Thursday, November 23, 2006

Mostly Forgotten

This sculptured face is at the base of what looks like a birdbath at the west end of the Plaza De La Constitucion. This was a pedestal for a statue contributed to St. Augustine by the the Dr. Andrew Anderson family in 1921. The statue was of a girl in a flowing gown standing atop an ornate fountain. Vandals smashed the statue in 1941. The base and fountain dish remain. Anderson was responsible for the sculpted Lions on the bridge, the Ponce statue on the Circle and the flagpole in front of the American Legion. Public Art in those days mainly consisted of monuments to people or events.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

The administrative employees of the City of St. Augustine are in a pickle. It has been shown that the City Attorney has been giving innacurate, contradictory and inconsistent legal counsel regarding the First Amendment Rights of visual artists. He has resigned after 15 years with no reason for his departure given to the people. No word on a replacement. The day to day operations are to be done by Asst. City Attorney Robin Upchurch ("Florida Coastal School of Law" alumnus) whose behaviour so far shows a lack of breeding. Courtesy and manners go a long way when working as a public servant. Her comment that our artist friend Suvo "smells of alcohol and is rude"(1) cannot be further from the truth. Perhaps a turpentine odor lingers in his clothes and his straightforward speech may be interpreted as rudeness (we do not know how) but he is polite to the point almost being Canadian.

"Toleration is not the opposite of intolerance but the counterfeit of it. Both are despotisms: the one assumes to itself the right of withholding liberty of conscience, the other of granting it." -- Thomas Paine, The Rights of Man

Isn´t it time to have the visual artists ( original paintings, prints, sculpture and photographs) back on St. George Street? A bad "law" is no law at all.

1. Later,Scott Raimondo told us that the actual statement concerning Suvo was made by Deborah Gibson, the administrative assistant to the City Attorney. Scott misspoke.
Excerpt from The Federal Court decision.

Bery et al v. City of New York / Lederman et al v. City of New York #95-9089].

"The City apparently looks upon visual art as mere "merchandise" lacking in communicative concepts or ideas. Both the court and the City demonstrate an unduly restricted view of the First Amendment and of visual art itself. Such myopic vision not only overlooks case law central to First Amendment jurisprudence but fundamentally misperceives the essence of visual communication and artistic expression. Visual art is as wide ranging in its depiction of ideas, concepts and emotions as any book, treatise, pamphlet or other writing, and is similarly entitled to full First Amendment protection. Indeed, written language is far more constricting because of its many variants--English, Japanese, Arabic, Hebrew, Wolof, Guarani, etc.--among and within each group and because some within each language group are illiterate and cannot comprehend their own written language. The ideas and concepts embodied in visual art have the power to transcend these language limitations and reach beyond a particular language group to both the educated and the illiterate. As the Supreme Court has reminded us, visual images are "a primitive but effective way of communicating ideas ... a shortcut from mind to mind... The City further argues that appellants are free to display their artwork publicly without a license, they simply cannot sell it. These arguments must fail. The sale of protected materials is also protected. See Lakewood v. Plain Dealer Pub. Co., 486 U.S. 750, 756 n. 5 & 768, 108 S.Ct. 2138, 100 L.Ed.2d 771 (1988). "It is well settled that a speaker's rights are not lost merely because compensation is received; a speaker is no less a speaker because he or she is paid to speak..."

You Gotta Be Kidding !

Click on pic to read

As Phony As The "Oldest Schoolhouse"

click on pic to enlarge