COMMUNITY ARTS, EDUCATION, AND GRANTS
Tuesday, November 8,
25 Van Ness Avenue,
Commissioners Present: Sherene Melania, Kimberlee
Stryker, Sherri Young
Commissioners Absent: John Calloway, Jessica
Staff Present: Community Arts and
Education Program Director Judy Nemzoff, Cultural Equity Grants Program
Director E. San San Wong, Community Arts and Education Program Manager Robynn
Takayama, Civic Design Review Program Manager Vicky Knoop, Public Relations
Manager Kate Patterson, Cultural Equity Grants Program Associate Weston Teruya,
Cultural Equity Grants Program Associate Jaime Cortez, Cultural Equity Grants
Program Associate Lucy K. Lin, Cultural Equity Grants Program Associate Beatrice
Thomas, Community Arts and Education Program Associate Cristal Fiel, Cultural
Equity Grants Program Assistant Corinne Matesich
1. Community Arts and Education Program Director
1. Community Arts and
Education (“CAE”) Program Manager Robynn Takayama gave an update about The
ARTery Project, an effort to support and sustain arts in the Central Market
corridor. This fiscal year, CAE collaborated with Mission Cultural Center for
Latino Arts and kicked off The ARTery Project with a series of three dance
classes at U.N. Plaza. This dance class series was in response to a request
from the mayor to activate U.N. Plaza with programming on Tuesdays to
supplement the Off the Grid food trucks. The dance classes were held Tuesdays,
October 25, November 1, and November 8, with an estimated 400 to 500 onlookers and
participants each day. The dance class series would re-launch in 2012.
Turning to the motion, CAE Program Director Judy
Nemzoff stated that this dance class series was a great example of high impact
with low-cost programming. Interim Director of Cultural Affairs JD Beltran has
recognized the importance of continuing to program along Central Market, and
has dedicated $25,000 for the fiscal year to The ARTery Project. CAE will work
to stretch out the money throughout the year with the same sort of low-cost
programming, and support existing programs in the area through marketing.
Ms. Nemzoff reported that there was a pending National
Endowment for the Arts grant that, if awarded, would support the continuation
of The ARTery Project. The plan would be to re-grant the award and invite
community artists and community arts organizations to contribute ideas for how
to activate the neighborhood. Ms. Nemzoff commented that CAE is continuing to
work closely with the Office of Economic and Workforce Development (“OWED”) in
the Central Market revitalization efforts.
Ms. Takayama added that CAE was continuing to support
the community arts organizations in Central Market by providing resources. For example,
staff offered a CAE photography intern to shoot the luggage store’s recent In The Moment art auction and benefit.
Commissioner Stryker asked if there would be a similar
block party like the Art in Storefronts launch in May 2011.
Ms. Nemzoff stated that there would be something similar
to the Art in Storefronts street celebration, but on a smaller scale. There was
no signature moment for such a street celebration to occur at that time, but
CAE was working with the community organizations and OEWD to build program
Commissioner Young asked what CAE would plan to do with
The ARTery Project money presented in the motion.
Ms. Nemzoff said that CAE would continue the dance
class series and convene one to two celebrations before the close of the fiscal
year. If the motion passed, CAE staff would work with community organizations
to support marketing and publicity. She stated that the program details have
yet to be laid out, but CAE staff was in the process of mapping out a plan.
2. Motion to
approve $25,000 from 28POP501 to be allocated to the Community Arts and
Education program to continue to support and sustain The ARTery Project along
the Central Market corridor.
The motion was passed unanimously.
2. Cultural Equity Grants Program Director Report
Melania made a motion to approve the
following individuals as grants application review panelists for Cultural
Jerome Reyes, Conceptual artist,
researcher, and educator
Jenny Bilfield, Artistic &
Executive Director, Stanford Lively Arts
Beth Rubenstein, Executive
Director, Out of Site Center for Arts Education
The motion was passed
Cultural Equity Grants Program Director E. San San Wong
presented an overview of the Grantmakers in the Arts (“GIA”) and “Beyond
Dynamic Adaptability” conferences. She introduced the three themes on the
agenda that reflected sessions at the GIA conference: knowing or re-imagining
of place; changing demographics and new aesthetics; and artists driving and
framing relevant meaning in social justice movements.
GIA is an arts and culture affinity group bridging public and private
philanthropies that supports the field by providing timely information on the
arts ecology and promoting best practices in arts grantmaking through advocacy,
convening, blogging, webinars, special initiatives, white papers and reports,
and an annual conference. For example, their recent study examined the impact
of the decline of public funding on private philanthropy, specifically looking
at the historic mandate of public funders in serving neighborhoods and a broader
spectrum of demographics, and raising the question of: as the population
becoming more diverse and less public funding, should private foundations
broaden their scope of work to include greater breadth of communities served,
non-financial support systems, public policy, etc.
Speaking first on the theme of place, Cultural Equity Grants Program Associate
Jaime Cortez reported on the “Redistricting the Arts” session, which included
case studies of cultural mapping and census projects. LA Stage Alliance created
a multi-faceted website which allowed individuals to search for a venue, or to
make a space available as a venue for cultural events. Benefits from this
endeavor, included: providing increased publicity and access to potential
clients for 400+ venues; and small presenting groups and new/alternative spaces
gaining access to new markets. In Massachusetts, The Center for Infinitely
Small Things created “City Formerly Known as Cambridge” where passers-by
inputted new names for streets, monuments and alleys along with an explanation
into a computerized mapping application. Rebecca Solnit’s “Infinite City,” part
of SFMOMA’s anniversary celebration, produced 22 broadside maps which later
were collected into an atlas published by UC Berkeley Press. One map featured
historic queer bars juxtaposed with local butterfly populations; another
depicted the Bay Area’s right wing think tanks for military research,
challenging the perception of the Bay Area as left-wing; and another, the
indigenous tribes, and diminishing and emerging populations.
