Subject: gardner calling
Date: Sat, 14 Jun 2008 18:38:51 -0400
Artist and entertainer venue –
Commissioners endorsed a proposal by Commissioner Gardner to use the south half of our Colonial Spanish Quarter – recently closed off by the city Heritage Department – for street entertainers and artists, who have been banned from St. George Street and restricted in use of our Plaza.. Gardner said it will be up to artists and entertainers to organize and assist in developing a workable plan, “but I would think any profit-motivated business would be happy with the opportunity to set up off a street with thousands of pedestrians a day.”
so where are you now??
Dear Commissioner Gardner,
Where am I now? I'm in my studio off Moultie Road. I'll be in the Plaza next Saturday with my artworks. If you like one I'll sell it to you at a good price. Whoever said that we are profit motivated? We know that some may find it hard to believe but this is not our highest priority.
If you are to make this Spanish Quarter thing workable you will have to discuss this with a street entertainer. The visual artists already have their venues. The city has consistently confused the visual artists with street performers and at times with homeless vagrants. Like it or not, the courts (not our county courts) have confirmed that visual art (paintings, prints, sculpture and photographs) has full First Amendment protection. This includes display and SALE of such protected items on public streets, sidewalks and parks.
The proposal of a lottery for spaces to sell full first amendment material has already been struck down by the federal courts as unconstitutional.
The Colonial Heritage Quarter locale for artists seems to fly in the face of the argument by city hired attorney Michael Kahn that we upset the historical ambiance of this ancient city. We are referred to as a "visual blight"" in his latest argument against our appeal. Again, we are consistently referred to as "street performers". We visual artists are very good at self policing and conscious of creating a good impression of our city. Controlling pickle bucket drummers is another matter.....not our job, Commissioner.The courts state that visual artists have a "bundle of rights" that street performers do not have. You are being mislead (and so is uninformed County Judge Tinlin) that if we allow visual artists we must permit all. This is absolutely not the case.Thank you for the Spanish Colonial Quarter idea bit the artists I know clearly understand where our rightful venue is and it is not there.
This proposal brings to mind Butler Beach where the African Americans were "permitted" in the 60's. seperate and away from public view.Mr. Gardner, we do not forget that you voted to have us removed from the majority of the streets in St. Augustine.
Gregory Travous (Suvo)
Note: Today is Saturday and I am still in my studio ......... staring at a half finished watercolor