Monday, December 31, 2007

Get Yours Today!

Mayor Boles Cutout Mask !
Click to enlarge full size
Print on Cardstock &tape to paddle or stick
The next time you have something to say at a City Commission meeeting you may want to take this handy item along. We imagine that the mayor would think twice before he throws out an unruly speaker (you) that looks just like his own lordship's visage ! This would be like something from a Phillip K. Dick short story wouldn't it? "Is that Me? If so Who am I?" "Wait a minute, there are four other me's in the room !" We do not want to drive the mayor insane by any means but he is not a champion of free speech and ...hey......stop calling yourself an artist, pal.

In Front Of The Bishop! For Christ's Sake!

Artist Sarah Platt drove up from Lake Mary to do some outdoor painting and perhaps sell some of her other works. She set up in the Plaza De La Constitucion on a beautiful Sunday morning. No other artists were there yet. Two police officers approached and informed Sarah of the new ordinance prohibiting the sale of artwork on public property. Though she had not sold anything, they stated that she had "offered artwork for sale.", Furthermore, she cannot give out her address, phone number,business card or website URL as that would constitute an "offer for sale" which the officers said is prohibited on most public properties in St. Augustine. There had been complaints according to the police. Sarah was given a fine of 100 dollars.

When the other artists arrived and heard of Sarah's problem they advised her of our "protest display"and a suggestion to perhaps cover up the 3'x 4' painting of copulating angels. We sensed that this may have been the source of at least one complaint. The female angel's face looked remarkably like our Prosecuting Attorney Robin"I've Been Villified!" Upchurch. Sarah has never seen Ms. Upchurch so the similarity is unintentional.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Elect This Man?!

"Freedom is about authority. Freedom is about the willingness of every single human being to cede to lawful authority a great deal of discretion about what you do." Rudolph Guiliani
His quotes are as bad as our own St. Augustine Commissioner's remarks

Scrooged !

We have always contended that the ordinances restricting the sale of visual art on public property is illegal. The ripple effect of such an ordinance impinges on a number of other activities. We had previously made suggestions regarding the panhandling situation and passed them on to the police and the city. Zonta's Santa can't take charity donations for the sleigh rides around the plaza and the Salvation Army cant serve hot chocolate and ring their bells for their cause. Carriage drivers continue and taxis flourish under another ordinance though it contradicts another prohibiting such. St. Augustine Record Story

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Rescued Mural has New Home

The Hugo Ohlms mural that graced the wall of the Ponce Room at the Ponce Motor Lodge for decades is re-displayed at the St. Augustine and St. Johns County Visitor Information Center.

"When you are on this street , your ass is mine" ,City Commissioner Errol (Gangsta) Jones to Art In The Market street art vendor who set up in front of the artist's home during the Lincolnville festival.
"We do not want modern art in the Plaza" (De La Constitucion) City Commissioner/architect Don Crichlow.
"You are gettin' pretty chummy with those hippies" WFOY radio personality Al "Foot In Mouth"Brennan to a local arts doyenne talking about an upcoming arts program.
"After looking at some of the art I've seen in the Plaza , I'd rather see sunglasses being sold" Commissioner George Gardener
"I've been to George's house.........all I can say is ...Wal Mart Art. "Local business person in reference to George's above remark.
"You want me to move that stuff or do you want the police to do it?!" Art Association organizer to Art In The Market vendor set up legally near the Arts and Crafts show at Francis Field
"You are stealing electricity .....I'm giving you a two hundred dollar ticket" SAPD police officer to artist who plugged in to an unmarked "city plug" in the plaza

Big Lies In A Little Town

This is it, and it is repeated over and over again by city commissioners and the public who have been deliberately misinformed :

"Judge Tinlin has ordered that we must permit all vendors ( flea market tschotkes, old clothes, jewelry etc.) or none."

This false statement began with the City attorneys Brownchurch and it is taken for gospel with the city commissioners two of which are attorneys.

Arists are now banned from offering their work for sale on publlic property throughout most of St. Augustine

Peruse the court decision (indexed on the right margin) yourself to see if you can find such an order. You will not find it.

"The key-word here is blackwhite. Like so many Newspeak words, this word has two mutually contradictory meanings. Applied to an opponent, it means the habit of impudently claiming that black is white, in contradiction of the plain facts." From George Orwell's novel 1984

Friday, December 07, 2007

Hey, Nice Shoes !

