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.