Visual Arts Committee - October 20, 2021 - Minutes

Meeting Date: 
October 20, 2021 - 3:00pm


Wednesday, October 20, 2021
3 p.m.
Remote meeting via video and teleconferencing


1. Call to Order, Roll Call, and Agenda Changes

Commissioners Present:
Suzie Ferras, Chair   
JD Beltran
Yiying Lu
Abby Sadin Schnair
Janine Shiota
Debra Walker

Commissioners Absent:
Nabiel Musleh

Commissioner Ferras called the meeting to order at 3:01pm.

2. General Public Comment

There was no public comment.

3. Consent Calendar

  1. Motion to approve Never Alone, a mural design by artist Serge Gay Jr. The mural will be installed on the façade of Matri Compassionate Care, 401 Duboce Ave at Church St. The mural will measure 20 ft. high by 100 ft. wide. The project is funded by Matri, the Castro Community Benefit District, and a grant from the San Francisco Arts Commission. The mural will not become part of the Civic Art Collection.

There was no public comment.

Motion: Motion to approve consent calendar.
Moved: Beltran/Schnair

The motion was unanimously approved
Ferras, Beltran, Lu, Schnair, Shiota, Walker

4. SFAC Galleries Reopening Exhibition

SFAC Galleries Director, Meg Shiffler presented the reopening exhibition for the SFAC main gallery in November 2021, the first exhibition in this space since the shelter-in-place order in March 2020. The exhibition will explore place and how it shapes individuals and communities. The included works touch on the history of land use in San Francisco; how neighborhoods are defined and how they have shifted over time; how a city is planned and developed by the population that lives in it; and how a city can shape and develop its citizens. Artists for this exhibition include Mansur Nurullah, Trina Michelle Robinson, Hannah Waiters, Rodney Ewing, Jacqueline Francis, S. Renee Jones, Ramekon O’Arwisters and Ron Moultrie Saunders.

The Commissioners were excited by this exhibition and suggested possible outreach partnerships to Ms. Shiffler.

There was no public comment.

Motion: for the Director of Cultural Affairs to approve an artist honorarium in the amount of $5,000 each for Trina Michelle Robinson and Hannah Waiters for their participation in the SFAC Galleries reopening Main Gallery exhibition (November 18, 2021 – March 12, 2022).

Motion: for the Director of Cultural Affairs to approve an artist honorarium in the amount of $500 each for Rodney Ewing, Jacqueline Francis, S. Renee Jones, Ramekon O’Arwisters and Ron Moultrie Saunders for their participation in the SFAC Galleries reopening Main Gallery exhibition (November 18, 2021 – March 12, 2022).
Moved: Walker/Beltran

The motion was unanimously approved
Ferras, Beltran, Lu, Schnair, Shiota, Walker

5. FY21 Collections Report

Senior Registrar Allison Cummings presented the fiscal year 2021 (July 1, 2020 – June 30, 2021) Civic Art Collection report. Ms. Cummings stated that the Civic Art Collection’s need has always exceed its’ allocation from the Capital Planning Committee, the main monetary source for the care of the Civic Art Collection. However, the allocation had been increasing significantly in recent years, until this last year, when it was cut by 88% due to shortfalls caused by the pandemic. The allocation for fiscal year 2022 is increased from fiscal year 2021 but is still not at pre-pandemic levels of funding.

Ms. Cummings summarized the expenditures for the Civic Art Collection in fiscal year 2021 (storage, maintenance, vandalism, materials, permits, photography, etc.). She explained that a lot of the work done by Civic Art Collection staff during this period was around emergency response both through the pandemic and national civic issues, in particular the monument removal, the Monument and Memorial Advisory Committee, and Disaster Service Work staff did in addition to more typical emergency response to vandalism and events like the water damage at Coit Tower. Regular department work continued during this time as well with conservation assessments, conservation treatments, relocation projects, art enrichment projects (new art installations) being completed as well as moving artwork back into onsite storage from offsite vendors. Ms. Cummings also included the number of accessions, deaccessions, archive records created, and movements tracked as well as work continuing into fiscal year 2022.

