“I guess the process is going to drag on a little longer,” said panelist Carolina Ponce de León, executive director of Galería de la Raza. “A tie is a tie. What can you say?”
The re-vote on Wednesday came after the commission decided it had mishandled a vote in September that gave the $52,000 project to Michael Arcega. Brian Goggin, who was either runnerup or tied in September — depending on how that vote was counted — clearly tied with Arcega on Wednesday.
The Visual Arts Committee, a subcommittee of the Arts Commission, will review both projects in a public meeting on Oct. 21 at 3 p.m. Then it will recommend one project to a panel of arts commissioners on Nov. 2.
Wednesday’s vote came from a special committee that has selected the artists who competed for the project. It comprised a commissioner, community members and a representative from the Department of Public Works.
The groans and laughs that filled the room when the verdict was announced suggested some frustration, but P.J. Johnston, president of the San Francisco Arts Commission, calmly closed the meeting. “Well, now it goes to the Visual Arts Committee,” he said. Then he gathered his things and left.
But the re-vote wasn’t a complete waste of time. For one, Ana Teresa Fernandez and Misako Inaoka, who tied for second place, can move on with their lives. Both of their projects were reconsidered Wednesday, but rejected for logistical issues.
Fernandez’s project, a metal fishing net that seemed to float above the street, would have been too expensive; and Inaoka’s project, mutant animals on different public and private perches, was too complicated, members decided. The re-vote also gave the panel more time to discuss concerns with the top two projects.
Arcega’s proposal was discussed first.
Initially conceived as a series of six wooden posts with wooden Victorian crowns on top, Arcega’s “Victorian Street Posts” seeks to involve Mission residents by providing them with public space for hanging fliers and posting signs. (Read the full description here.) However, at the first meeting it was mentioned that wooden posts might increase the cost of the project. The committee also feared that if Arcega used wood to make the domes, his installation might not last as long as intended — at least 25 years.
In the interim, Arcega came up with an alternative: four metal posts with steel domes. The latter, however, are more expensive to build, and Arcega said he would have to stick with only one dome design rather than six.
“I’m worried about the limitation in design with the switch to steel,” said Kevin Chen, program director of Intersection for the Arts. Others agreed.
Goggin also spent time fine tuning his proposal. New problems arose for him as well. Originally conceived as a 49-foot tapered pole resembling “a blade of shoreline grass from the banks of now-underground Laguna del los Dolores,” Goggin’s design, “Faro,” would be constructed of recycled bicycle parts visualizing “the bulkhead of a boat as it tilts up and careens over a wave.”
In the original plan, Goggin included a system of blue, green and yellow lights that would flicker when the wind hit them. (Read the full description here.) In the redesigned version, Goggin’s lights would be activated not by the wind, but by a series of buttons community members could press. All the panelists liked the idea, but many of them worried about the extra money it might require.
“I think it’s gorgeous,” said Johnston. “But this just screams ‘more than $50,000’ to me.” He added that he would keep an eye on Goggin’s design for future projects if it didn’t pass at the next meeting.
“That’s astounding,” said Goggin when he heard the news. He did not sound thrilled.