COMMUNITY ARTS, EDUCATION, and GRANTS COMMITTEE
Tuesday, May 8, 2007
25 Van Ness Avenue, Suite 70
The Meeting was called to order at 4:37 p.m.
Commissioners Present: José Cuellar, Maya Draisin, Janice Mirikitani
Staff Present: E. San San Wong, Robynn Takayama, Judy Nemzeff, Dia Penning, Ebony McKinney
- Cultural Equity Grants Program Director Report
Cultural Equity Grants Program Director San San Wong began with a report on the Individual Artist Commission (“IAC”) panels. The Cultural Equity Grant program was able to fund 48% of applicants due to the supplemental funding. Normally, Cultural Equity Grants is only able to fund 28-35% of the pool.
Ms. Wong explained that the panels went well. The policy discussions following the panels gave new insights on ways to improve the Cultural Equity Grant application, about the state of the field, about how artists are creating structures to support themselves, and on the development of new genres.
Cultural Equity Grants will forward IAC recommendations and panel comments to the Committee the week of May 21 so that Committee members may have more time to review them prior to the full Commission meeting.
Ms. Wong stated her intention to move IAC earlier in the fiscal year so that the Cultural Equity Grants program has more time to encumber almost one million dollars worth of grants (between IAC and OPG grants) before the end of the fiscal year. Under the current schedule, it is difficult to process the large number of grants in the short period of time between their approval by the full Commission and the end of the fiscal year.
She also explained that the Special Project Grant program is on hiatus until staff can more clearly define its purpose. It has been a discretionary grant given to small volunteer-based groups. She would like to clarify whether this grant is intended for a particular constituency, as support for small projects, as emergency support, or for new initiatives.
Also under evaluation is the multi-year Organizational Project Grant. Ms. Wong would like to truly make these grants multi-year, rather than merely facilitating the second year of the application process.
The Cultural Equity Grant guidelines are also being revised, Director Wong explained, with a focus on streamlining language to remove inconsistencies and redundancies, and on keeping the application process transparent.
Additionally, category-specific applications will allow proposal questions and forms to be simplified and more specific, which in turn will help with the review process. After the staff makes the revisions, a group of 8-12 community reviewers who represent different functions, communities and levels of experience with the CEG program will be closely reviewing and providing feedback on the guidelines. These new guidelines will be available in July. Ms. Wong wanted to review the direction of the guidelines changes, as well as the revision process with the Committee; the Committee approved of this direction and process.
Ms. Wong also updated the Commissioners on the progress of the California Cultural Database (“CCD”), which will allow for facilitation of applications to multiple funders, and for arts organizations to create meaningful quantitative reports such as five-year audience analysis, year-end reports, etc. The aggregate information will also be useful to supply data as a tool for policy. CCD is being funded by a coalition of funders including the lead funders Irvine Foundation, Hewlett Foundation and California Arts Council, as well as over 30 other funders, including SFAC and Grants for the Arts. CCD will be implemented in California during the 2008-2009 fiscal year.
Ms. Wong also spoke about our new approach to application workshops. These restructured workshops include an emphasis on technical assistance on how to write and strategize grant proposals, followed by a review of the specific Cultural Equity Grant program application, requirements and review process. Draft review assistance is also available. Additionally, applicants are invited to view examples of successful proposals. CEG staff also provides an overview of all the programs of the Arts Commission.
Ms. Wong reported on the new community grants initiative planning workshops which took place in five communities. Questions were raised around issues such as: incorporating innovative practice; whether new or ongoing projects are eligible; neighborhood and/or community focus; whether planning and implementation grants should be awarded; and whether matching funds should be required. We hope to structure the initiative with a learning-based philosophy and emphasis on: sharing knowledge; bringing grantees together for peer support; ways the Arts Commission can share knowledge; and evaluative processes to clearly articulate and assess desired outcomes.
Ms. Wong explained that community reviewers, this Committee and the Executive Committee will be invited to comment on the new grant initiative guidelines when the latest draft is completed. Ms. Wong stated that the initiative schedule is still in development.
She explained that one of the most productive community meetings on the new initiative was held at the Alliance for California Traditional Arts. Participants discussed how traditional arts organizations combine artistic, cultural, educational, financial and medical programming to meet the needs of immigrant communities. Finally, Ms. Wong said that over 150 people participated in these community meetings, and she reported that the public really appreciated the Art Commission holding meetings.
Ms. Wong spoke about her plan to create a year-end report on the Cultural Equity Grants Program. The report will be released to the public.
Cultural Equity Grant assessment and planning are foremost on Ms. Wong’s agenda. She explained that a formal internal analysis has never been done, but would be very helpful to the evolution of the program. Her goal is to ensure that Cultural Equity Grants continues to be relevant.
Ms. Wong has also been part of a planning group, convened by the San Francisco Foundation and Grants for the Arts, which is developing a series of meetings on best practices, with the goal of bringing together organizations of all budget sizes to see how they share many of the same challenges and how they can learn from each other. Ms. Wong has been working specifically on the best practice session on the subject of changing demographics. Some other topics include new media, sustainability and audience development. These best practices sessions will take place during July, August and September.
Ms. Wong is also observing and participating in entrepreneurial training seminars for individual artists conducted by the Center for Cultural Innovation, and sponsored by the Fund for Artists.
