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Art Commission Minutes - September 27, 2006

REGULAR MEETING MINUTES
September 27, 2006 at 7:00 p.m.
Brentwood Technology Center
101 Sand Creek Road
Brentwood, CA 94513

ROLL CALL: Commissioners present: Barbara Guise, Ron Beatty, Sandra Gill, Saunie Fridley, Doreen Forlow, Patrick McCarran, Vivian Faye, Greg Ruiz, Jim Bryant and Helen Myers.
Commissioners absent: Joe Trebino, Catherine Perez and Annette Seabury-Day.
Staff present: Poldina Scherff, Recreation Manager.

BELIEF STATEMENT: The Belief Statement was read by Commissioner Doreen Forlow.

PRESENTATIONS: None

CALL TO ORDER: Chairperson Sandra Gill called the meeting to order at 7:08 p.m.

AGENDA REVIEW: No changes or additions.

CITIZENS COMMENTS: None

CHAIR COMMENTS:
Chairperson Sandra Gill said that it is the time of the year that they need to start thinking of a new Vice Chairperson as nominations will be coming up and they will be looking for someone who will be enthusiastic and willing to work on the Public Arts Committee. They will also be required to meet and work with the Executive Committee.

CONSENT CALENDAR:
1. Approve minutes of regular meeting of August 23, 2006
2. Accept monthly budget report (R. Burr-Siegel)
3. Accept monthly report from Public Art Committee (G. Ruiz)
4. Accept monthly report from Arts Manager (R. Burr-Siegel)
5. Accept language from City Attorney regarding Associate Arts Commissioners (S. Gill)
Commissioner Barbara Guise requested pulling Item # 1, and Commissioner James Bryant also wished to pull Item #1 and #2. Commissioner Guise said that she wanted instead of Item #1 to pull Item #2 regarding the budget. Commissioner Vivian Faye said she did send in her report in on Monday, but was too late to get on the calendar. Commissioner Ruiz/Forlow MSC to accept items 3, 4, and 5.

1. Approve minutes of the regular meeting of August 23, 2006.
Commissioner Bryant said that he would like this amended to show that he was absent as that was not noted in the minutes. Minutes Recorder noted this change.

2. Accept monthly budget report (R. Burr-Siegel)
Commissioner Guise said that she has a problem with the fact that she had asked to have as an agendized item -- the discussion of the conferences attended by Ms. Burr-Siegel. Her comments were included in the minutes under Item #2, but it was not included as an agenda item for this meeting. She will again request under Commissioner’s Comments at this meeting to have an accounting of how much is expended on these conferences and if there should be a limit set on how many the Arts Manager can attend. She feels in accordance with other organizations she is involved with that there are more than should be necessary. Commissioner Bryant had concerns on the budget as well. His concerns involved generated revenue verses expenditures, and the fact that the Commission was in deficit in the amount of $19,710. This is the amount spent over the amount generated in revenue. He commented that there was some money generated, most of it out of the previous Day in The Park. Some also a carry over from 2005 of the City’s donation to the Commission. His second point for public record is that if you take that thought process to the projected budget and look at how much has been expended this year and note that the expenditures are almost the same as the previous year, and look at the revenue expected to be generated, the Commission will be in deficit $11, 938 more for the next year. Commissioner Bryant said that his purpose in mentioning these two items is to point out to the Commissioners that for the year 2007 there is no city allocation. There will be a carry-over from 2004-2005, and 2005-2006, but no new allocations from the city. He feels that if they continue to work at a deficit and find no solution there will be a serious problem somewhere very shortly down the road. He also noted that under revenue generated there is an item for this year and next year’s budget, an anticipated $2,000 generated revenue. This is based on interest on public art that comes to the Commission. The other smaller item he wished to express was the revenue from visual arts and is projected at donations from $5,235. Since the previous year only $134 was received. His question was where is that projected income coming from? Commissioner Ruiz questioned where these donations were projected to be coming from as well. Projections were not met last year and now the amounts projected for donations are increased. Commissioner Forlow also questioned where the donations were to be coming from, what source.