We Didn't Even Know It Was Here
According to a Cajun legend, looking into the eyes of an albino alligator is supposed to give a person good luck for a year. The Alligator Farm here in town has a rare six year old albino gator In March of next year you will have to go to Green Bay Wisconsin to see it. It has been sold to the New Zoo there. We have tried to look at it but it keeps avoiding eye contact. Good bye chalky, snowy,white, achromic reptile without a name. Enjoy Wisconsin.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Castigat idendo mores*

Mayor Joseph Boles and retinue looking out over his dominion on the "Night of Lights"
The City of St. Augustine mayor Joseph Boles may need a good history lesson and a look into the "American "psyche. Thomas Paine wrote the pamphlet Common Sense, which encouraged American independence based on an anti-monarchy argument. Arguing from both a biblical perspective and republican virtues Paine wrote that monarchies were never good for people of any free state. Anything that appears to be elitist or has the trappings of royalty is repellant to many citizens. Following the balcony speeches and the tree lighting, Mayor Boles and his lady took a carriage ride two blocks to the Lightner Museum with an escort of four police cars with lights flashing. A 300 dollar a couple dinner was then ready and the swells were there to raise money for the homeless. Look here mayor and all of you balcony standers, it was probably not your intention to appear grandiose or inflated but that's the way it came off. Save the balcony ceremonies for some foreign dignitary, they like that stuff. Humor 'em. The British Night Watch where the Commissioners play dress up as English governors , that's kinda fun. It's when you start the pretentious crap of taking yourself seriously that we snicker. Take a look at the blonde lady on the lower right in the picture. She's saying "Honey, can you believe these windbags !"
*"castigat ridendo mores " One corrects customs by laughing at them.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007


Commissioner Susan"GotTaGo" Burk, Mayor Joe "Pepe" Boles and Commissioner "Lonesome" George Gardener

Related Story Video link on artist ban

St. Augustine, Florida: Last week the St. Augustine Police Department solved the rash of graffiti vandalism throughout the historic district. "We didn't expect the perpetrators to be two thirds of our City Commission, " said Police Chief Loren Lueders." this is quite a shock". Two other suspects are still at large and are expected to be apprehended soon. "Huffing (the Abuse of Inhalants) is a major problem with some of our youth but these guys are well past adolescent experimentation" said Dr. Arriana of Flagler Hospital. Contact was attempted with the two other commission members but they were not to be found.

Released on recognisance, Mayor Joseph Boles stated, "I'm an artist ! They want free speech well I'm givin' it to 'em." Commissioner Susan Burk and Commissioner Gardner insist that they were coerced into the vandaslism by one of the perpetrators at large. "Whatever these guys say I'll go along with", said Gardner. The case is expected to reach arraignment next year.

Dr. Vinod Deshmukh

A neurologist in Flagler Hospital, St. Augustine, Florida, USA, a skilled photographer and a profound poet, Dr. Vinod Deshmukh, is someone who holds you mesmerized by his diverse talents. More importantly, he comes across as someone who has the ability to touch your heart and soul both through his words and pictures. Each of the photographs clicked by this doctor, who did his MD degree from B.J. Medical College, Pune and is now settled in Florida, have a story behind them as do the poems he pens so prolifically. Cont'd article from Express India

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

"One who breaks an unjust law must do so openly, lovingly, and with a willingness to accept the penalty. I submit that an individual who breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust and who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the highest respect for law."

Dr. King's Letter from the Birmingham Jail

First of all, unless we all accept , as the Federal Courts do, that visual art is protected speech and that compensation for such does not reduce the protection we will never come to terms.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Apaches (with Geronimo) meeting with General Miles negotiating another broken treaty

Today three artists were invited to meet with two representative police officers from the City of St. Augustine. From the reports received the 45 minute meeting consisted of Commander Fricke detailing what public properties can be "offered" for the artists to display their works. These are the same areas delineated at the last city commission meeting. Today's meeting was presented as conciliatory offering. We were already aware of these less travelled public spaces.

Understand please, that as an artist we exercise our right to display and sell our works on public property (as long as we do not hinder public safety and passage) Offering what some call "ample alternatives " but eliminating the first public space in the nation will not stand. A county judges disagrees with us and we witnessed a provincial and frankly dishonest decision reflecting the judge's own prejudices. We will appeal if we find the resources. If not civil disobedience will be our course. Officers please note, WE HAVE NEVER VIOLATED THE LAW. You must do as ordered we suppose, and we gotta do what we gotta do. We follow the decisions of Federal court rulings. You follow the county judges' decision. Shades of 1964.

