MEETING OF THE FULL ARTS COMMISSION
Monday, December 6, 2004
25 Van Ness Avenue, Suite 70
President Johnston called the meeting to order at 3:12 p.m.
- Roll Call
Barbara Stauffacher Solomon
Ethel Pitts Walker
Shelley Bradford Bell
- Approval of Minutes
The following Resolution was moved, seconded, and unanimously adopted:
RESOLUTION NO. 1206-04-254: APPROVAL OF MINUTES ADOPTED
RESOLVED, that this Commission does hereby approve the Minutes of the Regular Monthly Meeting of November 1, 2004.
NOTE: ALL ADOPTIONS ARE UNANIMOUS UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED.
- President’s Report
Commission President P.J. Johnston began his first President’s report with an update on the Grove Street Gallery space. It is included on a list of “surplus property” which the Board of Supervisors is proposing to use for low-income housing; the hearing on this proposal is set for December 20, 2004. President Johnston is meeting and strategizing with staff, officials and interested parties to insure that City Hall understands that this is not “surplus” property, but a vital asset of the Arts Commission, with active plans for its renovation and use. He suggested that the political interest stirred by the debate over the Gallery may help foment the energy and enthusiasm needed to get the building renovated and seismically upgraded, and get the Gallery open again.
As a follow-up to the Commission’s facilitated discussions in October and November, President Johnston reported that there will probably be one more such meeting with the full Commission, probably in January; Commissioners and staff have found this process very helpful. As one result, he proposed changing the emphasis of the Executive Committee to focus more on policy and planning, building on the momentum from the focused discussions of the last two months. The grants and financial matters previously handled there will be dealt with in the Community Arts and Education Committee.
President Johnston suggested that the new year would be a time to start with a clean slate. He announced that Commissioner Stermer had resigned, and that with two vacancies, he anticipated the Mayor’s appointment of new Commissioners soon. President Johnston will wait until January to revise committee assignments, and solicited discussion and ideas from the Commission.
President Johnston extended the best wishes of the Commission and staff to Commissioner Draisin on her recent engagement to be married.
He suggested WritersCorps books as a gift idea for the approaching holidays. He introduced Community Arts and Education Program Director Judy Nemzoff, who announced that staff had on hand several prewrapped copies of City of One, which includes a foreword by Isabel Allende. Ms. Nemzoff touted the books as a wonderful gift, particularly for young people. She offered the gift-wrapped books at $10 each or, facetiously, two for $25; at least one Commissioner took her up on the quantity price.
Commissioner Johnston thanked Commissioner Draisin for her work in planning and coordinating the holiday party, and commended her for the invitation’s clever play on the Gallery’s current “Meat Show.”
The President reported that he has begun discussions with City Hall staff about finding a commission hearing room for meetings of the full Commission only, possibly beginning in February, 2005. For the time being, he is not considering changing the schedule of meetings, only the location. And while he acknowledged that a great deal of the Commission's real work is done in committee meetings, he believes it is not yet time to try moving all of those meetings to City Hall, and that members of the public with specific concerns and issues will come to meetings of the full Commission, not necessarily to committee meetings.
He further said that brevity in meetings is not his first concern, and that he wants to be sure meetings are of enough substance to make it worth the time to attend and discuss the agenda. Conversely, he prefers not to waste the Commissioners’ time holding a meeting when there is nothing on the agenda. He promised to give attention to quorums and attendance as he considers committee assignments; he considers this the clearest indication of interest in serving on the Commission, which, he observed, many people would like to do.
Finally, he looked forward to enjoying the holiday party with Commissioners, staff and friends following the meeting.
- Director’s Report
Director of Cultural Affairs Richard Newirth began his update on the Gallery space at 155 Grove by distributing to the Commissioners a list of members of the Surplus Property Committee and the advisory committee. He encouraged them to contact any of these members, Supervisors or other interested parties to discuss the Commission’s position on the planned use of the space. Letters in support of the Arts Commission’s proposal for renovation of the building and development of a sculpture garden should be sent to the Mayor, with copies to Commission President Johnston and Board of Supervisors President Matt Gonzalez.
Mr. Newirth reported on the arts task force legislation proposed by Supervisor Ammiano. He distributed copies of the minutes of the recent task force meeting, and advised that the next meeting would be held on December 7 at 5:00 p.m. More members have been designated, which may make the process and the logistics more difficult. He reported that Commissioners Pryzyblski and Draisin had attended some of the earlier task force meetings. He expected that appointments to the task force would not be completed before the new year. The meetings had previously been organized by Theatre Bay Area (“TBA”) and Intersection for the Arts, and without the staff to manage an undertaking of this scope, both organizations had begun to look to the Arts Commission.
Mr. Newirth announced that he had received budget instructions for the next fiscal year from the Mayor’s office. There will be cost increases, but no funds with which to absorb them. They are looking at some one-time savings, and possible changes to the charter; none of the proposed charter changes affect the Arts Commission. Working groups have been set up with various departments and agencies that do arts programming, like Recreation and Parks, to see if they are funding the same organizations, or if there are redundancies or other places to save money. The City’s anticipated deficit is $100 million to $130 million, as compared with $300 million last year.
June 5, 2005 will be World Environment Day, and a number of site-specific temporary installations are planned.
The Cultural Center legislation is moving through the Board of Supervisors; it names the “virtual centers” and limits adminstrative fees. Five of the Cultural Center directors have been meeting with Mr. Newirth, Deputy Director Nancy Gonchar and staff from the Board of Supervisors. Representatives of the remaining two Cultural Centers are expected as well at the next meeting.
