Thursday, January 31, 2008


These five City Commissioners have ignored Federal Court rulings that affirm that Art is fully protected by the First Amendment Bill of Rights.

If not for the courage of a few remaining artists who face arbitrary arrests ,jail and confiscation, we would have an empty Plaza. (ready for the corporate sponsors to step in )
The citizens have told us that we are wanted and in no way detract from the historical nature of St. Augustine. Ask yourself....just whose interests do these commissioners, judges and city attorneys represent?

Behind The Story

For his entire time in public office N.Y.C. mayor Mike Bloomberg has continued to wage a vicious war against street artists that was started by Mayor Giuliani and the CPC (Central Park Conservancy), including daily illegal enforcement, daily harassment, false arrests and ongoing efforts to strip away the legal rights we won in the course of ten years of legal struggle. Read activist artist Robert Lederman's article and you can see that "corporatization" and loss of personal freedoms is moving in to all sectors of our life. This applies to NYC, Peoria Illinois or St. Augustine Florida. Should we wait for "Ripley's Plaza De La Constitucion"? Article

Art In The Market Artist

Island Fine Art and Massage

A collection of 57 Original Oil paintings by award winning artist
Charles Dickinson
Visit the gallery at 6279 A1A South, St. Augustine, Fl, just 1/2 mile north of the 206 Bridge
Come see Dickinson's masterful wet into wet brushwork in oil paints that capture the life, color, and vibrancy in nature. Charles paints a variety of subjects aand locations and is an exciting and expressive visual artist.

The exhibit will hang through February 2008.

Monday, January 28, 2008

There is as statement on another blog: www.Plaza
by someone tagged Bieramar who writes:
"Classic civil disobedience technique - and I've originated, organized and participated in many. BUT the caveat must always be kept in mind - do the crime, do the time. If you're successful, the laws and their enforcement get changed - but only rarely is retroactive application or redress. "
The students pictured above were aware that they were blocking public thoroughfares but in order to demonstrate their battle with racial segregation they were prepared to go to jail. This is the idea that you are writing about and we agree.
The case of Suvo and the Plaza artists is a bit different. We say that the criminal act is perpetrated by the City of St. Augustine. Suvo had no choice but to accept handcuffs and jail. The choice of that or freedom was not given by the police. It is the banning and arrests that we protest. To blithely accept the "punishment" is to accept the restriction of our personal freedom.
A statement From the Board:
"The St. Augustine Art Association (STAAA) supports the First Amendment Right of freedom of expression for all artists to create and sell their work. A strong artistic community benefits all of St. Augustine."
Is it spelled Minorcans or is it Menorcans ?
New plaque on St. George Street

We have the info directly from the source. It is MENorca. At least that's the way that they say it and spell it in Menorca. If you ever visit, make sure that you see Calas Covas with its original "hippies"-colony: people are living in caves, transistor radios being their only contact with the rest of the world. We do not know where they get their batteries.

Watch for S. Darlingtons new book from Pretense Press: Early Menorcans in Florida (Courageous or Just Plain Lazy?)

Why Is This Man Laughing?

Rudolph Giuliani wants to be President of the United States. His success in cleaning up Times Square in Manhattan was followed by his arguable leadership after the 911 crisis.

Beneath the surface,this grinning former prosecutor is a demagogue of huge proportion.

Our street artist friends in N.Y.C. fought against this man's idea that he is the arbiter and "decider" of which of our basic freedoms we are permitted. The legal process was slow and the artists' resources were slim but the Supreme Court finally decided in 1996 that visual art was protected speech. No, Mr. Giuliani, you cannot shut down our museums because you feel offended by an artwork. (Brooklyn Museum).You cannot stop an artist from displaying and selling his work on our own (public) property. You lost this one Mr. Giuliani. You apparently have fans in the City Administration of the City St. Augustine. Are these public servants defenders of the law or suppressors of the law?

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Will You Wait Until It Happens To You?