Lastly, Cultural Equity Grants and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts are in discussion about an initiative for emerging arts administrators of color. As one of the goals of CEG is to strengthen organizations and build capacity for historically underserved communities, this initiative fits well. This initiative is still in an exploratory stage.
- WritersCorps Report
WritersCorps Project Manager Janet Heller announced two upcoming WritersCorps events. The first is at the Giants baseball game on May 21, where two WritersCorps youth will read poetry at home plate before the game. This will be an opportunity for Commissioners, staff and youth to get to know each other in a fun atmosphere. The second event is the annual Book Festival on May 24 at the Main Library.
- Community Arts and Education Program Director Report
Community Arts and Education Program Director Judy Nemzoff reported on the Programs in the Community Grant, which is intended for artists who serve community rather than artists who make work about community. Lack of clarity on this program’s goal brought down the score on several wonderful projects that might rank higher in the new grants initiative. The guidelines will be released this summer. Due to additional funding this year, grant awards were increased, although matching funding is still required.
Commissioner Mirikitani made the following motion:
Motion to approve the Programs in the Community (PIC) grant to the following PIC grantee organizations, recommended by the PIC review panel, pending written confirmation of funding from Grants for the Arts:
Central City Hospitality House $19,000
Urban Services YMCA $19,000
Filipino-American Development Foundation $19,000
Bayview Hunters Point Foundation for Bayview Hunters Point 3rd Street Youth Center and Clinic $19,000
Larkin Street Youth Services $19,000
Rose Resnick Lighthouse for the Blind & Visually Impaired $19,000
Boys & Girls Clubs of SF $19,000
Institute on Aging $19,000
Youth Guidance Center $19,000
San Francisco Parks Trust for Friends of Boeddeker Park $19,000
Literacy for Environmental Justice $18,998.31
World Savvy $19,000
The motion passed unanimously.
Ms. Nemzoff explained that because of the increase in funding this year we were able to fund two additional festivals.
Commissioner Draisin made the following motion:
Motion to approve Neighborhood Festival grants pending written confirmation from Grants for the Arts:
Uprising Community for Andrew’s Boarding and Boarding Care, Andrew’s Boarding and Boarding Care’s 4th of July Picnic, $3,000
San Francisco Foundation Community Initiative Funds for Excelsior Action Group, Excelsior Festival, $3,000
San Francisco Parks Trust for Bernal Heights Outdoor Cinema's Bernal Heights Outdoor Cinema, $3,000
Potrero Hill Neighborhood House, Inc., Potrero Hill Festival, $3,000
Reclaiming Collective for Marigold Project’s Dia de los Muertos Festival of Altars, $2,500
Visitacion Valley Community Development Corporation for Visitacion Valley Business Opportunities and Outreach to Merchants’ Leland Avenue Street Fair, $3,000
Community Development Institute for South of Market Community Action Network’s SOMAfest, $3,000
Sunset Youth Services for Sunset District Neighborhood Coalition, Sunset Community Festival, $3,000
North of Market/Tenderloin Community Benefit District, Santa Sightings, $3,000
San Francisco Foundation Community Initiative Funds for Portola Neighborhood Steering Committee, Portola Festival, $3,000
OMI Cultural Participation Project, OMI International Family Festival, $3,000
The motion passed unanimously.
- Arts Education Report
Arts Education Program Manager Dia Penning introduced herself to the Commissioners. she reported that the upcoming fiscal year will be a transition and final year for the Arts Education Funders Collaborative (“AEFC”). Ms. Penning and Ms. Nemzoff will continue to work with AEFC to determine possible new ways to work together after 2007-2008. Ms. Penning will be working on a series of forums and panels about arts education and revamping the Inside Out website.
- Building and Grounds Superintendent Report
Commissioner Mirikitani made the following motion:
Motion to enter into a grant agreement, not to exceed $11,270, for graffiti abatement at SomArts.
The motion passed unanimously.
London Breed from the African American Art and Culture Complex spoke to the Commissioners about her concern for the Cultural Centers and the difficulty of meeting expanding program and facilities needs at the same time with limited financial resources. She expressed confusion about the one million dollars added to the Arts Commission’s budget for the current and upcoming fiscal years and encouraged the Commission to consider allocating additional funds to support the programs of the Cultural Centers.
Ms. Nemzoff reminded Commissioners that the June meeting will be a review of the Management and Program Plans (“MPP”) for the seven Cultural Centers for grant allocations for 2007-2008. She asked Commissioners to review the mid-year reports and the draft matrix to help prepare for the review of the MPPs.
Representatives from ArtHouse, a subsidiary of California Lawyers for the Arts, asked for the Arts Commission to consider providing funds to research development and land use as it relates to the artist colony at the Hunters Point shipyard. They stated that with 350 artist studios, this colony is the largest on the West Coast, and at 49 years, one of the oldest. They said that the studios are in jeopardy, and they acknowledge that the Mayor has stated his intention to replace any space lost. ArtHouse would like funding to facilitate this process and request that the Arts Commission focus more attention on live-work and rehearsal space.
The Meeting was adjourned at 5:45 p.m.
Explanatory documents are available for public inspection and copying at the Arts Commission office, 25 Van Ness Ave, Suite 240, San Francisco CA 94102 during regular business hours. Tel: INFO: (Ebony McKinney, 415-252-2553).
Public comment in regard to specific items will be taken before or during consideration of the item.
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