Brian Goggin and Michael Arcega

San Francisco Arts Commission has revoked artist Michael Arcega’s art commission for the Valencia Streetscape Improvement Project, and said Friday that a miscount of votes had taken place at its September meeting.

“Here are the facts,” public art project manager Kate Patterson wrote in an email. “When the panel met and originally voted, it appeared that Arcega had the highest score. However, the staff reviewed the votes afterward and realized that one juror had given two artists the same score. This resulted in a miscount, which invalidated all of the votes.”

“This has nothing to do with any particular artist,” said Patterson. “It is simply a mistake, which we are trying to rectify.”

Arcega said he heard the commission had revoked its vote. “I’m not sure what’s happening now,” he said.

Brian Goggin, who came in second in the vote, said he was told “the competition is still going on because the decision to go with Michael’s project, rather than mine, was too close to call.”

It’s unclear what the final vote would have been if the miscount had not taken place, or why all the votes would be invalidated by one miscounted ballot.

Comments Friday on the story Mission Loc@l published last month accused Goggin of rallying fans for a recall.

Goggin maintains this is untrue.

“I’m really passionate about this project,” he said. “But I’m equally concerned with maintaining a good relationship with Michael. The two of us have been talking a great deal lately and we’ve both agreed that aggressive campaigning would not be a good idea.”

Goggin added that he can relate to Arcega’s struggle and that no mudslinging would take place between the two camps. “I understand how difficult this must be,” he said.

San Francisco Arts Commission will meet for a new vote in mid-October, and each of the four projects will be reconsidered.

Arcega’s project, “Valencia Street Posts,” envisioned six posts with whimsical Victorian-era crowns. The posts also serve the utilitarian function of being places to put community notes and announcements.

Goggin’s proposal, “Faro,” resembled a huge boat made of bicycle parts.

Two other artists, Ana Teresa Fernandez and Misako Inaoka, will be reconsidered as well.

Patterson also wrote in the email that the panel would add two additional members, Arts Commission President PJ Johnston and “another community representative who was involved at the beginning of the process but was unable to attend the last meeting.”

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Justin Juul is a freelance writer based in San Francisco's Mission District. He covers culture, arts, entertainment, and city living.

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  1. Justin, I know Brian very well and I have been close to him during this whole process.
    I can tell you for a fact that the accusations about Goggin rallying fans for a recall are completely unfair and untrue.
    Brian is one of the most generous and compassionate persons that I know.
    Of course he felt sad and disappointed when he heard that Faro was not selected, as any artist would feel after putting so much effort and soul into a project and not getting it.
    But he acted as a gentleman and even expressed his support to Michael for winning.
    If the Arts Comission made a mistake in the votes, I think it is the fair decision for them to meet again and do a new vote. Wouldn’t you want the same if you were in a similar position?
    Also…..I don’t think that describing Goggin’s piece as a huge boat made of bicycle parts, while you go into details about Michael’s piece, is fair and objective. But we will let the jurors and the people of the Mission decide.

    Florencia Aleman

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  2. Now everyone of the artists has a second chance to explain and convince the judges, not only Brian w/ El Faro. I think Goggin’s piece is beautiful, clever, different and yes, very hip. A street that is full of bikes was once a creek with boats, historically can no get anymore romantic than that! My second choice is Fernandez, of course.

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