Community Investments Committee - January 13, 2021 - Minutes

Meeting Date: 
January 13, 2021 - 1:00pm


Tuesday, January 13, 2021

1 p.m.

Remote Meeting via video and teleconferencing



Chair Collins called the meeting to order at 1:13 p.m.


  1. Roll Call

    Commissioners Present

    Charles Collins, Chair
    Suzanne Ferras
    Nabiel Musleh
    Roberto Ordeñana
    Marcus Shelby
    Janine Shiota

    Commissioner Absent

    Linda Parker-Peninngton

    Staff Present

    Joanne Lee, Deputy Director of Programs
    Tina Wiley, Program Officer, Community Investments

    Chair Charles Collins announced virtual meeting instructions.

    Program Associate Lorena Moreno announced public comment instructions.

    Commissioner Collins announced that Item 4 was moved out of sequence after General Public Comment Item 2 to ensure a quorum and sufficient time for public comment and a robust conversation of Item 3.

  2. General Public Comment

    Fay Darmawi submitted the following email statement read by Program Associate Lorena Moreno:

    Thank you for your service in support of arts in SF. We are very appreciative that this year there is a focus on racial equity. The arts, as society in general, has not been a level playing field, especially with respect to access to funding for the arts. Artists and communities of color have been impacted the most by COVID19 and need respite and support, especially to participate in the arts because of its healing and transformational effects. 

    To this end, I would love to see more transparency on which artists and organizations have received funding under Prop E that was passed by SF voters in late 2018.  I would love to see an accounting of dollar amounts as well as the racial make-up of the leadership of the recipient organizations.  This baseline is needed to see if there is progress being made in addressing SFAC's racial equity goals. 


    Fay Darmawi 
    Founder and Executive Director 
    SF Urban Film Fest 

    There was no additional public comment.

  3. 2021-2023 SFAC Grant Review Panelists 

    Discussion and possible motion to approve the following panelists to serve, as selected by staff, on SFAC review panels for the 2021-2022 and 2022-2023 fiscal years:

