at 1:57 p.m.

4/26/16 CF draft minutes posted

5/2/16 CF minutes adopted

Language Accessibility

Translated written materials and interpretation services are available to you at no cost. For assistance, please notify Program Associate Cristal Fiel, 415-252-2218,

我們將為閣下提供免費的書面翻譯資料和口譯服務。如需協助,Program Associate Cristal Fiel, 415-252-2218,

Materiales traducidos y servicios de interpretación están disponibles para usted de manera gratuita. Para asistencia, notifique a Program Associate Cristal Fiel, 415-252-2218,

Ang mga materyales na nakasalin sa ibang wika at ang mga serbisyong tagapagsalin sa wika ay walang bayad. Para sa tulong, maaring i-contact si Program Associate Cristal Fiel, 415-252-2218,