Geronimo's son was reportedly the first child born at the Castillo San Marco ( Ft. Marion)"Marion Geronimo, September 13, 1886

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

St. Augustine Church, undated, oil on canvas, 23.5 x 17.5 inches
Frank Wyley (1905-1978) was born in Long Beach, Miss. He moved to New Orleans at the age of five, where he lived until his death. He worked as a porter and taught himself to paint and make prints through studying books and magazines. Influenced by Paul Cezanne, Raoul Dufy, Henri Matisse and Georges Roualt, his work ranges from portraiture to Cubist still-lifes to New Orleans cityscapes. The Amistad Research Center and the Ogden Museum of Southern Art
"St. Augustine is a tight little town. You see and feel the prejudice everywhere"
Jacob Lawrence, American Painter

Monday, November 19, 2007

No Art, No Horses

Carriage Rides Banned Under New Ordinance


"It is unlawful for any person to sell or offer for sale, compensation or donation, or rent or offer for rent, goods, wares, merchandise, food stuffs, refreshments, or other kinds of property or services upon the streets, alleys, sidewalks, parks and other public places within historic preservation zoning districts HP-2 and HP-3."

Friday, November 16, 2007

City Commisars

When the Nazis came for the communists,
I remained silent;
I was not a communist.
When they locked up the social democrats,
I remained silent;I was not a social democrat.
When they came for the trade unionists,
I did not speak out;I was not a trade unionist.
When they came for the Jews,
I remained silent;I wasn't a Jew.
When they came for me,
there was no one left to speak out.
Martin Niemöller (1892–1984)
Another Version:
When they came for the Jews and the blacks, I turned away
When they came for the writers and the thinkers and the radicals and the protesters, I turned away
When they came for the gays, and the minorities, and the utopians, and the dancers, I turned away
And when they came for me, I turned around and around, and there was nobody left...

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Das ist aber schade (It's A Shame)

Here it is in a nutshell............ Yesterday at a special eight a.m. meeting the, St. Augustine Florida City Commission has banned ALL expressive activity in the nation's oldest public space the Plaza De La Constitucion and virtually all of downtown. The ban includes Constitutionally protected prints, paintings, sculpture, photography and printed materials. The junior assistant city attorney Robin Upchurch brought in six paid witnesses to meander on with irrelevant testimony. Five artists and perhaps 10 other supporters from the community ( merchants and residents) came out in favor of the artists and against this ordinance."Beana" Upchurch told the commissioners that county Judge Tinlin ruled in St. Augustine vs Travous, Sala, Chuites that the administration can permit all vendors ( costume jewelry, sunglasses, plants etc. ) or none. Tinlin did not rule this but the commissioners swallow this hook, line and sinker. Tinlin did rule in another case, St. Augustine vs Travous that the ordinance banning visual art from St. George St. was constitutional and in the previous case he was ruling specifically on the three artists and not making a general sweep. Frankly Judge Tinlin's decision was poorly written , rife with misspelling and bad grammar and if he did any research into the constitutional issue, it was not apparent.

Some observations:
Police Corporal Cuthbert stated that cameras and undercover officers have been used to monitor the artists activities............Ain't that somethin'?A bunch of mainly middle aged folks doin our own peaceful creative thing is under surveillance. Oddly, there was nothing really in his report other than Suvos' empty lunch bag under his chair (Pick up yer stuff!)

Commissioner Jones once again has to remind us of his civil rights soldiering then he turns right around and votes for this constitutionally illegal ordinance. Hey Mr. Jones, I'm just an old Rottweiler dog but I think that I might be blacker than you.

Robin Upchurch's use of the word "regale" (twice) seemed strange . Here you go Robin:

French régaler, from Middle French, from regale, noun
circa 1656
transitive verb 1 : to entertain sumptuously : feast with delicacies 2 : to give pleasure or amusement to intransitive verb : to feast oneself :

He's suffering from Politicians' Logic. Something must be done, this is something, therefore we must do it.
Yes, Prime Minister, (British TV program)

Monday, November 12, 2007


City Commissioners, Mayor & Governor

City of St. Augustine, Be Careful, Be Very Careful.

Last month a gentlemen from Tibet set up a small table in The Plaza De La Constitution and offered the Bhagavad Gita and tracts about his Eastern philosophy. Soon two police officers, one a Seargent, arrived and informed this gentleman that if he did not leave the area he would be arrested. The soft spoken missionary was very distressed and left. The next Sunday a friendly group of Christians set up were giving out water and proselytized throughout the Plaza. They were undisturbed in their missionary zeal. Three more Christian events have been held since that time and the police never disturbed their activities.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

After 31 hours in the St. John's County Jail holding cell Suvo was released on bond. Karl the 13 year old Rottweiler was in the Animal Shelter not to be released until the next day. The art that Suvo was displaying ( two tapestries) was confiscated, held and returned five months later after charges were dismissed.

Burma Pakistan and Venezuela have nothing on St. Augustine Florida. What a pity that the public allows this to happen. Wait until they come to your front door, brothers !

Monday, November 05, 2007

The N.C.A.C.

Svetlana Mintcheva, The Director of The National Coalition Against Censorship in N.Y.C. has sent a letter to St. Augustine Mayor Joe Boles regarding tHe constitutionally restrictive City ordinance banning artists from The Plaza de la Constitucion , the nation's first public park.

