Friday, April 25, 2008

What's This About?

The Artist vendors in St. Augustine are a amalgam of the average citizenry. Misconceptions occur, though most have either professional or academic training or years of experience in the creation of their works. Some of our artists own homes in town and hold jobs elsewhere and some rely on the sales of their art for primary income. The claim of constitutional right to show and sell their art on public property did not come from thin air nor is it a matter of artists wanting "a free ride". It is a fundamental free speech issue that has been decided and affirmed in the Federal courts. The most recent decision was made on April 22 when the city of Sparks Nevada appealed a $250K judgement favoring an artist whose civil rights were violated (White vs Sparks) The U.S. Supreme Court refused to overturn the decision and the City Council agreed to pay the 250, 000 dollars for civil rights violation. (STORY)

The City of St. Augustine chooses to ignore these rulings and constantly violates the civil right of local artists going so far as to jail some for standing up for their right. The five City Commissioners who voted us out of most of St. Augustine public space haven't the backbone to give us the "real reason" for their illegitimate stand. Here it is....................with government funding being cut and further budget cuts expected the city is looking elsewhere for revenue to maintain our beautiful historic treasure of a town. Private sources will be and are being solicited for these funds.
The corporatization of our cities and towns is occurring all over the country. Services are being outsourced and now public properties that we all enjoy are in jeopardy of being put into the hands of private companies. Do not expect,in time, that these "altruistic" corporations will be passive. Business Improvement Districts(B.I.D.'s) are hidden private corporations that can and will wrest control of public properties from us. These B.I.D.'s can take over public properties and call it "rehabilitation"(Union Square. N.Y.C.) I'm a 13 year old worn out old dog but I cannot walk on my leash with my artist friend on Beale Street in Memphis or some private security force will eject me to the next adjacent street. NO ANIMALS OR REPTILES ALLOWED" says the sign.

This is not alarmist is happening. It is understandable that new revenue streams may be needed for local governments to function but there are costs other than financial and we gotta be aware and vigilant that those who are supposed to hold our public trust do not sell us out. So friends this is more that six artists who want to set up a "free shop" on public property. Our rights are your rights. Help us.


  1. Wish I were there...
    so you could say 7 artists wanting to set up...
    check out my NEW WEBSITE:

  2. Thank you for the most interesting information. It makes our job more....

    I was wondering though, who the private sources were and whether or not i could find the information myself.