Commissioner Bryant said that there needs to be a plan as where these donations are to be generated for the visual arts. At present there is no plan as far as he knows. Commissioner Ruiz asked where the figure is coming from and none of the Commissioners had an idea or knowledge of a plan. Commissioner Bryant proceeded on his discussion of the budget and noted the “survey” for $5,000 and said that there is no survey planned for next year and needs to be corrected. Also, the literary arts expenses this past year for CityRead was $1,750. Now it is projected at $2,750. Where is that coming from, $1,000 more than the previous year. Commissioner Forlow asked who made up this budget and Commissioner Bryant said it was made for two years and was done by the Executive Committee when he was Chairperson, he did not recall increasing Cityread by $1,000, and feels it does not belong there. Commissioner Guise asked if there was any projection in the budget to see if the Commission is paying for the above mentioned conferences. Commissioner Bryant said there are no projected funds for these conferences in the projected budget. He feels it is probably coming from another source, such as the city’s budget. Poldina Scherff, Recreation Manager for Parks and Recreation was asked if she knew and she said she could only speak for the Parks and Recreation Department and that their training/conferences for the Recreation Department are submitted for approval to the City Council. Ms. Scherff suggested that the Commissioners check on City Council’s minutes for information on approval of conferences/training events.

Commissioner Bryant had two other comments on the budget, one the performing arts expenses and noted Event “at Large” that $5,000 was budgeted and that there was no Event “at large” and now it is again at $1,620, as opposed to last year’s amount of $5,000. He wants to know what this is as well. His last comments were on the Visual Arts Expenses, there is no projected budget, but last year did spend $750 for the student art show. There is no expenditure notation this year and there should be since they spent $750 last year and would probably do that again. His recommendation regarding the budget is that the Brentwood Arts Commission requested the city’s support financially for the 2007-2009 budget. He indicated it is not working to expect the Commission to generate their own revenue. Although this was planned it is not working and is unrealistic. Commissioner Ruiz said that the Arts Manager has done research with cities in the area of their size and cannot find one where the Commission supports themselves. It does not happen and it is not realistic for the Commission to generate enough funds to run all the programs planned as a city entity. Commissioner Forlow asked if any City Commission earns their own way, or are they funded by the city? Ms. Scherff was asked and she responded that most Commissions such as Youth, Park and Recreation etc. are funded by the city. Commissioner Ruiz commented that their liaison from the City Council, Annette Beckstrand has stated that the Arts Commission should become independent and not receive funds from the general fund to operate the Commission. He does not agree with this. Commissioner Ruiz asked if Commissioner Bryant feels that this budget as presented should be approved, and he said he does not feel it should be approved. Commissioner Ruiz agreed. Bryant/Ruiz MSC to not approve the budget as presented. Commissioner Bryant requested that his comments on the budget issues all be incorporated into the minutes for this meeting.

Commissioner Guise said that then they should appoint a committee to go over the budget and go over this budget and refine it to make it proper. Commissioner Bryant said there is a limitation as to what can be done at this point with the projected budget. He said that there are just some “tweeks” that need to be taken care of, more than anything else. He felt that the Executive Committee could probably do this work on adjusting the budget. This is the Executive Committee’s role to review the 2007-2009 by January or February of 2007. His comment to Commissioner Guise was then that the Executive Committee could fill this role rather than forming a new committee. Commissioner Guise then moved to refer the budget to the Executive Committee for adjustment. There was some discussion to this motion. Commissioner Fridley was concerned that the Executive Committee may not have the right background for this work on the budget. Commissioner Ruiz agreed with this and there were also comments that the Day in the Park has been about the only revenue carried over, other funds were those donated to the Commission by the city from the previous year. Chairperson Gill said that all this should go back to the Executive Committee for discussion. She said that she also had trouble understanding this budget. Commissioner Bryant said that there was no reason they could not invite someone like Commissioner Fridley to work with the Executive Committee on the budget or any other expert. Commissioner Ruiz said he would like to see Commissioner Fridley work with the Executive Committee as he trusts her expertise in this area. He also feels that the Arts Manager, Rebekah Burr-Siegel should know the budget very well and could answer the Commissioner’s questions. Chairperson Gill then suggested that the four members of the Executive Committee and Commissioner Fridley meet with Ms. Burr-Siegel at their next meeting to go over the budget and make recommendations as to whatever adjustments they would be allowed to make, and bring them back to the next regular meeting of the Commission. Commissioner Bryant said that he has previously asked for a summary of the budget, and the discussions he brought up at this meeting showing the fiscal deficits should have been notated in the budget presented. He was referring specifically to the Arts Manager as this is one of her responsibilities as stated in her job description. Commissioner Guise asked Ms. Scherff about when the budget comes up for the Parks and Recreation Department. Ms. Scherff said that this is done on a two year budget basis as they know, and that the budget figures shown in the budget under discussion were projections from three years ago. She said that the Parks and Recreation Department plans their budget on a percentage of growth, and that could have been what happened with this budget, she did not know for sure. Chairperson Gill asked if they would be allowed to make some small adjustments. Ms. Scherff said that they could move money around, as long as it is appropriated into the correct categories. There is no major adjustment, those are only emergency adjustments. As to the 2007-2009, the deadline is starting now as of February/March of the year 2007. The budget they are looking at now is set and they will soon be working on the next two year budget after the first of the year. Commissioner Bryant said that would be his recommendation that they begin working on the 2007-2009 budget. Commissioner Guise then said as she understands Commissioner Bryant they could take a draft of this budget, with adjustments for a budget for the next two years. If they then felt they could not live with this budget, they could request funds from the Parks and Recreation Department or the City. Commissioner Bryant said that he is recommending that the Arts Commission be supported by the City of Brentwood. This would be regardless of how and what funds are generated for the fiscal year 2007-2009. Chairperson Gill asked the Minutes Recorder to read back the motion and Commissioner Ruiz’s amendment which was as follows: The motion by Bryan/ Ruiz MSC that the budget be referred back to the Executive Committee to discuss and adjust where possible at the next Executive Committee meeting with the Arts Manager, Rebekah Burr-Siegel, and that Commissioner Fridley be added as another party to this meeting.
Commissioner McCarran arrived at the meeting at 7:25 p.m.