The coalition is comprised of the following 50 national not-for-profit organizations, broadly representing the interests of the artistic, educational, religious, and labor communities in the United States.

Actors' Equity Association American Association of School Administrators American Association of University Professors American Association of University Women American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression American Civil Liberties Union American Ethical Union American Federation of Teachers American Federation of Television & Radio Artists American Jewish Committee American Jewish Congress American Library Association American Literary Translators Association American Orthopsychiatric Association American Society of Journalists & Authors Americans United for Separation of Church & State Association of American PublishersAuthors League of America Catholics for a Free Choice Children's Literature AssociationCollege Art Association The Creative Coalition Directors Guild of America First Amendment Lawyers AssociationInternational Reading Association Lambda Legal Defense and Education FundModern Language Association National Center for Science Education National Communication Association National Council for the Social Studies National Council of the Churches of Christ National Council of Jewish Women National Council of Teachers of English National Education Association The Newspaper Guild/CWA Office of Communication, United Church of Christ PEN American Center People for the American Way Planned Parenthood Federation of America Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism Screen Actors Guild Sexuality Information & Education Council of the U.S. Society of Children's Book Writers & Illustrators Student Press Law CenterUnion of Democratic Intellectuals Unitarian Universalist Association United Methodist Communications, United Methodist Church Women's American ORT Writers Guild of America, East Writers Guild of America, West

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Noblesse Oblige

Mayor Joe Boles

Cordially invites you to enjoy an
illuminating evening of friendship, cocktails
and dinner on the 17th of November 2007
at Half past five until midnight.

5:30 Cocktails & hors doerves at Government House
6:30 Guests are given candles & led by a bagpiper to a reserved place on St. George Street.
6:45 Mayors step out on the balcony where the eldest mayor turns on the lights.
7:00 Bagpiper leads mayors and guests to Lightner Courtyard for Dinner catered by the Casa Monica, Silent Auction and dancing to the Mystery Band.
150 dollars per person. Holiday cocktail attire,

For more information call Mayor Boles office at 824 4278
The Mayor's Holiday Lighting
for relocation of the homeless

Does Anyone see the Irony Here?


A Gala Affair To Remove the Homeless

Join us in Celebrating the holidays by gorging ourselves on gourmet goodies and liqueurs.
We will perch ourselves above the throngs of common folks in the Plaza and perhaps illuminate an unfortunate for your entertainment.

Your 300 dollar a couple entry will entitle you to a smug superiority as we make our way to the courtyard of the Lightner Museum where we will dance away the evening whilst the homeless eat beans and rice spooned out by wrongheaded volunteers from Food not Bombs. Heavy security provided.

St. Augustine Holiday Cocktail Attire: Men example:Turtlenecks , polyester sportcoats and Sansabelt pants. Women : Big gaudy, dangly earrings and loose fitting caftans.

Remember,we will always have the poor with us as long as we can see them.

Minorcans and Slavery

Proposed Government House Mural by Kara Walker
Preparing for St. Augustine's 450th anniversary in 2015 we should all begin to think of public art projects. One of our suggestions would be to commission Kara Walker to do a mural series regarding the Spanish attitudes to the slavery of African Americans. We keep hearing tour guides and trolley drivers tout that the Spanish were really "good slaveholders" permitting their workers to earn money and even work their way out of bondage. Bunk. Slavery is slavery. The Spanish held onto human slavery much longer than other European nations and did not abolish the institution until 1886. Walker's silhouettes of stereotype massas and concubines works on a number of levels. This could be an important exhibit specifically commissioned by our not so progressive City Council. Ever heard of Kara Walker, Commissioner Jones? How about Aaron Douglas, Henry O . Tanner or Jacob Lawrence ?(lived here in St. Augustine)


"The Supreme Court has repeatedly recognized public streets and parks as the archetype of public forum, and has afforded strict scrutiny as the examination standard of any regulation of speech." SUVO

On 11-13 the St. Augustine City Commission plans to pass an illegal ordinance violating the Free Speech rights* of visual artists. Remember, artist's free speech rights are your free speech rights. All of downtown St. Augustine will be a non free speech zone.

* The federal courts have determined that the display and sale of visual art is protected speech.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Soon Comes The Fence

St. Augustine's Junior City Attorney Robin Upchurch has decided that the Plaza De La Constitucion is now a "passive park". She states in an ordinance proposal that the plaza has "historically been utilized as a passive park for citizens, visitors and tourists alike". We've got to wonder what city and what park she is referencing. Since day one of the nations oldest park (1588),this plaza has been the business , government and social center for colonials and contemporary folks. Dr. Adams the City Historian told us yesterday that to state that this is historically a passive park is grossly incorrect.

