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


  1. I love this painting of karl...
    Good God you have fashioned yourself into a full blown politicio.....I'm just happy to get up the three stairs to my door these days....keep me on your list, though.


  2. Hello again,
    I thought I'd mention another disturbing violation of Artist's constitutional rights that goes on at every Art Festival across the country and few if any Artists ever challenge. "Jury Review", as a condition of participation in Art Festival events being held on public fora. I would call attention to our winning ruling from the U.S. District Court for Nevada, (White, Klinefelter v. City of Reno, 2003). My attorneys and I were just getting our feet wet on that litigation and the Federal Judge was learning about the full First Amendment rights of Artists. The good thing that came out of that litigation was that the court ruled that: "Original Artists" street vendors do not have to undergo review by a "review committee". Why? Again, because this is Free Speech we are talking about. In the USA using a jury review committee to determine who is worthy of displaying their art before the public, in a public forum, is called CENSORSHIP!
    Using this ruling I successfully challenged a City's policy, down in Arizona, when it came to issuing a permit for a promoter to hold an Art Show on public property. I pointed out to the City that the City Government couldn't use a "jury review" with Artists, nor could the City Government simply issue a permit for a promoter to use a "jury review" process to determine who could participate in a "Public" festival event being held on "Public Property", open to "Public Attendance", and open to "Public Participation".
    That City Government paid an outside law firm over $10,000 in fees, asking these questions. That law firm told the City that not only could the promoter NOT use a jury committee to determine who was worthy of being in this "public" event [held on public property] but the City also had to provide an "Alternative Venue" for all Citizen Artists that could not afford the participation fees for the event. The alternative venue had to provide "Equal Access" for the non participating Artists to have equal access to the attending public. For the first time in all my years, that City Government made the promoter use a "first come, first serve" method or a "content neutral" lottery to determine who could participate in his event.
    When this promoter held his event we had about 20 Artists set up in a park near his festival, in the FREE Venue provided by the City, as per Artist's constitutional rights! You have just got to love it! The promoter was furious. Of course all of the young and senior Citizen Artists that couldn't afford the entry fees for these festivals were elated. It was written up in the Arizona Republic Newspaper, Nov. 17 & 18, 2006, as challenging the festival industry standard policies, here in Arizona. Thats right, and someone sure should be challenging these unconstitutional art festival policies. If they want to use the Arts and Artists to fund their special agendas, they could at least honor Artists constitutional rights. Don't you think?
    Now if the promoter or special interest group were holding their festival event on "private fora" they could use a jury review because it is a private event.
    I wish every Artist would ask themselves who in the hell are these so called jury review judges, making decisions as to who can be and Artist and who can't, based upon their own personal taste or just as likely lack of taste? There is NO standard or criteria for judging one Artist verses another. Especially when it comes to determining who is worthy of publicly displaying their art at a public festival. In the Reno litigation we referred to these juries as "Standardless Jury Review Committees". Has anyone noticed that there are few if any young Artists participating in these festival events?
    Another thing Artists should know is that when a City Government allows an Art Festival to take place on traditional public fora, they are in fact setting a legal precedent for the use of that public fora in that manner. Indeed Artists are selling their Art during these festivals being held on public fora(property). In doing so, the City must allow equal access to Artists at other times, or it is a violation of Artists 14th Amendment right to equal protection under law.
    These are important elements of Artists constitutional rights that they all should know about. Throughout the country Artists have been commercialized by these Cities and festival promoters and made subject to countless unconstitutional licenses, fees, and restrictions. You know, they're all making money off of Artists. City Governments have virtually given these festival promoters a monopoly on granting or denying Artists any kind of access to the public. Cities label Artists as "commercial vendors", and run them off of all public fora at other times , leaving only festivals or galleries as Artist's avenue to the public.
    We have found that as we challenge the city policies of permitting these many festival events, being held on public fora, and Artists demand equal access -- it is forcing Art Festival promoters and special interest groups to become more concerned with the needs of Artists. Instead of just exploiting them for ever rising entry fees, jury committees, and licenses.
    We all have a lot of work to do in educating Artists, the public, and governments about the constitutional rights of citizens to express ourselves artistically and receive compensation for our protected artistic expression on traditional public fora.
    We need more litigation! Only the Federal Courts can make these long overdue decisions about Artist's rights. It amazes me that my name is on that ruling from the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. After over 200 years of our country's history -- Artists are just now asking these questions of our Federal Courts? That amazes me.
    Well, I and my Attorneys are not finished yet. We have a lot more questions to ask of the Federal Courts. We have won two litigations thus far and that just sets the foundation for further litigation. We are hopeful we can find more "verminiforous pignuts" that will fight us all the way to the 9th Circuit again. Ha! God bless the City of Sparks evil hearted City Attorney,[just my opinion], for fighting us all the way to the 9th Circuit and helping us to further the cause of Artist's rights.

    Still fighting,
    Steven C. White
    Artist / Artist Advocat

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