SDRACC Recommendations to SD Commission of Arts & Culture Follow-up Letter

On September 8th, 2017, members of an ad hoc committee of the San Diego Regional Arts and Culture Coalition sent a follow-up letter to the San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture requesting to include the recommendations for FY19 Guidelines and Panel Process in the upcoming meeting agendas for review and discussion.


Dear Janet:

Congratulations on your appointment as the Chair of the City of San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture. We would to like to thank you for stepping up to this very important leadership position and again to let Larry Baza know how grateful we are for his outstanding work as past Commission chair and arts advocate.

The SDRACC Ad Hoc Committee on the Commission Application and Panel Process understands the Commission’s Policy and Funding Committee will address the FY 19 OSP and CCSD funding application guidelines at its September and possibly October meetings. Because time is of the essence and staff capacity is limited, we appreciate the opportunity to engage the Policy Committee and Commission members in a deliberative process that focuses our previous requests on the priority recommendations listed below over the next two months. To that effect, and as a follow- up to our last correspondence we, the undersigned members of an ad hoc committee respectfully request that the Commission docket the following recommendations to the FY 19 OSP and CCSD Guidelines on the upcoming full Commission meeting agendas for a full review and discussion.

These recommendations are rooted in our collective experience as Commission contractors and arts professionals and reinforce our goals to: increase the efficiency of the application process for both the Commission staff members and arts organizations (the following recommendations require minimal changes for the Commission staff and contractors, as we are aware of the capacity challenges that both groups face); stabilize the application process; and ensure that the City OSP and CCSD application and funding process is as equitable as possible for organizations large and small.

  1. Short Form: The FY 18 funding cycle was the first to eliminate the option of a Short Form application. This was appropriate because the funding guidelines and application were completely revised and all contractors needed to participate in this new process equally. That process has been utilized and Commission staff has indicated no substantive changes are to be recommended to the funding guidelines for FY 19. Therefore, we recommend that organizations should complete the full application as staff has indicated it does not have the capacity to revamp the form and that organizations be exempt from the panel review process if they have received a high rank from past panel reviews and meet the appropriate eligibility criteria.

Adopting this recommendation will create efficiencies for the Commission, Commission staff, review panels and organizational contractors.  Reducing the volume of applications to be fully reviewed by panels will reduce the number of hours panels meet which will in turn reduce the number of panelists required to be recruited, trained and scheduled by Commission staff and will stabilize the application process for the contractors (who will now be able to plan ahead for the long and short form years).

  1. Appeals Process: We request the Commission reinstate the Appeals Process for all OSP and CCSD applicant organizations in the FY 19 cycle. The Appeals Process is a simple and important accountability measure that ensures occasional mistakes and misstatements by review panels which adversely impact an organization’s ranking can be addressed. The Appeals Process utilized by the Commission in the past included specific guidelines for an appeal to be considered and specific grounds upon which an appeal might be approved. It is our opinion that these same guidelines can easily be reviewed and reinstated so that staff and Commissioners do not need to spend unnecessary time constructing new appeals guidelines from scratch. The reinstatement of the Appeals Process is a recommendation that supports our goal of providing a more equitable process for all organizations.
  1. Review of Financials: We strongly recommend that all financial and governance information provided in the Request for Qualification documents be part of the full panel review The applicant organizations’ budgets and leadership information help tell the “whole story” and should be tied to their organizations’ goals, objectives and deliverables. The addition of the RFQ information in panelists’ packets will allow for greater equity in the review process as organizations are evaluated in a more comprehensive manner.

Thank you for providing an opportunity to discuss these recommendations in an open and transparent process.


San Diego Regional Arts and Culture Coalition Ad Hoc Committee Members


Matt Carney, Treasurer

Rising Arts Leaders


Llewellyn Crain, Director of Development

The Old Globe


Erin Decker, Vice President of Development

The New Children’s Museum


Victoria Hamilton, President

Californians for the Arts and California Arts Advocates


John Highkin, Director

Fern Street Community Arts

Michael Rosenberg, Managing Director

La Jolla Playhouse


Todd Schultz, Vice President for Institutional Advancement

San Diego Symphony


Dalouge Smith, President & CEO

San Diego Youth Symphony and Conservatory


Steve Snyder, President & CEO

Fleet Science Center 




cc: Commissioners and Staff

To read the first letter sent to the San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture on August 24th, 2017, please click here.