Commissioners appreciated the report. Commissioner Walker asked about clarification on “addbacks,” if it is legal for the program to get donations from private non-profits for the care of the Civic Art Collection, and for more clarification about what is in onsite storage and the policy around deaccessioning art. Commissioner Beltran added some historic context to the funding of the care of the collection and the history of how art came into the collection.

Ms. Cummings stated that “addbacks” are moneys reimbursed to the Arts Commission from supervisors or the mayor for specific projects. She also specified that the Arts Commission can fundraise/accept donations and have worked with the organization “ArtCare” in the past for funding conservation care of specific projects. Ms. Cummings stated that staff is slowly moving art back into onsite storage, though there will always be a part of the collection that will be stored offsite due to size, transient nature of the work and other restrictions. The long-term goal is for artwork to be stored in a way to make it more visible and accessible for the Inter Office Loan Program.

Director of Cultural Affairs Ralph Remington stated that he would like to modernize the collection by increasing acquisitions for the Inter Office Loan Program. Director of Public Art Program, Susan Pontious, stated that because most of the collection comes in through specific projects, the artwork is restricted to a specific location for a certain amount of time before it may eventually be added to the loan program. Therefore, the more recently procured pieces are not available for loan to City offices and pieces currently available for loan are older. Ms. Pontious also stated that if funds are sourced for artwork procurement, funds would also need to be sourced to support the care, framing, transport, installation, etc. of that artwork. Ms. Pontious and Ms. Cummings explained the art policies and laws around deaccessioning artwork from the collection.

Public Comment:
Richard Rothman commented on the report and stated that Ms. Cummings was too polite about the Coit Tower incident. The water pipe was a known issue, and it should have been replaced years before, as such PUC should pay for the repairs, not the Arts Commission. He thinks the Arts Commission needs a stronger presence in protecting murals, not the passive role they currently have. He also stated that the Mother’s Building group was close to an agreement and hoped that the murals there could be added to the conservation treatment list and the building opened soon.

6. Rossi Pool

Program Associate Craig Corpora presented images of the completed artwork Buoyant Bay at Rossi Pool. Mr. Corpora reminded the Commissioners about the renovation of the existing structure at 600 Arguello and Anza, Rossi Recreation Center, which included building additions, a seismic upgrade, and aesthetic renovations to the exterior. As part of that, a new mural was created inside the natatorium, by artist Owen Smith.

Owen Smith’s Buoyant Bay was designed to evoke the freedom and joy associated with the act swimming. The movement and color of the composition emphasize optimism and the physical pleasure of gliding through water. The mural features a diverse group of people frolicking in a
fantasy interpretation of underwater life. The work was fabricated by Magnachrome, is 48 ft. long and made of twelve 8 ft. x 4 ft. dye sublimated aluminum panels with CNC cut wave patterns to create dimensionality.

The Commissioners were happy with the change to the design from flat to shaped edges.

There was no public comment.

Motion: to approve the artwork, Buoyant Bay, 48 ft. long mural of 12 dye sublimated aluminum panels, by Owen Smith as installed at Rossi Pool.
Moved: Beltran/Shiota

The motion was unanimously approved
Ferras, Beltran, Lu, Schnair, Shiota, Walker

7. Transbay Block 3 Park & Alley Project

Project Manager Zoë Taleporos presented the Public Art Project Plan for the Transbay Block 3 Park & Alley Project. The project is in partnership with Office of Community Investments and Infrastructure (OCII), Recreation & Parks Department and Public Works. The park will be a one-acre open space located between Beale and Main Streets and Howard and Folsom Streets in a mixed-use neighborhood. Ms. Taleporos shared the current design and description of the park. She stated that the total project budget is $360,000 with $135,000 allocated to the artwork. The art opportunity will be a sculpture or series of sculptures along the habitat meadow. An addition of art elements attached to the stewardship building façade may be considered, pending final approval of the building design by the Arts Commission’s Civic Design Review Committee.

