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