What is a passive park?" The City of Nashville Tennessee (an historic community) has a standard definition in their ordinances as follows:

"Park, passive" means any outdoor facility that is: 1. Open to the public for any passive recreational activity such as hiking, biking, swimming, boating and camping; and 2. Maintained predominately in a natural state.

"Park, active" means any outdoor facility that: 1. Includes permanent structures such as pavilions, playgrounds, swimming pools, bleachers; and/or 2. Allows for uses such as organized team sports or serves as or features a cultural, historical or archaeological attraction; and 3. Is open to the public.

It should be clear even to a person not yet born when Dr. King was arrested for trespass in the
Plaza, that this is an "active park". Last night a hundred kids were there in costume for the Halloween costume contest. City records indicate that over 150 permitted events have been held in the Plaza over the last 36 months. This does not include weddings in the gazebo, at least one a week.

Our City (C)ommission relies solely upon whatever the City's crack legal team of Brown and Upchurch puts forth. When the two attorney Commissioners were reminded by one of our artists of their First Amendment law school lectures they looked at each other with what the public has come to know as the "Commissioner's Smirk". To these cynics it is apparently unrealistic and naive to feel that the founding fathers meant for the Bill of Rights to be taken literally.

Most of Downtown st. Augustine has been removed as a venue for the open air artists. We may set up in the neighborhoods around the downtown districts (we may see some kids and neighborhood strollers) Our display may not exceed 3 feet x 3 feet. Postcard art! Miniatures! Come see the smallest art displays in Florida !

We have never resorted to name calling and personal remarks here at Art In The Market. Here is our straight ahead response.

" You bloated trough hogs are simply showing your ignorance not just about art but about the determination of some of us to preserve our rights. We are in a town of poorly formed characters whose self important strutting and preening is so patently obvious. Your success in obtaining low political office gives you the satisfaction of having citizens come to you hat in hand requesting what should be their inherent rights. Get some perspective here. This is a small southern whose provincial attitudes are remarkably retrograde.

We have seen yawns, smirks and complete indifference to the citizens of this town. Mayor Joe Boles' flippant attitude toward the marginal citizens of this community is not funny and the good ole boy act wears thin. This Commission has treated the artists rudely and dismissively. We can assure you that some of us have credentials in our field that equal or exceed yours in your field. You just don't get it! If you do then you are the worst kind of public official. You are kissing the hindparts of the small minority of landlords whose properties were earned by their grandparents or generatrions back.

Citizens and tourists have come forth to say that the five or six artists in the Plaza are an asset to the community. Where are the naysayers? Does anyone have the huevos to come tell us what is the problem? Safety Hazard? Blocking tourists from enjoying the Plaza? These are statements from the City attorney's office. If you have been to the Plaza within the past ten months you know that this is a plain lie. yet the commission swallows this and will be voting in an illegal ordinance on 11-13.

These remarks are directed at the money grubbing, cowardly complainers who hide behind their cash registers or their elected and paid for public officials (County judges included). If this is not you then disregard. You know who you are."

Saturday, October 27, 2007

For Immediate Release

October 24, 2007

St. Augustine Artists Plan to Defy City
Edict Requiring Them to Get Permits.

ST. AUGUSTINE, FL, USA – In response to the commission’s 4 to 1 vote on Monday to ban all visual artists from the city park and reinstate a vendor permitting scheme requiring a permit to sell in the Plaza de la Constitucion, the oldest city park in the United States of America, 10 visual artists who normally sell their artwork in the city park without a permit delivered a proclamation to City Hall today.

The Proclamation states that the artists believe the City would be “flagrantly” violating their civil rights if they are harassed, cited, or arrested by the City for not having a permit to sell their artwork in the park.

Assistant City Attorney, Robin Upchurch, recognized publicly at the City Commission meeting on Monday, that a recent court ruling by St. Johns County Judge Charles Tinlin regarding the city’s ordinance 22-06 which requires a permit to sell in the park, was unconstitutionally applied to three artists who were recently cited and arrested in the park, and that it violated the artists’ First and Fourteenth Amendment rights.

In his ruling, Judge Tinlin cited “Bery v. New York,” a United States District Court of Appeals decision that states it is “unconstitutional” to require visual artists to get a license to sell their artwork. The Federal Court ruling declared that visual art is “protected material” under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, and that the artist’s act of selling their artwork is equally “protected conduct” under the First Amendment.

The visual artists claim that the City initially recognized the Federal Court ruling protecting their First Amendment rights to sell their artwork without a permit last year when they refunded several thousand dollars in permitting fees in September of 2006 (see image of letter attached). However, by reinstating the policy on Monday to require all artists to get a permit, the artists claim that the City is flagrantly violating their civil rights.

