A recent report issued by the Comptroller’s Office claims to have uncovered numerous problems at the Cultural Equity Grants Program. This report, characterized by some as a “hit-piece” and by others (most notably by MacArthur “Genius” Guillermo Gomez-Pena) as “racist,” is an attempt to cover-up the Arts Commission’s primary problem: the agency has no leadership and is headed towards chaos.
- The last two Directors of the Arts Commission have been forced the to resign;
- The incessant non-professional staff in-fighting, leadership turnovers, staff promotions, demotions and reclassifications and inaccessible financial information weakens the Arts Commission’s ability to support arts organizations rooted in the City’s communities of color and in the LGBT, women’s and disabled communities.
- The Cultural Equity Grants Program is nationally respected because it has successfully diversified San Francisco’s non-profit arts community over the past 15 or so years; however, despite the exponential growth of community demand for grants, technical assistance and fundraising advice, the program’s budget has not grown for over a decade.
- The Comptroller and the Acting Director found it problematic that Galería de la Raza received $200,000 from the Arts Commission over a five-year period, but they have no problem handing over almost $2,000,000– every year– to the Symphony.
- The Acting Director apparently has no background in human resources or personnel management nor does she have a plan to solve the Commission’s toxic staff situation; she repeatedly makes poor political decisions and seems reluctant to consult the community -or even the Arts Commission staff.
- Before being moved to the Community Arts and Education category, the Native American grants program’s published deadline was December 15; as of today, no guidelines or application forms have been published.