Monday, June 30, 2008

Gangsta Car

The S.A.P.D. are most likely disgusted with the job of surveilling (word?) artists on the street. They might ask themselves "Is this why I went into law enforcement?".

Never let it be said that City Manager Bill Harriss won't take on the dirty jobs himself. Yesterday Harriss and an underling were spotted in a black S.U.V. with a fellow in the back seat taking photos of artists set up in a "legal" area. This was reported to us by a painter and a photographer (who somehow didn't think to take his own photos) Fellow artists.....keep your cameras handy and your voice recorders ready. If you do not have these things didn't happen.

A friend of ours from Paraguay said that these things happened in his country during the Stroessner regime. He was aghast that this happens here.

A cynic is simply a disappointed idealist.

Artists Among Us

ARTIST POWER by the numbers...
NY TimesJune 12, 2008
A 21st-Century Profile: Art for Art's Sake, and for the U.S. Economy, Too
If all the professional dancers in the United States stood shoulder to shoulder to form a single chorus line, it would stretch from 42ndStreet for nearly the entire length of Manhattan. If every artist inAmerica's work force banded together, their ranks would be double the size of the United States Army. More Americans identify their primary occupation as artist than as lawyer, doctor, police officer or farmworker."It's easy to talk about artists in lofty and spiritual terms," said Dana Gioia, chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts. "Without denying the higher purposes of the artistic vocation, it's also important to remember that artists play an important role in
America's cultural vitality and economic prosperity. Artists have immense financial and social impact as well as cultural impact."Drawing from the census, the endowment has compiled what it bills as the first nationwide profile of professional artists in the 21stcentury.In 2005 nearly two million Americans said their primary employment was in jobs that the census defines as artists' occupations — including architects, interior designers and window dressers. Their combined income was about $70 billion, a median of $34,800 each.
Another300,000 said artist was their second job.The percentage of female, black, Hispanic and Asian artists is bigger among younger ones. Among artists under 35, writers are the only group in which 80 percent or more are non-Hispanic white. Overall, women outnumber men only among dancers, designers and writers. Similarly,while 60 percent of professional photographers are men, 60 percentunder age 35 are women.
Like the population in general, the number of artists has grownfastest in the West and the South since 1990, but New York State,followed by California, Massachusetts, Vermont and Colorado, has the most artists per capita.California claims the most actors per capita, Nevada the most dancers and entertainers, Vermont the most writers, Tennessee the most musicians, New Mexico the most fine artists, Massachusetts the most architects and designers (including, among others, commercial,fashion, floral, graphic, interior designers and window dressers),Hawaii the most photographers and North Dakota (where radio showsabound) the most announcers.
By 2005 the proportion of non-Hispanicwhites among artists had declined to 80 percent from 86 percent in1990, but the proportion of blacks, 5 percent, remained the same.San Francisco leads metropolitan areas in the proportion of artists inthe work force, followed by Santa Fe (which ranks first in writers and fine artists), Los Angeles, New York and Stamford-Norwalk in suburbanConnecticut. The Top 10 also include Boulder, Colo.; Danbury, Conn.;and Seattle.Orlando, Fla., leads in entertainers and performers.
The "Artists in the Workforce" report, prepared by Sunil Iyengar, the endowment's director of research and analysis, identified 185,000writers, 170,000 musicians and singers, nearly 150,000 photographers,nearly 40,000 actors and 25,000 dancers. (They have the youngest median age, 26, and the highest proportion of minority workers, 40percent).The only artists whose ranks declined since 1990 were, as a group, fine artists, art directors and animators, to 216,000 from 278,000.The number of announcers also dropped.More than one in four artists live in California and New York, wheretheir sheer numbers are overwhelming compared to the artist colonies in other states. New Mexico, Vermont, Hawaii and Montana rank first in fine artists per capita, but they total 7,000, compared with 66,000 inCalifornia and New York combined. Since 2000 Minnesota, New Jersey,Rhode Island and New Mexico gained in the proportion of artists compared to all workers.
Mr. Gioia attributed the spread of artists beyond traditional urban clusters to the growth of cultural institutions in maturing cities in the South and West, the mobility of the work force, technology that enables a painter in Santa Fe to reach a broader audience and the high cost of living in cities including Boston, New York, San Francisco andLos Angeles.Overall, the median income that artists reported in 2005 was $34,800 —$42,000 for men and $27,300 for women.
The median income of the 55percent of artists who said they had worked full-time for a full year was $45,200.Over all, artists make more than the national median income ($30,100).They are more highly educated but earn less than other professionalswith the same level of schooling. They are likelier to be self-employed (about one in three and growing) and less likely to work full-time, year-round. (Dancers have the lowest median annual income of all artists, architects the highest — $20,000 and $58,000,respectively.)
"Many performing artists are underemployed," Mr. Gioia said, "but one of the stereotypes we're trying to debunk is that artists are mostlymarginal and unemployed."About 13 percent of people who say their primary occupation is artist also hold a second job — about twice the rate that other people in the labor force work two jobs. The majority of artists work for for-profit enterprises but 8 percent work for private, nonprofits and 3 percent work for government.
While the number of artists doubled between 1970 and 1990 as theaters,galleries, orchestras and university and commercial venues grew, their ranks since 1990 have increased at about the same rate as the total work force. They now represent 1.4 percent of the labor force, or nearly as many people as the active and reserve armed forces