So far none of the visual artists have applied for a permit to sell their artwork in the park. Some artists have stated that they are planning to defy the City’s edict by continuing to sell their artwork this Saturday at Noon in the park without a permit.

Greg Travous, one of the artists who normally sells his artwork in the park without a permit stated, “It is not the artists, but the City, it is the City who is breaking the law here. City ordinances can, within reason, regulate the time, place and manner that artists may sell their artwork in public spaces However requiring an artist to buy a license has been ruled unconstitutional by the Federal Courts. And it is the City of St. Augustine who is wantonly breaking the law here by disregarding the Federal Court ruling.”

On Monday, October 22, the St. Augustine City Commission voted 4 to 1 in favor of a new ordinance banning artists from the city park. The new ordinance #2007-23 will not go into affect unless city commissioners vote to approve it during a special meeting to be held on November 13, 2007.

Following the vote to ban the artists from the Plaza, city commissioners voted on a summary motion to reinstate a policy between now and the final reading on November 13, making it mandatory that all visual artists and commercial vendors alike purchase a permit to sell in the Plaza.

The number of permits to be issued will be unlimited, however the commission voted to reduce the number of available spaces from 25 to 15. As one commissioner put it, “let them fight over” the spaces. The spaces are available on a first-come, first-serve basis.

By reinstating the policy, the city commission disregarded a Federal Court decision that makes it unconstitutional to require an artist to get a license, and voted to make it mandatory that all artists apply for, and purchase, a permit to sell their constitutionally protected artwork in the city park, alongside commercial vendors.

Commercial merchandise that has a predominantly utilitarian purpose does not have the same First Amendment protection as an artists’ artwork which is primarily an _expression of the artists’ ideas and concepts.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Failing In The Oldest City

This quote is from BERY v. CITY OF NEW YORK, 97 F.3d 689 (2nd Cir. 1996)

"The City demonstrate(s) 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 short cut from mind to mind." West Virginia State Board of Education, 319 U.S. at 632.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Time, Place, Manner Restrictions.

Absolute governmental discretion in granting permits to place newsracks is an unconstitutionalprior restraint.
See City of Lakewood v. Plain Dealer, 486 U.S. 750,
756-57 (1988)

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

"Wir haben die Macht" *

St. Augustine Record Story

The City Commission met last night and for thirty minutes discussed a new ordinance regarding artists in the Plaza. The resulting decision by these elected officials was to reject all constitutional rights . The City attorneys' presentation was rife with misinformation and outright lies. This is a national trend, readers. If you are not outraged, you are not paying attention.

At no time has any artist with Art In The Market ever violated the law. The City violates the law with impunity. We will continue to insist upon our rights. Jail time is expected.

"You artists are hiding behind the First Amendment",Timothy A. Burchfield St. Augustine Chief Administrative Officer to Scott Raimondo......... Our Reply.........Yes we are, and we would like to think that all other citizens do the same.
* We have the power

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Free Speech In Peril !

St. George Street Commercial Interests Win Out Over First Amendment Rights.
Suvo sentencing for displaying art on St. George Street Mall set for 10-30

Watch For Encroaching Privatization of The Nations Oldest Public Park

Three Innocent, One Guilty

Judge Voids Plaza Sales Fines In St. Augustine

By DAVID HUNT, The Times-Union

ST. AUGUSTINE - A law designed to restrict sidewalk sales in St. Augustine violated the rights of three artists who were ticketed while selling fabric and leather work this year, a judge ruled Wednesday. CONT'D

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Still Waiting On The Judge

Jaxon Chuites , Greg Travous (Suvo) Helena Sala and Attorney Tom Cushman
After a five-hour hearing, County Court Judge Charles Tinlin postponed making a ruling in the non-jury trial.
"I've got a lot to digest and some case law to review," Tinlin said. "You will get a decision within the next 10 days."

A battle to define protected expression in St. Augustine has gone from the Plaza to the courtroom.
By My St. Johns Sun

A First Amendment battle brewing in the historic district of St. Augustine for most of this year boiled over into a St. Johns County courtroom last week. A county judge must now decide whether or not work being sold by three artists the city charged with selling prohibited items in the Plaza de la Constitucion is constitutionally protected artistic expression. ..........Cont'd