Commissioners were hesitant about including the stewardship building as a possible artwork at this stage. Ms. Taleporos stated that the Request for Qualifications for artist selection would present the building as an optional location for art in addition to sculptures in the habitat meadow. Ms. Pontious stated that the habitat meadow location is preferred as it will allow for the artwork to be integrated without causing construction delays.

There was no public comment.

Motion: to approve the Transbay Block 3 Park & Alley Public Art Project Plan.
Moved: Beltran/Walker

The motion was unanimously approved
Ferras, Beltran, Lu, Shiota, Walker

Commissioner Schnair had technical difficulties causing her to leave and re-enter the meeting and miss the vote on this item.

8. Southeast Treatment Plant Construction Fence

Project Manager Jackie von Treskow presented artist Malik Seneferu’s final design for the temporary construction fence at the Southeast Treatment Plant on Evans Avenue. For his project titled “Clear The Air'', Mr. Seneferu partnered with San Francisco Chapter of The Links, Rise Academy and Aquarium by the Bay to offer a series of 4 virtual workshops to a total of approximately 80 youth participants during which they engaged in conversation about the impact that the neighborhood’s pollution and poor air quality have had on them and their families’ lives, focusing in particular on issues related to health and environmental justice. In addition to their facilitated discussions, Mr. Seneferu taught the students how to draw the core elements featured in his final mural design: ink trees, expressive masks, and an abstracted background motif referencing the Sankofa. The Sankofa is an Adinkra symbol attributed to the Akan people of Ghana. Taking the form of a stylized bird, the Sankofa is believed to represent the embracing of one’s heritage or returning to a person’s roots.

Ms. von Treskow stated that the background of Mr. Seneferu’s composition is intended to reinforce the idea of community and family and using past experiences to “Clear the Air” and help build a better future. Stretching approximately 400’ long, Mr. Seneferu’s mural features 80 unique blue ink trees, selected from a series of his meditative ballpoint pen sketches that reflect on the relationship between the tree and the Black figure. Bookending each banner are expressive, colorful masks derived from Mr. Seneferu’s “Hill and Beyond” series of paintings that are inspired by his experience of leaving his native Bayview Hunter’s Point community for a 3 month visit to Kenya in East Africa. Mr. Seneferu’s mask drawings symbolize communal protection and are reminiscent of Lega carvings of the Congo. The mural will be installed early next month and be on display through November 2022.

Mr. Seneferu spoke briefly about the process and his deep ties to the area. He stated that has also created a book of the artwork for the students involved in the project.

There was no public comment.

Motion: to approve the Design Development Phase deliverables (final design) by Malik Seneferu for the Southeast Treatment Plant Construction Fence along Evans Avenue to be on display for one year beginning in early November 2021.
Moved: Beltran/Shiota

The motion was unanimously approved
Ferras, Beltran, Lu, Schnair, Shiota, Walker

9. Southeast Health Center Expansion Project – Community History Wall

Ms. von Treskow stated that the primary goals of this project for the SEHC are to document, preserve and amplify the history of the Southeast Health Center, and work closely with community members to research and select photographs and other ephemera that reflect the Health Center’s history and integrate these materials into the artwork. Artist William Rhodes’s conceptual proposal, consisted of 4 handmade quilts that each focused on the Bayview Hunters-Point history of community organizing and activism, specifically the ongoing fight for environmental and social justice, and equitable housing and healthcare.

Ms. von Treskow stated that over the past several months, Mr. Rhodes met with community members to identify the key people, places, and events to feature in each quilt. The border of each quilt will feature a mix of hand-painted portraits, as well as photo images that will be printed on cotton fabric squares. The center medallion of each quilt will feature a West African Adinkra symbol that matches the theme of that quilt. Similarly, the quilts’ fabric colors will also symbolically reflect these themes. Mr. Rhodes’ final quilt designs have been presented to the Client for review and approval.