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Looking The Other Way

St. Augustine City Police uses male and female undercover operatives to get the artists to actually quote a price for their work and then they issue a $100 fine and sometimes jail.

In contrast, the St. John's County Sheriff's Office use their resources to actually CATCH CRIMINALS ! Here is the story of an alleged bad step - father and his unfortunate son.

If these guys are guilty, it is possible that they offloaded their multitude of stolen goods at their residence right on St. George Street about 200 feet from the surveillance of the artists. ( Read correction in comments) Now I'm not a police dog and yeah, I'm second guessing, but the photo above illustrates how it would've looked to Officer Tyus the beat cop and the crew watching he artists.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Public Art - Big Apple Style

New Yorkers can do it up big ! The world's largest public art project is now complete. ( OK, we'll give you the Pyramids ) Artist Olafur Eliasson designed a huge constant waterfall on the East River underneath a buttress of the Brooklyn Bridge.

We think that it looks remarkable. That said......we are always perplexed when communities always bring up fountains as an art project. How many defunct water pumps sit idle in communities across the country? Fountain maintenance is one of the first things scrapped during fiscal tightening. Think of the Koi Pond in back of the Government House (near the dead Confederate General. )

Anyway, you know that screenwriters are busy trying to work this Hitchcock setting into their plots. Story and Film

Big Things Coming !

St. Augustine citizens are starting to prepare for the city's 450th birthday celebration in 2015. Jamestown, Va had it's 400th anniversary last year and it brought out the Queen of England and the President of the United States. Pensacola Fla. has begun it's preparations for a 450th celebration in 2009,billing itself arguably as"North America’s First Major European Settlement". The term North America may mean different things to different people in the world according to the context.

Parts of the programs at Colonial Williamsburg has been mentioned as a model for St. Augustine. It is important to note that Colonial Williamsburg is a privately owned recreation of 17th century life and has many inaccuracies. To some critics Colonial Williamsburg has become a sort of "theme park" with its many reenactments and "living history " programs.

No one needs to remind people that St. Augustine is a "living city". When we celebrate our own birthdates we think of the present and future as well as the past.

Let's also remember that the geographic area of St. Augustine was a busy population center when the Spanish landed. See Seloy

It's going to be fun !

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Replace Harriss With Regan

Chief Operating Officer John Regan
Many in this community have expressed disappointment if not outrage with William Harriss' performance as City Manager. They cite his imperious manner with citizens at Commission meetings, his callous if not criminal approval of shipping contaminated soil to the less affluent neighborhoods, his refusal to talk with the press and his non residency in the city that pays his salary. Those of us who have resided in other cities with Commission/Manager system of government are astounded at the latitude this commission gives Mr.Harriss. This deference to Harriss is particularly not understandable since William Harriss has no particular training in urban management and seems to rule by the "seat of his pants".
It has been noticed that the city's Chief Operations Officer John Regan is the one who has to take on the hard questions and he does so with some finesse that many in this small town lack. Regan is the one who speaks before community groups and listens to the constant litany of complaints that come from a minority of citizens. We have never witnessed nor heard of John Regan belittling someone and treating them as anything other than a concerned citizen.
John Regan is active in the community and does not drive off to another suburban community when the day is over. You can find him every Thursday jogging downtown (if you are up at 6 AM)
This is a guy who had the personal fortitude to lose 90 pounds and then compete in his first marathon, the Chicago Marathon and was one of 4000 out of 36000 who finished during a record heat wave.
Mind you , he's still a bureaucrat, but he seems flexible and willing to listen.
To the City off the sweetheart contract given to Harriss and replace him. You already have the guy there doing the real job.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

George Carlin

Actual conversation overheard on a NYC subway 12 years ago.