    Adam Morris, Academic/Educator

    Afshan Tania D'souza-Lodhi, Arts Administrator

    Alexander Benjamin Craghead, Academic/Educator

    Alexandra Kostoulas, Arts Administrator

    Alma Herrera-Pazmino, Arts Administrator

    Amanda Andrei, Practicing Artist

    Amanda Bornstein, Arts Supporter/Enthusiast

    Amanda Hughen, Practicing Artist

    Amy L. Berk, Academic/Educator

    Anastasia Herold, Arts Administrator

    Andrew Nelson An Westover, Academic/Educator

    Angela Newsham, Practicing Artist

    Aprill Lacey, Arts Administrator

    Ariana Martinez, Academic/Educator

    Audrey Thao Berger, Arts Administrator

    Bhumi Patel, Academic/Educator

    Brandi Mack, Academic/Educator

    Brenden Darby, Academic/Educator

    Brennan James DeFrisco, Academic/Educator

    Bridget Palmer, Academic/Educator

    Bruce Baker, Arts Administrator

    Brynn Hurlstone, Academic/Educator

    Catherine Lipsetz Dauer, Arts Supporter/Enthusiast

    Cathy Lu, Practicing Artist

    Crystal Elekwachi, Practicing Artist

    Cesar Cadabes, Practicing Artist

    Danica Sachs, Arts Administrator

    Daria Kaufman, Practicing Artist

    David Herrera, Arts Administrator

    David Lee-Burleigh, Practicing Artist

    Denise Pate, Cultural Worker

    Dianne Griffin, Practicing Artist

    Duygu Gun, Arts Administrator

    Earl Marciano Walls, Academic/Educator

    Elizabeth Harvey, Arts Administrator

    Elyse Mar, Practicing Artist

    Emily Aldama, Academic/Educator

    Emma Crane Jaster, Academic/Educator

    Erina Alej, Academic/Educator

    Ethen Wood, Academic/Educator

    Evelyn Orantes, Arts Administrator

    Frederick Alvarado, Academic/Educator

    Gabriel Christian DeLeon, Practicing Artist

    Henry Pacheco, Practicing Artist

    Imani Sims, Arts Administrator

    Jackson Cooper, Arts Administrator

    James Kass, Academic/Educator

    Janani Ramachandran, Practicing Artist

    Jasmine L. Blanks Jones, Academic/Educator

    Jennifer Ewing, Academic/Educator

    Jennifer Wells Starkweather, Academic/Educator

    Jordan Wilson-Dalzell, Practicing Artist

    Jorge Antonio Ortega, Practicing Artist

    Joseph Copley-Venturo Diaz, Arts Administrator

    Karla Brundage, Academic/Educator

    Katherine Robles-Ayala, Practicing Artist

    Kathryn Frances Pfaff, Arts Administrator

    Kathy Chu, Arts Supporter/Enthusiast

    Kay E. Anderson, Academic/Educator

    Kelly Lynn Falzone Inouye, Practicing Artist

    Kimberly Shuck, Practicing Artist

    Kyle Casey Chu, Practicing Artist

    Laura Gabriela Amador, Academic/Educator

    Leilani Salvador, Academic/Educator

    Lisa Lui, Arts Administrator

    Maeve Altas Sullivan, Arts Administrator

    Maeven McGovern, Academic/Educator

    MalikHeru Jawanza Seneferu, Practicing Artist

    Mary Carbonara, Academic/Educator

    Maxim Khusid, Arts Supporter/Enthusiast

    Megan Lowe, Academic/Educator

    Melvign Badiola, Practicing Artist

    Michal Jones, Academic/Educator

    Monica Eo'Mailani Flores, Arts Administrator

    Nalini Elias, Arts Administrator

    Nancy Taylor, Academic/Educator

    Nanette Cooper-McGuinness, Academic/Educator

    Nepunnee Birondo, Arts Supporter/Enthusiast

    Nicole Lavay-Mullenix, Academic/Educator

    Nikoo Mamdoohi, Practicing Artist

    Patricia Ann Zamora, Academic/Educator

    Patrick Ohslund, Academic/Educator

    Paul Stojsavljevic-Flores, Academic/Educator

    Peter Belkin, Academic/Educator

    PJ Gubatina Policarpio, Academic/Educator

    Ploy Pirapokin, Academic/Educator

    Preeti Vangani, Academic/Educator

    Prishni I. Murillo, Arts Supporter/Enthusiast

    Ramon Silvestre, Academic/Educator

    Raphael Vincent Noz, Academic/Educator

    Reginald Edmonds, Arts Administrator

    Roberta D'Alois, Arts Administrator

    Rodney E. Jackson Jr., Arts Administrator

    Ryan Anthony Martinez, Academic/Educator

    Sandy Vázquez, Academic/Educator

    Sarah Maloney, Academic/Educator

    Shannon Price, Academic/Educator

    Shawn Rosenmoss, Practicing Artist

    Sheba Aaberg, Academic/Educator

    Shoresh Alaudini, Academic/Educator

    Steven Clark Loscutoff, Arts Administrator

    Steven Vasquez Lopez, Academic/Educator

    Syd Staiti, Arts Administrator

    Taiwo Okunola Afolab, Academic/Educator

    Teresa L. Concepcion, Arts Administrator

    Thomas Wade McClai, Arts Supporter/Enthusiast

    Tiffany Minaret Sakato, Arts Administrator

    Toby Klayman, Academic/Educator

    Torange Yeghiazarian, Practicing Artist

    Tracy T. Brown, Academic/Educator

    Trella Walker, Arts Supporter/Enthusiast

    Ty Mckenzie, Arts Administrator

    Vanessa Ramos, Arts Administrator

    Victoria Araiza, Academic/Educator

    Winifred Ruth Day, Arts Administrator

    Zachary Kopciak, Academic/Educator


    Commissioner Janine Shiota, seconded by Commissioner Shelby moved to approve the motion, as presented.

    There was no public comment.

    The motion carried unanimously by the following vote:

    Ayes: Collins, Ferras, Musleh, Ordeñana, Shelby, and Shiota

  4. Arts Impact Endowment Overview

    Staff presentation and discussion on the Arts Impact Endowment grantee goals and objectives.