OLD BUSINESS:
6. Discuss the Arts Commission Retreat with Gary Winters (S. Gill)
Chairperson Gill commented on the retreat with Gary Winters and said that the three main objectives brought out in the retreat, were focused on performing art, public and an art center. She felt it was a very positive retreat and a positive look at what they wanted to see in the city and what the Commission wishes to accomplish. She felt the most important thing was the reality that as much as they would like to do it all, they cannot. She asked other Commissioners for their reactions. Commissioner Guise apologized for not getting there, but as she had previously stated she would not be able to arrive before 7:00 p.m. and was there at the door trying to get in, but could not because the door was locked and could not get into the building. Chairperson Gill apologized for not hearing her. There were eight Commissioners present. Commissioner Beatty thought it was a good meeting and the three hours went by very fast. Commissioner Forlow thought it very interesting that they started out in several different directions and ended up after two hours and thirty minutes at pretty much the same spot they ended up at previously. Visual, Performing and the Art Center being the main objectives. There was some further discussion on the retreat, some felt some positive results, all still focusing on the three main objectives. Commissioner Bryant would like to see a specific plan on how to get art downtown. He also feels performing arts needs to be tweeked as well, with an organizational plan with a subcommittee putting that together and get it moving. He discussed the arts center and that there are certain things that can be done through organizational process to facilitate getting an arts center. He mentioned that at a previous meeting with the City, which he had attended, the arts center was part of the plan of the city. He feels there needs to be pressure put on by the Arts Commission to move this concept forward. Chairperson Gill said also the idea as to whether this is a volunteer organization and how much energy as volunteers do they have to push these things forward vs. should they be supporting other people in their efforts to do some of these things. What is their purpose and how can they best meet these goals. How to get more people on the Commission? Commissioner McCarran had some thoughts, but felt there should be more charts and information from the facilitator. He agreed with Chairperson Gill on her comments as to the responsibilities of the Commission to bring about these ideas and bring them into fruition. He likened an Associate Art Commissioner to an Ambassador to the Chamber of Commerce. He discussed the roles of volunteers. He feels that there needs to be information from the retreat on the agenda of the next business meeting. They need an action plan. Discussion also as to the fact that they as the Commission do not need to do all the work, but be supportive to any other group would bring an art gallery or other type of theater or other arts activity in the town. Commissioner Faye mentioned the CityRead program and the author coming to town to discuss his book, she felt this a good opportunity for Arts Commission’s support. Commissioner Bryant followed up on Commissioner McCarran’s idea that a specific time be set aside at the next regular meeting to discuss and plan of action related to these above mentioned items.