Mr. Newirth requested biographical statements from those Commissioners who had not submitted them for posting on the Commission’s new website.
Mr. Newirth, Ms. Nemzoff and Arts Education Officer Rachelle Axel attended a meeting at Sanchez School on Proposition H funding for arts in the schools, which was cosponsored by the Arts Commission and the School District. His overall impression was that the meeting was useful.
A calendar listing proposed dates in 2005 for meetings of the full Commission and its committees was distributed. The January dates are set, but there may be changes to later dates announced after the new year.
Mr. Newirth announced a meeting on the Mid-Market Project Area to be held January 20, 2005, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., with the Redevelopment Agency and other interested parties.
Finally, Mr. Newirth very sadly reported the death of Marnie Gillett, who was the Executive Director of San Francisco Cameraworks for some twenty years. She passed away on December 3 after a battle with breast cancer.
- Consent Calendar
RESOLUTION NO. 1206-04-255
Approval: RESOLVED, that this Commission does hereby adopt the following items on the amended Consent Calendar and their related Resolutions:
Approval of Committee Minutes
- RESOLUTION NO. 1206-04-256: Motion to approve the Civic Design Review Committee Meeting Minutes of October 18, 2004.
- RESOLUTION NO. 1206-04-257: Motion to approve the Nominating Committee Meeting Minutes of November 1, 2004.
- RESOLUTION NO. 1206-04-258: Motion to approve the Community Arts and Education Committee Meeting Minutes of November 9, 2004.
- RESOLUTION NO. 1206-04-259: Motion to approve the Civic Design Review Committee Meeting Minutes of November 15, 2004.
Community Arts and Education Committee Recommendations (November 9, 2004)
- RESOLUTION NO. 1206-04-260: Motion for Director of Cultural Affairs to award WritersCorps youth internships to Jorge Aburto, Antonio Caceres, Luz Aburto and Thea Matthews, not to exceed $10,000, from WritersCorps Earned Income, Miranda Lux Foundation and 2003-2004 Carryforward.
- RESOLUTION NO. 1206-04-261: Motion for Director of Cultural Affairs to modify the contract of WritersCorps Log Cabin Ranch teacher Kimberly Nelson from $19,602 to $31,722, supported by funds from the Department of Juvenile Probation.
- RESOLUTION NO. 1206-04-262: Motion to approve a grant for $25,000 to the San Francisco Unified School District to support the development of a City and County Master Arts Education Plan from the Youth Arts Fund.
Civic Design Review Committee Recommendations (November 15, 2004)
- RESOLUTION NO. 1206-04-263: Motion to approve seismic upgrades of Bay Division Pipelines 3 and 4 at the Hayward Fault Crossing Phase 1.
- RESOLUTION NO. 1206-04-264: Motion to approve Forest Knoll Pump Station and Storage Tank Upgrades Phase 1.
- RESOLUTION NO. 1206-04-265: Motion to approve location of the California Japantown Landmark Project Phases 1 and 2.
- Committee Reports
- Executive Committee—P.J. Johnston, Chair
- There was no meeting of the Committee. Commissioners Johnston and Brown met with Mr. Newirth and Ms. Gonchar to discuss their new roles. President Johnston reiterateed that the goal is to reshape the responsibilities and duties of the Committee to deliberate policy and planning rather than more routine financial matters better handled in other committees.
- RESOLUTION NO. 1206-04-266: Motion to approve the following individuals for the Cultural Equity Grants panel pool:
Melissa Chittick, Executive Director, San Francisco Silent Film Festival
Sherwood Chen, San Francisco Foundation
Julie Mushet, World Arts West
Helen S. Cohen, co-director, Women’s Educational Media
- Civic Design Review Committee—William Meyer, Chair
- Commissioner Meyer presented the following motion from the Civic Design Review Committee.
- RESOLUTION NO. 1206-04-267: Motion to approve Forest Knoll Pump Station and Storage Tank Upgrades Phase 2.
- Community Arts and Education Committee—Blanche Brown, Chair
- President Johnston reported that the Committee had a good meeting, with an extensive presentation on WritersCorps.
- Street Artists Committee
- There was no meeting of the Street Artists Committee. Program Director Howard Lazar advised that he expects high interest in the January meeting.
- RESOLUTION NO. 1206-04-268: Motion to approve request by former certificate-holder for priority issuance of certificate with waiver of re-screening of wares: Barbara Giles.
- Visual Arts Committee
- There was no meeting of the Visual Arts Committee.
- Reports and Announcements
- Mr. Newirth added that other budget proposals under discussion included cuts to the Opera, the Ballet and the Symphony allocations, as well as the Convention and Visitors’ Bureau; and a possible “impact fee” to be charged for hotel rooms. President Johnston observed that this is a period of flux in the City.
- Commissioner Meyer reported that the dome of the Palace of Fine Arts had been repainted. The color is part of the original palette; the rest of the building will eventually be repainted using that original palette, although it may take years before it is all painted. This decision followed a lengthy study conducted by a historical consultant on the building.
- Commissioners had been previously advised by Commission Secretary Sharon Page Ritchie that the regularly scheduled date of the Commission’s October 3 meeting fell on Rosh Hashanah, and that the following Monday, October 10, is a City holiday. She sought suggestions for alternative dates for that month’s meeting. President Johnston reported that this matter is still under discussion, and noted that October 11 is a Board of Supervisors meeting day.
- Public Comment
There was no public comment on any item of this agenda unless so noted.
There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 4:10 p.m., in memory of Marnie Gillett.