                 Explanatory Document: Arts Impact Endowment Overview

    Commissioner Charles Collins thanked the thinly staffed Community Investments team for pulling this special meeting together on top of their regular workload. He announced this meeting as a follow up to the December 2020 Full Arts Commission meeting where grants from the Arts Impact Endowment (AIE) were approved and a special committee meeting was requested to further discuss the programmatic goals and outcomes. Commissioner Collins noted that the comments made at the December 2020 meeting were extremely important to the Commissioners who wanted to ensure the community was heard and that the actions taken ensured the efficacy of the programs in place. He further noted the AIE funds will go out into the community six months faster than the other annual grants. Sankofa, Arts Hub, Re-opening Safely and Universal Basic Income grants cycle begin this month, while all other grant cycles begin in July 2021. With the exception of the Arts Hub, the AIE grants are re-granting programs where the vast majority of the funds will go to BIPOC artists, cultural workers, teaching artists and arts and cultural nonprofits in San Francisco. He congratulated to Bayview Hunters Point Center for Arts and Technology, the Alliance for California Traditional Arts, the Boys and Girls Club, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts and Community Vision for their awards.

    Commissioner Collins recognized the urgency to regrant these funds in order to address the critical needs during the pandemic and commended the staff for acting quickly and responsibly. He expressed appreciation to the grantees in attendance who were prepared to answer any questions. He acknowledged difficulty in developing new grant programs and managing the application selection process. He recognized these grants are not the usual operating and programmatic grants awarded to small and mid-size organizations, but are larger grants awarded to larger organizations not typically funded by the San Francisco Arts Commission (SFAC) as the AIE is jointly administered by the SFAC and Grants for the Arts (GFTA). He went on to say that the awards are much larger because the funds were to be regranted to community-based organizations, individual artists and cultural workers. The grantee organizations received modest administrative fees to support the administration of these programs. Commissioner Collins further recognized that it was the Commission’s job to ensure the regranted dollars are handled with great care and attention to the SFAC’s racial equity values and goals, as well as other policies and procedures that are in place. 

    Commissioner Collins once again gave copious thanks to the Community Investments staff for their diligent work.

    Commissioner Collins then introduced Deputy Director Joanne Lee to present the AIE grantee goals and objectives. Deputy Director Lee announced once again that representatives from each of the grantee organizations were in attendance to listen to the dialogue, which will help inform their program design and community outreach strategies. Deputy Director Lee introduced Program Officer for Arts Education and Creative Exploration Tina Wiley, Acting Director Denise Bradley-Tyson and Senior Program Officer Jaren Bonillo who would assist in answering questions, if needed.

    Deputy Director Lee gave an overview of Proposition E, the development of the Cultural Services Allocation Plan (CSAP) and the AIE. She acknowledged that the majority of the grantees are white-led organizations that have track records working with communities of color, as well as diverse staff and boards of directors. She noted the application’s competitive scoring rubric included demonstrated experience with outreach to BIPOC, LGBTQ communities, as well as experience with developing application processes that are accessible and low barrier. She noted that the recipients of these regranted funds are organizations who prioritize BIPOC, LGBTQ, immigrant and disabled populations and those who have been disproportionately impacted by Covid-19.

    Deputy Director Lee further noted the AIE was also informed by the discussions and recommendations from the Economic Recovery Task Force where she served as staff support for the Arts, Culture, Hospitality and Entertainment working group. Lee shared a synthesis of the recommendations of the Economic Recovery Task Force’s four working groups whose common themes included the need for immediate financial assistance for individuals, businesses owners and nonprofits. For the Arts, Culture, Hospitality and Entertainment working group specifically, the major themes were 1) re-opening safely 2) requests for public health guidance and resources 3) activating spaces as a strategy to foster community cohesiveness, employ artists and stimulate neighborhood economic recovery 4) employing artists and cultural workers in recovery efforts 5) protecting assets and real estate assets.

    Deputy Director Lee gave an overview of how the SFAC responded to these recommendations and the public health crisis: 1) launched the Arts and Artist Relief Fund 2) pivoted grants to general operating grants and laxed reporting requirements 3) supported programs from other City agencies. Lee went on to describe the three grant opportunities and the Sankofa Initiative in detail, including their mechanisms and priorities. Lee added that this grant cycle was a pilot year for Sankofa and the AIE and that moving forward SFAC staff plans to revisit programmatic priorities and grant processes. Lee then gave a brief overview of each of the grant programs and introduced the grantees: Universal Basic Income awarded to Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (YBCA), Re-Opening Safely awarded to Community Vision, and Arts Hub awarded to Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (YBCA).