Which of these free speech activities is not permitted by The City Of St. Augustine, Florida?* The other three are considered "protected speech" by the City. Do we have equal protection as artists selling our works? No! The musicians (& news machine) received money for their service or product. The visual artist gets arrested for publicly protesting a bad, uneven and illegal ordinance. Yet read the Federal Court wording regarding the commercial aspect of artwork as protected speech. The City Commission disregards Federal rulings . Their predecessors did it in the bad old days of desegregation and they are doing it now.
See Lakewood v. Plain Dealer Pub. Co., 486 U.S. 750, 756 n.5 & 768 (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." This was invoked in BERY vs RUDOLPH GIULIANI IN 1996 affirming an artist's right to sell his works on public property. Art is Free Speech.
* Hint: You can see police shutting down Suvo's protest on St. George St. (December 2006) Verdict by Judge Tinlin ....Guilty.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Aerial Angels of Kalamazoo

Last Saturday three ladies put on a cool show of acrobatics and polished patter. The last thing that they said was that street performance was "alive and well in St. Augustine".
We applaud such outdoor performances . Get people off the sofa...away from the corporate puff sliced up on television and movie theaters.
A reminder to the Cultural Alliance and the sponsor of this event Casa Monica.............ordinance 22-6 reads:
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
Since artists were told that they cannot give out business cards or website info thus constituting "an offer for sale". Would not the 50 % off coupons for the Casa Monica Brunch (ordinary price .... a tankful of gas) be considered an offer for sale? Employees say that the brunch crowd doubled last Saturday thanks to this promotion.
Don't get us wrong, we applauded along with the rest of the crowd ( a hundred or so.) as they blocked the sidewalk much more than we gentle artists ever do. Remember St. Johns County residents,........Casa Monica fed the performers but YOU paid for this show. The County Commission recently named this private agency "The St. Johns County Cultural Alliance", the "official" Arts Agency here. This means that state art and cultural monies and grants will go to them. Maybe they will parcel it out as they see fit.
We have written before about the methods used by the self appointed president Phil McDaniel. We believe that the government should stay away from the Arts. Let us be. We will decide what we create. We have no time for dabblers and dilettantes. We say ...let them do their "arts council" thing, keeping distance from any oversight concerning our protected first amendment activities. ( We hear things)
We did enjoy the girls from Kalamazoo.
Atty Tom Cushman's administrative assistant, Nadine Phelps ("Della Street" for those who are either old enough or are "Nick at Night" fans) tells us that street performance is alive and well in Jackson Square, New Orleans. Would you like to be a Silverman? (Mom would be proud!) Read this guy's mini bio and tell us when you' re ready. A Silverman does not always get respect . Here he is in Honolulu and they want to reign him in

Friday, January 11, 2008

The Crime of "Thinking About It"

Last Saturday three artists were set up near the canon by the Government House. At about 2PM two police officers approached asking Suvo what he was doing. "I' m thinking about selling some art". There was a small group of tourists looking at Suvo's work at the time. Sgt Mc Cully ordered the patrolman to arrest and handcuff Suvo. His art was confiscated and he went to the St. John's County jail where he was kept for twenty four hours.

We do not need to harp on this and get into the polemics of the U.S. Constitution. This is just plain WRONG.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Artist Dean Quigley and Musician Mike Williams jam in the Plaza for the artist's benefit.

Actually, artist Scott Raimondo is pictured here receiving a fine of 100 dollars for allegedly selling a 20 dollar print to a tourist. The police had set up a "stake out" from the Government House (behind in photo) Walkie talkies and binoculars were the tools used to capture this heinous criminal.
Art Walk Every Saturday Plaza De La Constitucion

Friday, January 04, 2008

Sparks, Nevada

Steven White, an artist in Nevada who successfully challenged the Sparks Nevada prior restraint ordinances against artists has also forced festival promoters to change their jury process and open their gates,writes to us:

"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"Story link
Hi, I spoke to you in Oct (2005) and you gave me your email address. This is the picture of the Indian Graves (at The Fountain of Youth) taken in 1936 by my Mother . She is now 85. I have the original, and if you are interested, I would be happy to send it to you. I thought it might be of interest to display it, since the site is now covered up. Thanks, Gail

This was sent to us two years ago. We hope Gail, that your mother is still with us.

Articles about Native American gravesites and the respect that they deserve HERE

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Hoping that 2008 Is Good For You

A Haiku For You
New Year's Day-
-everything is in blossom!
I feel about average.
Kobayashi Isa
"For every nine people who denounce innovation, only one will encourage it....For every nine people who do things the way they have always been done, only one will ever wonder if there is a better way........ For every nine people who stand in front of a locked building, only one will ever come around and check the back door.......
"Our progress as a species rests squarely on that tenth person. The nine are satisfied with things that they are told are valuable. Person 10 determines for himself what has value"
7 AM this morning