The City Of St. Augustine vs Artists or Your Taxpayer Dollars At Work
May 2009 Temp injunction against the city ordered
April 2009 Hearing in Federal Court on temp injunction
March 2009 Artists file suit in Federal court requesting injunction
Througout 2008 - multiple charges and arrests of artists exercising their constitutional rights
11-07 City Bans all vendors from Historic District
December 23, 2006
Officers arrest performers on St. George Street
Artists to defy ordinance, seek arrest
Reworked ordinance passes; city again limits performers
Performer ordinance hearing set for Wednesday
Judge dismisses vendor motion
Reworked performer ordinance approved
A rewrite for street-performer rule?
Street performers may seek damages
St. Augustine street artists can play again (Florida Times-Union)
Performer injunction grantedNo enforcement of ordinance; trial next
Fed judge to rule on performer injunction
City hires outside counsel in performer fight
Street performers, ACLU team up
Street artists' rights addressed at forum (Florida Times-Union)
St. George businesses still fuming over artists
Getting 'up-to-date' on St. George performers
Performer lawsuit filed vs. city
When does city business become personal?
Attorneys weigh in on performer ban
Five street performers plead not guilty
Street performer/merchant law in draft stage
St. Augustine approves 4-block street artist ban (Florida Times-Union)
St. Augustine tries anew to regulate street performers (Florida Times-Union)

Monday, October 01, 2007

Come on Down !

The Rev Billy of The Church of Stop Shopping is arrested at Union Square protesting the recent anti assembly laws passed in N.Y.C. Billy was reading the 40 words of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. The Church of Stop Shopping is an activist performance group based in New York City, led by Reverend Billy, the stage name of Bill Talen. Using the form of a revival meeting, on sidewalks and in chain stores, Reverend Billy and his gospel choir exhort consumers to abandon the products of large corporations and mass media; the group also preaches a broader message of economic justice, environmental protection, and anti-militarism, protesting sweatshops and the Iraq War. In the video I can hear our artist friend Robert Lederman telling the police, "He's not doing anything".

Reading the comments it is amazing how many people feel that the police are justified in jailing him. This is getting dangerous

We may be seeing the Reverend here in St. Augustine. We will keep you posted. We are awaiting the outcome of last Wednesday's court case

First Amendment Trial

Joseph Cornell, Untitled (Dieppe) 1958, Museum of Modern Art, (New York City).
Karl The Dog, Snacks As Art ,2007,Private Collection
.....drawings or paintings applied to paper, cardboard, canvas, cloth or to other similar medium when such art is applied to the medium through the use of brush, pastel, crayon, pencil, spray or other similar object... 22-10 of City of St. Augustine City Code defining what art they feel is protected by the First Amendment.
Assistant City Attorney for St. Augustine Robin Upchurch stated in court last Wednesday that artists cannot sell dog treats and therefore logic follows that artists cannot frame dog treats and call it Art. This was big news to Karl who had been working on his assemblage for over a week.

As the three artist defendant's attorney Tom Cushman says, "The city has no business telling artists and the public 'What is Art'." We say that Karl's above artwork carries the same First Amendment protection as the Jasper Johns Flag. Oddly though , the city's convoluted and contradictory code provides that a photo of the above work is protected speech but the original is not.

The current trend of student's education being specialised, giving short shrift to liberal arts is beginning to cause problems. Our cultural "dumbing down" is coming home to roost.


"Didn't you read today's front page? Five hours in the courtroom yesterday and six hours today in the office." City Attorney Ron Brown talking on a cell phone behind City Hall.

"Liar Liar ,Pants On Fire", Merrill (The Pirate)Roland passing officer Bryant at the artist's trial.

"Those news guys are a lot shorter in real life"

"You can create a sculpture with marble or you can use it for a bathroom counter. It depends upon what you do with the media not the media itself." Fiber artist's Salas' testimony excerpt from last Wednesday. Upchurch's response, "They are made differently." Our response "Yes, yes they are."

"Without a citation I have no standing in court", Suvo to Officer Etheridge on police tape.

"He has no standing in court !" , City Attorney Robin Upchurch finger raised to the heavens repeating Suvo's remark while viewing the tape.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Elena Hecht - Photographer

"I am fortunate to live in such a beautiful place as St. Augustine, with it’s beautiful beaches, sunrises and history. I hope you will get as much enjoyment out of the photo as I did taking it. Remember, there is beauty all around us, sometimes you just have to stop and take the time to see it.” Elena

Friday, September 28, 2007

Art Under Control

"Freedom of Expression in St. Augustine depends upon whether or not (Asst. City Attorney)Robin Upchurch approves of it or not."-- Tom Cushman, defense attorney for the St. Augustine Artists on Trial.

ST. AUGUSTINE, FLORIDA, USA -- In an unprecedented slap-in-the-face to the U.S. Constitution, St. Augustine city attorneys, Ron Brown and Robin Upchurch, repeatedly stated at the trial of the St. Augustine Artists that they intend to ban Free Speech from the city's park altogether.

During the trial, city attorney Ron Brown admitted that he and assistant city attorney Robin Upchurch are currently and frequently "micro-managing" who can and can't exercise their First Amendment Rights in St. Augustine's City Park, the "Plaza De La Constitucion."