    Deputy Director Lee introduced Program Officer Tina Wiley who gave an overview of the Sankofa Initiative. Program Officer Tina Wiley stated for the record that this was the first grant category she developed at the SFAC noted she was hired in August 2019 as a program associate and in February 2020 was promoted as the program officer for Arts Education. With guidance from Senior Program Officer Jaren Bonillo, Wiley reduced the usual six to eight month grant timeline by 50 percent, completing the process within three to four months, which was unprecedented for Wiley, Bonillo and the entire Community Investments staff. Program Officer Wiley then gave an overview of the Sankofa Initiative and introduced the grantees: 1) Cultural Preservation awarded to Alliance of California Traditional Arts (ACTA) 2) Technology & Supplies Access awarded to Bayview Hunters Point Center for Arts & Technology (BAYCAT) 3) Professional & Wellness Development awarded to Boys and Girls Clubs of San Francisco (BGCSF).

    Acting Director Denise Bradley-Tyson gave thanks to Deputy Director Joanne Lee, Program Officer Tina Wiley and the entire Community Investments team in supporting the arts ecosystem during the public health crisis. She acknowledged grant-making processes are lengthy and she was thrilled staff acted nimbly to implement a comprehensive grant program in a timely way, which allowed funds to arrive in the hands of the community well in advance of the third quarter. She acknowledged the North Star for these funds were the ultimate beneficiaries: BIPOC, LGBTQ, migrant and disabled artists and cultural workers in San Francisco. In order to efficiently achieve these goals, it was determined these grants would be pass-through funds, which would enable subgrantees to avoid time consuming bureaucracies involved with City funding. Bradley-Tyson noted that the San Francisco Relief Fund for Artists and the Arts launched in March 2020 allocated funds over three grant cycles inside of ten weeks, which was made possible with an intermediary, Center for Cultural Innovation who partnered with the SFAC and GFTA in the effort. Bradley-Tyson noted the SFAC followed a similar path with the AIE regranting funds. She reiterated that since many of the awardees were not typical grantees, this special Community Investments meeting was called to ensure transparency and diligence in the distribution and selection processes.

    Finally, Acting Director Bradley-Tyson noted Arts for a Better Bay Area (ABBA) will host an arts and recovery session in February 2021 where they will take a close look at Proposition E spending.

    Commissioners discussed the AIE grantee goals and objectives presentation. Commissioner Marcus Shelby thanked the Community Investments staff and specifically Program Officer Tina Wiley who worked on a thorough and complete vision. Commissioner Suzanne Ferras also gave specific thanks to Deputy Director Joanne Lee and Program Officer Tina Wiley and extended congratulations on well thought out and written programs. Commissioner Ferras expressed an interest in maintaining/continuing partnerships with the grantees to ensure the funds are reaching the intended communities and suggested that the SFAC provide information to the public on the outcomes. Commissioner Roberto Ordeñana also gave thanks to the entire Community Investments team and expressed the importance of using a regranting structure and utilizing intermediary strategies in order to award funds as quickly as possible. He noted that these methods lowered the SFAC’s overhead versus if it were to administer the grants independently. Commissioner Ordeñana echoed Commissioner Ferras’s ask to continue a strong partnership with the intermediary organizations to ensure the funds get to the intended communities and expressed appreciation for the intermediary organization’s efforts in meeting the challenges of this time.

    Public Comment:

    Kevin Seaman said he appreciates the quickness of this group, how they’ve centered racial equity in the actions taken to get the grants out and thanked the agency for their service, especially during this time. He wanted to address a few conflicts of interest. He said the agenda included discussion and approval of $1.12M to YBCA who is a lead agency in championing the passage of Proposition E, has a seat in the Mayor’s Economic Recovery Task Force that decided the priorities that led to these grants and has direct influence over Grants for the Arts as an advisory board chair. He said regardless of the mechanics that led to these grants this is a clear violation of the SFAC’S conflict of interest policy. Second, he spoke to the Racial Equity in the Arts working group. He said this group was seeded with funds from the SFAC and the AIE in 2019 and was convened by the Human Rights Commission over the last two years to continue to address racial equity in San Francisco’s arts ecology. He questioned why the group’s work is being done in isolation without presence or participation from SFAC or GFTA? He asked what it means that this agency failed to interface with the Racial Equity in the Arts working group when making drastic shifts to arts programs that center racial equity? In reading through the SFAC recently released Racial Equity Action Plan he said the Racial Equity in the Arts working group was mentioned only twice, which this agency plans to engage only in the second quarter of 2021 to collect feedback and provide input, which he thought was hardly the deep and sustained relationships necessary for racial sustained equity work. Since January 2019, the SFAC has had a complete overhaul in City arts leadership as well as the rise of the global health pandemic and unprecedented movements in support of Black lives and racial equity. He believes the agency’s intentions are to equitably serve San Francisco, but in order to do so the SFAC needs to open up lines of communication and allow the community to have a consistent and equal voice at the table. He is eager to see what actions the commissioners take with this information and looks forward to see how they equitably move forward with our community not just on behalf of it.

    T. Kebo Drew is the Managing Director of Queer Women of Color Media Arts Project (QWOCMAP). She said that Covid-19, the economic downturn and the recent events at the Capitol all disproportionately impact Black, Native American, Asian, Latinx people of color. Before this art funding was already inequitable. The AIE brought together a group of community members who identified the wish for funds to go to Black, Native American people of color artists and organizations led by, for and about their communities. However, in this emergency, these large grants to organizations led by white people, grants far larger than the SFAC usually awards, prioritize expediency and speed over equity. This reinforces inequity by funding larger organizations to build their capacity, rewarding them for learning how to work with our communities. She said the regrants put out are such a size that they will not do much to increase equity for communities—they are just a stop gap for our economic needs, but don’t actually help the community to build the power and strength they need. Also, she said there is a notion that Black, Native people of color that aren’t also LGBTQ, disabled and migrants—they are all of these at once. These grants are paying for organizations to learn how to do equity, are reinforcing inequity by believing only large organizations have the capacity to do this work instead of building the capacity and service to these organizations where equity is already baked into their founding and their processes. The application process in and of itself was not culturally or racially equitable, there wasn’t enough outreach or understanding of how it could be accessible to BIPOC communities nor was the decision-making process as equitable and transparent as it needed to be. She calls on the SFAC to make sure they are not promoting white-dominate culture by moving with speed and expediency as opposed to equity first.

    Vinay Patel is with the Asian Pacific Islander Cultural Center and gives thanks to all the commissioners and the staff at the SFAC. He raises concerns that the money awarded in the Proposition E AIE is awarded to large-budget organizations. Though these organizations may have a good history and record of service, he is concerned about the precedence this sets for the future of cultural equity, which is the City mandate. The spirit of cultural equity is to bring up small to mid-size BIPOC organizations that are embedded in those communities. The perception that only large-budget organizations can do the work and only large-budget organizations have access to these funds is a scary concept. This is a concern to many in the field. He does not agree that only large-budget organizations are capable of serving our communities even in times of need. This is the exact reason for cultural equity. He would have valued BIPOC organizations who hired BIPOC staff from the community to fulfill the grant’s goals and increase capacity in BIPOC communities. There should never be a reason to forego cultural and racial equity. It’s not only about who ultimately receives regrants, but also who the SFAC gives those grants to. This is a time for staff, commissioners, project partners including GFTA to have formal training in the history of San Francisco cultural equity and the cultural equity ordinance in the City’s racial equity policies from the Human Rights Commission.