The Commissioners appreciated the involvement of and ties to the community in this project and artwork.

Mr. Rhodes spoke briefly about the project and thanked Ms. von Treskow and the Commission for the opportunity to work with the community and on this project.

There was no public comment.

Motion: to approve the Design Development Phase deliverables (final design) by William Rhodes for the Southeast Health Center Expansion Project – Community History Wall.
Moved: Schnair/Walker

The motion was unanimously approved
Ferras, Beltran, Lu, Schnair, Shiota, Walker

10. Mission Creek Park Extension

Ms. von Treskow presented the three finalists recommended by the Mission Creek Park Extension Artist Review Panel. The panel met on September 23rd where the qualifications of 30 artists selected from the Mission Bay Park Qualification Panel were presented. After extensive discussion and deliberation and two rounds of voting, three finalists were recommended by the panel: Windy Chien, Rigo 23, and Adrien Segal. The client, OCII, expressed a strong desire for a local artist/artist with a connection to the area.

Rigo 23 lives and works in Burbank, CA, but has roots in San Francisco as a founding member of the Clarion Alley Mural Project. Throughout his decades-long practice, he has prioritized working with individuals and communities with an embodied historical knowledge of resistance and survival in the face of great adversity. Rigo has exhibited his work internationally for over 30 years, placing murals, paintings, sculptures, and tile work in public situations where viewers are encouraged to examine their relationship to their community, their role as unwitting advocates of public policy or their place on a planet occupied by many other living things.

San Francisco based artist Windy Chien makes art that activates space and crafts objects that elevate the daily rituals of life. She is best known for her 2016 work, The Year of Knots, in which she learned a new knot every day for a year. Windy’s work ranges in size from a knot that can fit in the palm of a child's hand to sculpture and site-specific installations that elevate the vernacular forms of knots to inspire awe and understanding. To the intersection of function, mathematics, and history where knots reside, Windy introduces aesthetics to illuminate what’s most fascinating about them: the journey of the line.

Adrien Segal is an artist and writer based in Oakland. Sculpture is an aesthetic language Adrien uses to bridge the gap between reason and emotion. Drawing from history, culture, narrative, emotional affect, and the senses, her artwork synthesizes information into knowledge through an intently emotive human experience. Adrien interprets the poetics of information by translating data into lines, forms, and materials to reveal abstract concepts and unseen phenomena as communicative, sensory, aesthetically engaging forms that add meaning to personal experience.

Commissioner Schnair asked if there was a Commissioner on this panel. Ms. von Treskow stated that they were unable to coordinate a date for the panel that worked for a Commissioner for this first panel, but that Senior Program Manager Mary Chou served in place of a Commissioner and that Commissioner Ferras will be on the next panel.

There was no public comment.

Motion: to approve Windy Chien, Rigo 23 and Adrien Segal as finalists for the Mission Creek Park Extension public art project, as recommended by the Artist Review Panel.
Moved: Shiota/Beltran

The motion was unanimously approved
Ferras, Beltran, Lu, Schnair, Shiota, Walker

11. Staff Report

Deputy Director of Programs Joanne Lee announced that this is a new regular item a from now on for program announcements but that there were no report/announcements for today.

There was no public comment.

12. New Business and Announcements

There was no new business and announcements

There was no public comment.

13. Adjournment

The meeting adjourned at 5:23pm


TP 10/29/2021 8:40am
approved 11/1/2021


Translated written materials and interpretation services are available to you at no cost.
For assistance, please notify Tara Peterson,, 415-252-2219.

如需協助 Tara Peterson,, 415-252-2219.

Materiales traducidos y servicios de interpretación están disponibles para usted de manera gratuita. Para asistencia, notifique a Tara Peterson,, 415-252-2219.