Testimony given by police officers under oath revealed that the Police were given directions in the form of a two page memo from assistant city attorney, Robin Upchurch, as to what Upchurch believed to be acceptable art. Upchurch, who has no formal training or education in art, directed the Saint Augustine Police Department in a March 23, 2007 memo, as to what mediums artists could and could not use that would be acceptable forms of art to her, that could be shown in the City's park.

On March 31, one week after Upchurch issued her memo to the St. Augustine Police Department, the police raided the city park and began citing and arrested artists whose art work did not meet Upchurch's standards as acceptable art.
Referring to the artists who show their work in the city park Upchurch stated, "It has become a huge problem."

Confronted by Judge Tinlan that the city's ordinance may be unconstitutional because it is not "content-neutral," Upchurch said that the city was "making an exception" for the artist's First Amendment rights by allowing them to show their art work in the city's park. At one point Judge Tinlan asked Upchurch if she would rather do away with the First Amendment language in the ordinance, what Upchurch called an "exception," to the city ordinances that allows the artists to show their work. "Absolutely, your honor," said Upchurch. At that point, and throughout the remainder of the trial, Upchurch repeatedly said she would recommend to the city commission "First thing tomorrow" that the city do away with the language in the ordinance which allows artists to show their "paintings, photographs, prints and sculptures" in public, effectively banning the artists' Free Speech from the city's park altogether.

Upchurch and Brown, repeatedly made reference to a well documented national case, Bery V. New York. But while referencing the case, Upchurch and Brown failed to acknowledge that in that case the Federal court ruled it is "unconstitutional to require licenses for artists to display and sell their work in city parks." St. Augustine's city ordinances currently require a permit for the artists to show their work, however no permits are currently being issued by the city, and the city has up to now, been "making an exception" for some artists who meet their criteria as "acceptable" artists.

City governments may restrict the "time, place, and manner of speech," provided that the law is narrowly tailored "to serve a significant government interest" and leaves open alternative channels for communication. City attorneys Upchurch and Brown stated during the trial, that the artists have other alternatives channels, other areas in the city where they can go to show their art work, and that they intend to kick the artists out of the city park.

Referring to the city's intent to Ban the Artists, "What good is having a Constitutional Right, a First Amendment Right to Free Speech, if the St. Augustine Government only allows you to speak in a place where no one can hear you," said Bruce Bates, one of the artists who currently shows his work in the city park.

"The city would like us to go to the back of the bus," Bates said, referencing a well-known civil rights case during the 60's, "And we're not about to let a hand-full of neo-fascists roll back the calendar on Your First Amendment Rights, after all, Artists Rights, Are Your Rights Too."

Monday, September 24, 2007

St. Augustine Florida, First Amendment

Karl by Mandy

Wednesday September 26, 1PM St. John County Courthouse
St. Augustine, Florida
Artists And Their Art On Trial

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Blaming and Pointing (It'll happen)

Under federal law, when a public official acts using his official authority ("under color of law") and violates an individual's constitutional rights, that individual may sue the official for monetary damages. Hence, a public official who fails to recognize that the First Amendment protects even works of art does so at risk of financial liability.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Dan Briggs - Street Artist

In Memory of Dan Briggs - Street Artist

Be A Part Of Art

18 thousand nude volunteers pose for U.S. photographer Spencer Tunick at Mexico City's Zocalo square, May 6, 2007.
World renowned contemporary photographer, Spencer Tunick, is coming to Miami Beach on Monday, October 8, 2007 (actual time is still to be announced) for a nude photo shoot at the Sagamore Hotel. Want to get naked and participate? Register here. In order to be chosen you must send in photographs of yourself (the photos you send do not have to be nude). Participants must be 18 or older. In exchange for taking part, the models will receive a limited edition print of the installation. You will only be nude for a short period of time.

Art In The Market has invited Mr. Tunick to St. Augustine. The bayfront wiould be a perfect setting for his type of work. more on Tunick

Friday, September 14, 2007

Mad Dogs and Englishmen

San Diego to St. Augustine
These tiny seven Brits are leaving San Diego on Sept. 29 and will cross the U. S. raising money for Children in Need, Macmillan Cancer Care, The Alzheimer's Society . They are Barclay's Bank employees. St. Augustine will be their destination 3120 miles in total! Read their Blog. Contribute if you will. Perhaps some kind soul will be a host to these fine folks from across the pond. Contact Here

Free Speech and Images

Ed's Knee

Is a tattoo a form of free speech? Is it protected for the tattooist or the tattooo wearer? Excerpt from an article................"For many people, tattoos have important commemorative or even religious significance. Yet despite this communicative purpose, courts have nonetheless upheld many state imposed restrictions on body art. In these cases (none of which have been heard by the U.S. Supreme Court), the restrictions typically apply to the tattoo artist, not to the person receiving the tattoo. .......cont'd.