7. Consider recommendation(s) regarding the Brentwood Art, Wine, & Jazz Festival (Centipede Assoc.)
Commissioner Fridley said that they don’t have any recommendations at this time. Commissioner Beatty said that they are not at the “punch level”, now just need to bring all the little pieces together. Commissioner Fridley said that they have the volunteers and do not need any of the Commissioners to volunteer or work at the festival. They have gotten a lot of help in volunteers from Liberty High School football team, Boys Ranch and others to handle setting up, tearing down and picking up trash. All runners and booths taken care of also. Commissioner Ruiz said he felt he was speaking for all in noting the hard work and dedication by the Centipede Association. Commissioner Beatty thanked him and said that this was a nine month effort and he could really appreciate all the work done in the past by Chris Robinson, former Commissioner. Commissioner Guise complimented the group on the new logo. Polo shirts will be sold on request with the new logo. They will also be given to the volunteers. Shirts were displayed, and all felt they were of good quality. Commissioner Fridley said she has a request, she needs 2 more token trays. She was told to go ahead and get the trays as she has a budget to cover this type of expenditure.

8. Accept Ethics Training dates (C Bronzan)
Included in the Commissioner’s packets was the revised agenda for the Ethics Training which is required. The dates for the Arts Commissioners is either October 26, from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. or November 15, from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. in the City Council Chambers. This is done every two years and is mandatory. Ruiz/Beatty MSC to accept the two dates as listed on the superseded memorandum staff report.

9. Receive survey report (J. McCreary)
This report was included in each of the Commissioner’s packet. Discussion of the report included comments as to the taxes, those reporting on the survey had indicated they did not wish to be taxed any further for an arts center, etc. Commissioners discussed this and agreed on the tax issue. The ethnic and cultural issue was also discussed as well. What events are more related to ethnic issues, such as Cinco de Mayo and other cultural events. Discussion on having cultures come together, rather than have separate events, more of a community rather than a separation as some events do at this time. Some felt the survey was poorly written and not worth the money spent on it. Discussion of the film festival which is coming up, possibly support, rather than be involved in planning. Chairperson Gill asked if the Commissioners felt they were listening to the community, what do the Commissioners think of the survey, what direction does it give us? She felt as she read this that she has a different vision than what was offered in the survey results. She asked if the Commissioners felt the same way or not. Commissioner Fridley felt the survey was poorly written and directed and did not get good results. She did not think it was a good survey. Some of the Commissioners said they did not answer the survey themselves. Commissioner Forlow did not think this is what the Commissioners were looking for in requesting the survey. Commissioner Ruiz felt that the survey did show that public art is important to the community, and that they in the community of Brentwood do not know who the Arts Commission is and what they do. Commissioner Guise said she got from the survey loud and clear that the community wants visual art from the city. Similar to what Antioch and Pittsburgh and other surrounding towns have done. Discussion of this issue and what types of people answered the survey. Commission Forlow said that there should be more education of the public on what the Arts Commission does.

Commissioner Fridley then asked if the Commission knew what had happened to the two-way radios that she understood had been bought for the Day in the Park and if anyone knew where they are. She needs them for the Art, Wine and Jazz Festival. Commissioner Bryant said he felt there are radios and did not know where they were. She was assured that there were and Ms. Burr-Siegel would know where they are. Ms. Scherff will check with her to find out where the radios are for Commissioner Fridley.

Commissioners Fridley, Beatty and Myers left at 8:10 p.m.