    Jenny Leung, the Executive Director at the Chinese Cultural Center, gave thanks the commissioners for their service and leadership and to all the SFAC staff for their hard work to respond to the community during a very difficult year. The Chinese Cultural Center is a nonprofit arts organization based in San Francisco’s Chinatown who is a loud and creative voice for the underserved providing a voice for equality and a safe environment for the growth of artists who champion activism, resiliency and healthy communities. Chinatown has been a great contributor to the City’s diversity and is at the forefront of racial equity, immigrant rights, queer/trans people of color and neighborhood preservation. Like many communities of color, it has been disproportionately hit hard by the pandemic and specifically singled out for xenophobic attacks. She echoes the comments of her colleagues and, as an advocate for cultural equality, raises concerns about the regranting process for the AIE, which lacked cultural sensitivity and was designed in a way that disenfranchised and set barriers for communities of color and art organizations to succeed. That insensitivity resulted in no qualified applications from Black and Indigenous people of color communities and while the process focused heavily on prior experience in grants arts administration, it didn’t appropriately value the assets that communities of color bring. Considering that Asian Pacific Islanders comprise a third of San Francisco’s population and that we have a long contributing history to the arts community, it’s disappointing that none of the grantees are from our community. It’s important that cultural equity continue to be embedded in the regranting process as well as the SFAC’s other grant programs. Moving forward she urges the SFAC to consider a process for regranting that is respectful to community-driven approaches and Black and Indigenous people of color communities that embeds cultural equity into the regranting process and is transparent. She looks forward to working with everyone and for the community to come together and to thrive, and to continue to have this dialogue.

    Deborah Cullinan thanked the staff and the commission, those who made public comment and those who reached out directly to express their concerns. She recognized the incredibly important concerns and assures that YBCA is listening, is deeply committed to doing the work collaboratively. YBCA is very interested transforming the notion of capacity and rethinking the ways arts organizations operate. YBCA wants to be in service to its community, especially during these times. She appreciated the comments about their assets and how under-invested communities of color have been and it is YBCA’s deep hope, through this work, that they can be supportive and collaborate with artists and with the community in order to lead with a more equitable approach and system. She clarified that YBCA did not have a seat on Mayor Breed’s Economic Recovery Task Force. She did have a seat on this task force and the work there was policy oriented and in the form of collaborative and collective recommendations. She said YBCA does not have oversight in relation to Proposition E. Finally, she said YBCA wants to shift power, think differently about the structures of an organization like theirs and to place BIPOC artists who are working in their communities at the center and in the lead with helping YBCA to make decisions moving forward.

    Meklit Hadero is an Ethiopian American singer, songwriter and composer and Chief of Programs at YBCA. She thanked the people who shared their thoughts, insights, provocations and concerns and acknowledged the decades of experience, expertise and dedication that inform the collective voices spoken today. She said that YBCA is here to listen to the important points made about the need to believe in the capacity of BIPOC led organizations and to invest in them. YBCA understands they have a lot of work to do, that there is a level of connection across the arts ecology that needs to be made stronger in order to truly reflect the communities impacted by these regranting programs. She said YBCA is doing work to bring community-centered design into the core of who they are, which is a new level of direction and depth for their work. These include bringing BIPOC artists into design for the Artist Power Center and paying them for their time, allowing community members to decide who gets grant funding through the Culture Bank cohort and making the nominations process for the YBCA 100 public. YBCA knows this is not enough and that this is only the beginning of opening up their processes and connections and understanding the importance of having communities of color at the table.

    Jeff Jones gave thanks for the work on this issue and said he was one of the people who worked on the establishment of the cultural equity grants program. He is very disappointed and feels these grants are going backwards. He said the budgets of some of the organizations exceed $1.5M, which means they are not qualified for cultural equity grants. Several are not located in the City, some have corporate headquarters elsewhere and others have little or no history of supporting cultural equity. It was not acceptable that these meetings could happen behind closed doors, which was one of the reasons the cultural equity grants programs were established in the first place. He hopes that people will step back and take a clear look at these activities. He knows it is very difficult to deal with the pandemic because people are unable to meet and have face-to-face discussions and because of this, the situation makes cultural equity seem optional. Cultural equity is the central position of the SFAC’s work and he doesn’t think that is what happened here.

    Commissioner Collins expressed deep appreciation for all the public comments. He acknowledged that they are in uncharted waters and balancing a number of very important factors. They hear the community’s concern that a precedent is being made and it needs to be carefully examined. They have entrusted the responsibilities of sub-granting to our grantees. When they realized they were racing against time and the peril of our arts communities, they had to make certain choices. They also had to recognize that the SFAC is severely short staffed with a number of vacant positions and the responsibility for moving the entire portfolio of grants and underlying work to assess and score this work transparently. Commissioner Collins said the cultural and racial equity formulas are in the public trust without doubt and the subgrantees carry that responsibility. Hearing Mr. Patel’s testimony at the December 27th commission meeting was one of the reasons the Community Investments Committee called for this special meeting. They want to make sure that everyone is hearing the same thing.