Cultural Equity Grants Program
Associates Lucy Lin and Weston Teruya spoke next about how artists, architects
and designers are engaging in ”public interest design,” the intersection of
public service and design, which provides new models of working that recognize
social wealth and knowledge in communities. Rather than design for people, “public interest design” is
about designing with people,
emphasizing the creation of lasting public value. Ms. Lin spoke about Studio
H’s work with students from Bertie Co. to redesign sites, such as school
district and farmers markets. Youth were taught the skills of designers and
architects, and community members did the construction. Mr. Teruya presented
Theaster Gates’s Rebuild Foundation, whose work reflects the cross-sector
values and strategies of the Arts & Communities: Innovative Partnerships
grants program. In St. Louis, MO, he engaged youth to re-imagine and renovate
an abandoned residence at the back of a church as performance space with
community gardens. At Black Cinema House in Chicago, residents worked with the
film society to screen the work of black filmmakers outdoors.
Commissioner Melania commented on
how wonderful the presentations were so far.
Under the theme changing demographics
and new aesthetics, Cultural Equity Grants Program Associate Beatrice Thomas
spoke about her three-hour GIA session co-developed with Kevin Seaman of The
San Francisco Foundation, entitled “Queering the Arts” which examined the
emerging economies and aesthetics in San Francisco’s LGBTQI community. Ms.
Thomas spoke of San Francisco’s rich history of queer and LGBT work, and the
power and velocity of queer arts organizations. Session presenters included
Sean Dorsey from Fresh Meat Productions, Vanessa Camarena Arredondo about her
all female bomba group, and Kebo Drew from Queer Women of Color Media Arts
Project. The aesthetics of queer work focuses on: politics and body; blending
of media types—visual and collage and media; constant dialogue between
discipline and genre; claiming a history, and reimagining it with a sense of
ownership; and increased diversity. Ms. Wong mentioned that CEG brings arts
practices prevalent in San Francisco such as this to the attention of national
funders so they can invest here.
Commissioner Melania spoke about
two of her resident artist groups who are redeveloping gender roles, and
representing and relating their culture to the LGBT community. She raised the
tensions to hold onto tradition, and the fear of disrespecting a culture in the
process. Ms. Wong followed about claiming of identity and reimagining a shift
in context, citing two CEG grantees, Patrick Makuakane and CounterPULSE’s
Performing Diaspora. Mr. Cortez added that these new aesthetics spoke to the
particulars of San Francisco; the NAACT grant was not designed to be queer
specific, but we have had many applicants interested in queering Native
history. Ms. Wong mentioned Bay Area Two
Spirits, a partner in the development of NAACT grants, and on the feasibility
study. CAE Program Director Judy Nemzoff asked whether artist should push the
boundaries around sexuality, gender, etc. Ms. Thomas commented that big issues
were accessing and bringing in the community, and how measures of excellence
were defined. Mr. Cortez mentioned that for some, the disconnection from the
main tribe might allow a safe vantage point in form identity, however some
others still find it difficult to name themselves as queer within their
traditional or culturally specific community.
Commissioner Young spoke about
“Shift Happens,” a session focused on changing demographics in terms of age,
youth, immigration, the emerging tipping point of the minority becoming the
majority, and how arts funders can prepare and respond. She discussed the need
to not only diversify “mainstream” organizations and programming, or do
outreach, but to build the capacity within communities of color, like
strengthening boards of diverse organizations.
Lastly, Mr. Teruya and Mr. Cortez
talked about CultureStrike, an innovative national artists collaborative lead
by Favianna Rodriguez, Jeff Chang and Air Traffic Control, focused how arts and
non-arts services can form respectful, art-centered practices with social and
Ms. Nemzoff commented on the role
of the artist in the WPA and the 60’s, and the current renewal of community
arts; societal forces causing a relook at community arts; and a movement away
from big cultural institutions. Mr. Cortez referenced the scholarship and
legitimization of social practice tracks in MFA programs. Community Arts &
Education Program Manager Robynn Takayama related her experience with the art
making at Occupy Oakland. Ms. Nemzoff added that people were concerned that
social media would take community apart, but instead it provides access.
Commissioner Stryker said that she
was delighted to see all that was discussed, and the critical importance of
supporting people at the bottom as they have the most honest voice.
Public Relations Manager Kate
Patterson commented that she thought it was important to communicate the many
rich stories that come out of the granting process that we help seed and
nurture in generating support for CEG. Ms. Thomas closed by saying that CEG’s
Arts & Communities: Innovative Partnerships program exemplifies new
community thinking, and at the GIA conference, she could see the prominence of
its strategy discussed amongst funders.
3. Public Comment
There was no public comment made.
4. Old Business
Commissioner Melania asked for an update regarding
an assessment of the Arts Education Master Plan (“AEMP”).
Ms. Nemzoff stated that the San Francisco
Unified School District (“SFUSD”) has hired an evaluator to do an internal
assessment. There had been a recent meeting with the SFUSD Visual and Performing
Arts (“VAPA”) office and individuals involved with Prop H funds where it had
been decided that the Arts Commission would not pursue a separate evaluation.
Commissioner Melania asked if the Arts
Commission would reassess the AEMP based on this evaluation.
Ms. Nemzoff stated that it would reassess its
role with the AEMP in general, and hold meetings with stakeholders to figure
out the Arts Commission’s relationship to the AEMP.
5. New Business
There was no new business.
There being no further business,
the meeting was adjourned at 5:03 p.m.