Tuesday, May 11, 2010
Vanity Galleries / Pay for Play
Pablo Picasso being polite
Call us street artists, street vendors, starving artists, whatever label you choose. A constant misunderstanding about us is that we are biding our time until a gallery discovers our talent and chooses to represent us.This is certainly not the case, especially in a city that is not NYC or LA. To be one of a dozen artists displayed in a "resort"gallery will not get you enough income to pay for your paints. Co-op galleries come and go , a sometime casualty of internal politics or the economy. The latest trend is to "rent" wall space to artists. In the big cities you can buy yourself an opening and a 30 day exhibit in the low four figures. Here in town you can get wall space for as little as75 dollars a month. Now, by illegal ordinance the City of St. Augustine has created a 75 dollar a month vanity gallery with no walls within a 40'x10' spot in the Plaza. The refuse to explain the thousands of dollars they were forced to refund a few years ago because licensing was illegal.
Granted, running a gallery is a tough business and owners should be prepared to dedicate full time and more to getting traffic and closing sales. Too often I hear artists tell me that they have left their prints "on consignment" in a local gallery.This is in violation of the long standing rule that original artworks are.... consigned.... and published multiple prints are.... sold.... at wholesale to the gallery. The logic is that a manufactured print from a local artist is not treated differently as that from a national publisher. If a merchant had a choice of moving inventory, which one do you think would take precedence ...It would be the one that has an investment interest.
The few St. Augustine artists illegally banished to the small area in the Plaza's slave market are well aware that the more "eyes" on their artworks, the more people will end up owning one. "It's all about the money", says Mayor Joe Boles. He is correct. Without an audience and without sales there would be no artwork. If it was his intention to harm the artist's ability to sell, he has been successful. He has also prevented you from seeing our artwork.
The City of St. Augustine continues violating the spirit of our U.S.Constitution This is a "special" place in our country where the city administration feels that they do not have to abide by the same first amendment laws that are upheld throughout our nation. I hear the "Ghosts of 1964" .It would serve them well to check the record of the self styled "Constitutional expert" hired to advise them.
We have our gallery. It is a small space on public property, not where you have banished us.....and you city administrators are interfering with the public's right to see our expression.
Posted by Karl at 9:53 AM