On behalf of the San Francisco Arts Commission, I am writing to express our gratitude for the "Creative Statements" article in the Fall/Winter 2009 issue.
Since 1969, our Public Art Program has integrated public art into virtually every civic space and facility through the city's Art Enrichment Ordinance, which mandates that two percent of the construction cost of city-owned buildings, transportation improvement projects, new parks and other above-ground structures be allocated for public art.
Many locals are unaware that this ordinance even exists or that the Arts Commission has a public art program, so it was especially wonderful to see this article highlight our projects and some of the incredibly talented SF State alumni and faculty artists with whom we have worked.
Thank you for shining a spotlight on public art in San Francisco. Keep up the good work!
Luis R. Cancel
Director of Cultural Affairs
San Francisco Arts Commission
Getting Better With Age
I've been watching as the magazine gets better and better with each issue. The fall/winter one seems especially fine. From the breathtaking cover to the inspiring interview with Frank Bayliss to the story on the Alexander String Quartet, it just sings. All that gorgeous artwork and that inside back cover -- whew!
I had a great SF State experience last February when the Chamber Musicians of Northern California had a workshop on campus. This was my first time back on campus in 37 years and what a triumphant homecoming since we got to hear and work with the Alexanders during that special weekend.
I'm proud to be an alumnus and will keep that little check coming in each year.
Castro Valley, Calif.
Honoring a Game Changer
I was fortunate to attend the symposium in Cooperstown last June honoring the contribution and achievements of George Powles (B.A., '36). As your article in the Fall/Winter 2009 SF State Magazine so eloquently related, Coach Powles was an extraordinary human being and an exemplary alumnus. The fact that he mentored the first black manager in the major leagues, the first black coach in the National Basketball Association and baseball great, Curt Flood, who challenged the reserve clause, was not lost on the audience. I was in awe, during and after the event, listening to the countless stories illustrating his magnificent coaching and mentoring abilities. One by one, Powles' family, distinguished scholars, baseball dignitaries such as Branch Rickey, Jr. and Bay Area admirers George Nicholson (California Appellate Court Associate Justice), William Patterson (President of the Board of Directors, East Bay Municipal Utilities District), Michael L. Moore (Oakland Athletic League Commissioner) and Paul Brekke-Miesner (Oakland Athletic League Historian) praised the impact Powles had on his players and his dedication to fostering racial equality. Coach Powles embodied all of the characteristics and virtues SF State promotes and holds dear. I was proud to be in attendance and proud to be an employee of a university that helped educate such an esteemed gentleman.
Michael J. Simpson
SF State Athletic Director
Applauding the Aid of Amphibians
It was most refreshing to read about my colleague Vance Vredenburg's success with Rana muscosa (Fall/ Winter 2009). It is a species I grew up with as a boy in the Sierras. After the World Congress in Canterbury -- during which it was first recognized that frog species were disappearing -- I returned to one of my favorite boyhood collecting areas (the Angora Lakes) to see, and there was nothing!
Thus, his discovery of "a cascade of startled frogs" warmed my heart.
Robert C. Drewes
Curator Department of Herpetology
California Academy of Sciences
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