    Commissioner Collins turned the meeting over the Acting Director Denise Bradley-Tyson to make a few specific comments to add to the record.

    Acting Director Bradley-Tyson echoed Commissioner Collins comments and is sensitive to the comments made by the meeting participants. She clarified that Proposition E funds fund the cultural equity grants, AIE and the cultural centers, which are three separate categories. Acting Director Bradley-Tyson was one of the reviewers of applications and she recognized the need for organizations, some of which are from BIPOC communities, to build in capacity building so they are in better positions to compete for future grants. A key consideration for the AIE grants was which organizations were best equipped to get this money out to the communities where the dollars were needed quickly and efficiently and because of this there were very few applicants. Bradley-Tyson stressed the importance of grantees working with the subgrantees to build internal capacity building for the organizations so they are better positioned in the future to respond to grant opportunities when they come forward. 

    Commissioner Collins commented on the administrative overhead associated with regranting. They erred on the side of ensuring that a maximum amount of money was regranted as quickly as possible, within the SFAC guidelines and working with the grantees to ensure that the subgrant making was consistent with public policy, on the shoulders of racial equity and with a focus on capacity building. He is particularly sensitive to Mr. Jones’s participation who has helped to build more capacity within our arts ecology than any single individual. Commissioner Collins agrees with Mr. Jones’s comments and wants to ensure that what we learn from the current situation will be reflected in the next grant cycles. He is hopeful that, in the future, a more robust economy will generate more dollars to have more impact.

    Commissioner Collins gave thanks to the grantees, acknowledged they have an immense responsibility and that the arts community is depending on them. He stressed the importance of a transparent and open process to ensure the regranting organization criteria are clear. He looks forward to the ways art can help to reignite our economy and revitalize our communities in ways that help the art makers and purveyors directly.

    Commissioner Shiota expressed appreciation for the transparent discussion and all the effort of the last six months and acknowledged that no process is perfect, especially in these unprecedented times. She has faith in the larger organizations abilities and their intention [inaudible] across the aisle. She said [inaudible] this can be a great opportunity for these large organizations to work hand-in-hand in working groups with smaller organizations so there is direct mentorship, cross-knowledge and real cultural exchange, both from a technical [inaudible] and cultural perspective from people working and embedded in the smaller arts organizations and the communities they serve.

    Commissioner Ferras echoes Commissioner Collins and Shiota’s comments. She notes that because Covid is creating special circumstances that none of us have prepared for or experienced. She said the highest priority was getting the funds out to the community and the artists who needed it yesterday and it is apparent that everyone is doing the best they can, trying to prioritize cultural equity and making sure they are supporting our communities before they disappear and are no longer present to support. She also has faith in the organizations chosen. She respects and hears the public comments calling for preparing smaller organizations led by people of color so they can step into this role in the future. She acknowledges the need for continued transparency and collaboration with the SFAC and the organizations to ensure grants are getting to organizations with the most need and to continue to gather feedback to measure whether the intended outcomes are being accomplished. Commissioner Ferras gave thanks to the staff, Tina Wiley, Joanne Lee, Rachelle Axel, everyone working on this project and the public.

    Commissioner Collins noted the upcoming Community Investments Committee meetings will be drop-in sessions to monitor these grants and ensure proper communications with grantees to ensure transparency. The Community Investments Committee periodically report out on these grant categories.

  5. New Business and Announcements

    Commissioner Collins announced there is an article in Datebook about our incoming Director of Cultural Affairs, Ralph Remington who will join the SFAC at the end of this month.

    He also gave extraordinary thanks and public acknowledgment on behalf of the entire Commission, the City and County of San Francisco and the SFAC to Acting Director Denise Bradley-Tyson for her fortitude, leadership, brilliance, guidance and faith in the process. She has championed the role of Acting Director during one of biggest crisis in the history of our City.

  6. Adjournment

    There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 2:50 p.m.

Posted 01/27/2021, 12:30 p.m., CED
Approved 2/1/2021

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