One…Two… Anyone else here to represent the community? No.
The room at the Mission Police Station on Valencia Street was large enough for the 9:30 a.m. community meeting on Thursday, but only two residents showed up to meet the four finalists chosen to compete for the commission to create art on Valencia Street.
Ana Teresa Fernandez, Brian Goggin, Micheal Arcega and Misako Inaoka, the finalists chosen by the SF Art Commission, came to meet the community on Thursday, but found there were more of them than residents.
As Kate Patterson, public art project manager, told Mission Loc@l before the meeting “it was a chance for the community to share their hopes and vision for the public art.”
But instead of a meet and greet with the community, the SF Art Commission and the Public Works Department presented details of the that will be part of the Valencia Improvement Project to the four finalists.
The artists will be given six poles to use for their art project, but can decide against using the poles or use any number of them. The design, however, must be one that will work eight feet above street-level.
“I wanted to go in the artists brain and see what they had to propose. It’s kinda sad, ” said Allison Watkins, one of two residents who showed up.
Tonia McNeil, the project manager, said, “There was a mis-communication about what the meeting was going to be about. It was to educate the artists”
She added that the community rarely shows up for any meeting anyway. “I have been doing this job for 19 years, and it has already happened that no one showed up. Unless, there is a controversy, people don’t come even if we do the community meetings after 6 p.m.”
“Did I fail as a community representative?” asked Mission resident Elizabeth Aife Murray, a writer and artist, who is on the selection panel.
As the artists listened to the project’s rules, some appeared confused by the instructions. “It is a waste of time” said Ana Teresa Fernandez, the fourth artist chosen to present a proposal. “Why didn’t they just give us a list of our restrictions instead of us having to ask? They gave us plans only an architect can understand.”
The artists’ proposals are due September 14. They will be displayed publicly for three weeks between September 25th and October 20th.
The public will again be able to given an opportunity for input. The time or format for community, however, has yet to be determined. It’s unclear if it will be a community meeting.