Chairperson Gill said that with the survey in mind, they need to have a fifteen minute or longer discussion at another time on this survey and results. What is it they are here for and how do they get there? Commissioner Bryant said that he felt that a 2% return was a very low return and does not reflect the overall city. He felt that whether or not the survey was a good one, it did point out things, and some of the items very important to understand. Need for an arts center, need for public art and he would recommend that they take the things suggested in the survey, and use the survey in a positive way to support the issues the Commission considers its goals. This could be used in discussions with the City Council and others to support their issues. Commissioner Forlow agreed it should be used in a positive way and feels that they are not ready to discuss this fully at this time. She suggested that they have a special meeting for a couple of hours as a workshop, etc. to discuss the survey. Commissioner Bryant said instead it should be agenda item under old business and allow a certain amount of time. Discussion among others as whether this could be at the next meeting along with the budget discussions. Chairperson Gill said the budget discussion will not be held at the next meeting. Commissioner Forlow said then that she suggested the entire meeting be held on results of the survey and plans for the Commission as a result of the survey and whatever other items need to be on the agenda. Discussion of the amount of time given to this subject and what other items will be on the October agenda. Commissioner Guise said her request for discussing conferences, etc. with Ms. Burr-Siegel could be delayed as long as it is placed on the agenda for the Executive Committee to look at seriously, she feels there is too much money spent on these events and that the staff person is not available as often as she should be for the Commissioners. Commissioner Faye felt more information should be shared with Commission from these events attended by the Arts Manager and possibly some Commissioners should also attend some of the conferences/training sessions. There was more discussion on this issue, Commissioners generally feeling more input to them would be helpful. Commissioner Bryant said that the expenditures for these sessions are not coming from the budget, but feels they are probably coming from the Parks and Recreation Department or the City. He feels this should be reconfirmed, he said that there was an allocation of $1,450 for training for Commissioners for this past fiscal year and one built in for next fiscal year. Commissioner Guise said if these conference expenditures are not on this budget, she would like to know who is paying for them and if it is necessary. She would like proper feedback if they are necessary to assist the Art Commission.

NEW BUSINESS:
None

CITY COUNCIL UPDATE:
City Council liaison Annette Beckstrand was not present. Commissioner Guise commented that the Historical society has received a grant to do a farm exhibition which is to be photographed and history written. Commissioner Forlow is involved in this as well as Kathy Leighton, local historian. She said there is a time line on this grant and that there was a conflict since the Curator, Bill Weber had already scheduled some events for the gallery. She said the memo on this event had listed Ms. Burr-Siegel as Curator, when all thought that Bill Weber was the Curator. She said this presented a confusion as to who is the curator? Commissioner Ruiz said that the Executive Committee has met prior to this meeting about this issue and are going forward with what they feel will be the next logical step and no major decisions have been made. He stated that Bill Weber is the Curator of this gallery and all know and respect that. The Executive Committee has given direction to staff to go to the next logical step and it will be resolved. Question as to whether or not it is appropriate to have the photos as a part of the gallery. This will be brought up at the next meeting. Since this would be an additional show, Mr. Weber needs to know as it will affect his scheduling concerns. There was some further discussion on this issue and how it should be resolved. The Executive Committee will address this issue and bring their recommendations back to the full Commission.

COMMISSIONERS COMMENTS:
Commissioner Ruiz said that the Commission needs to make some type of gesture towards Centipede Associates for their incredible job on the Art, Wine and Jazz Festival. Commissioner Guise reminded them that there will be a totally new City Council and therefore they are invited to the Candidates Night meeting on October 5, 2006, it will start at 7:00 p.m. It will be held at the Community Center. Commissioner Forlow also said that she thinks there should be something special done for Commissioners Beatty and Fridley for their work as the Centipede Association for the Art, Wine and Jazz Festival, and possibly some of the others associated with the event. She feels also that the Commission is now at a point where they know where they are at. She wants the Commission to not lose their momentum and keep other issues that are minor in importance away from their goals. She wishes to concentrate on what they want to do for the city and its art. Commissioner Faye commented on the partnership the City of Oakland has with its museum and hopes that Brentwood will continue to partner with groups such as the Historical Society on art events. Chairperson Gill said that she wants to support what Commissioner Forlow said and that they should take a look at their vision and moving forward to keep with the momentum. She said she is a little disheartened at the attendance at the meetings, since they have been cut back from the previously late 9:00 to 10:00 adjournments, and people now come in late and leave early. She feels the items discussed at this meeting are important and they need to have further discussion on them and all need to focus on the three items that they all want to move forward with. First they have to have public art, also performing art and have to have the place where the art exhibits and poetry readings, etc. take place. She feels they must stay focused and feel they are falling apart and looking at issues that are non-issues and are not committed. They must be committed to move forward.

STAFF REPORT AND COMMENTS:
None given

REQUEST FOR FUTURE AGENDA ITEMS:
Discussion of survey findings

ADJOURNMENT: Chairperson adjourned the meeting at 8:42 PM.

Respectfully submitted,

Betty Jo Whincup
Minutes Recorder

City of Brentwood Arts Commission
35 Oak Street,
Brentwood, CA 94513
(925) 516-5444
Fax (925) 516-5445
E-mail artscommission@brentwoodca.gov