"Are you still seein' that girl from Queens?"
"No, we had a disagreement, she's skewed man!"
"You mean you han an argument"
"Not so much an argument but we have different views on things."
"Like what?"
"Nothing really, she was pretty good,..... kind and hot to boot but it didn't work out."
Waddya mean?
"Ok if you gotta know, we were watching George Carlin on HBO and she said that she didn't like him and didn't think he was funny. She said he was cantankerous and mean. "
That's it?
"Yeah how can I hang with somebody who fuckin feels that way. It's over man!"
Sounds like a Seinfeld script doesn't it?

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Two St. Augustine Visitors Gone Too Soon

"Every Man's Death Lessens Me"
One was esteemed and renowned the other was a "nobody" but to his aunt and three brothers.
Tim Russert, Washington D.C. ( his sister and niece live in St. Augustine) "I just remember his engaging smile and warmth" From 6-22 Times Union

Jimmy Bell , Monticello , Ky. "He was a good man. He was always a good person. He would do anything to help you"From 6-24 Wayne County Outlook

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Sherri Adriano

Sherri Adriano reminds us that she is painting in Anna Maria Island (not Bradenton) on the Gulf Coast. She has been active in the Arts community there establishing a Saturday Exhibit that is growing. We know that we will see her lovely smile back here in St. Augustine once again. Take a look at her art involving color, shapes. and imaginative themes. Sherri likes to work with heavily pigmented ink washes.


Dream #9, mixed media on paper,11" x 14"

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Gone Baby Gone

Artists Take Vacations Just Like You Do

This is the time of year, just before the Fourth of July, that a number of Art In The Market vendors go to visit family and friends or take a painting holiday.

Elizabeth Harris has gone to Bar Harbor Maine to do her watercolors accompanied by painter Richard Childs.
Charles Dickinson and Debbie Boon are currently in Gettysburg Pennsylvania visiting her brother. Charles has a painting of the local train station and a New York curator wants to see more. He is to have a gallery exhibit in Bar Harbor in a few weeks.
Portrait artist Kate Merrick is in N.Y.C visiting her son who owns a nightclub in Brooklyn.
Helena Sala and her son Marc are visiting family in Barcelona and taking a tour of the Basque country.
Artists in exile because of restrictive conditions in St. Augustine .

Jackson Chuites -Key West, Bruce Bates - Tallahassee, Sherry Adriano - Bradenton Beach - Rick Hidebrandt, Plymouth, Mass, John DeSanto - ??? Paul & Piper - Key West

We miss 'em and we'll see you all back here soon

They Just Don't Get It

City Commissioner George Gardner

----- Original Message -----

From: "George Gardner"


Subject: gardner calling

Date: Sat, 14 Jun 2008 18:38:51 -0400
Artist and entertainer venue –

Commissioners endorsed a proposal by Commissioner Gardner to use the south half of our Colonial Spanish Quarter – recently closed off by the city Heritage Department – for street entertainers and artists, who have been banned from St. George Street and restricted in use of our Plaza.. Gardner said it will be up to artists and entertainers to organize and assist in developing a workable plan, “but I would think any profit-motivated business would be happy with the opportunity to set up off a street with thousands of pedestrians a day.”
so where are you now??


Dear Commissioner Gardner,

Where am I now? I'm in my studio off Moultie Road. I'll be in the Plaza next Saturday with my artworks. If you like one I'll sell it to you at a good price. Whoever said that we are profit motivated? We know that some may find it hard to believe but this is not our highest priority.
If you are to make this Spanish Quarter thing workable you will have to discuss this with a street entertainer. The visual artists already have their venues. The city has consistently confused the visual artists with street performers and at times with homeless vagrants. Like it or not, the courts (not our county courts) have confirmed that visual art (paintings, prints, sculpture and photographs) has full First Amendment protection. This includes display and SALE of such protected items on public streets, sidewalks and parks.
Your city administrators have already suggested Pomar Park as a venue. Do we need to discuss this with those who would make such a ridiculous statement?

The proposal of a lottery for spaces to sell full first amendment material has already been struck down by the federal courts as unconstitutional.
Just prior to Hurricane Katrina, artists in New Orleans were challenging the $15 annual fee.(when St. Augustine's was 1000 dollars) Permits are not required since Hurricane Katrina. Hats, donations and art sales are meager. Rather than use other cities as a model perhaps legal should find out if the other city's "regulations" are legal. Key West permits artists throughout the city for a 45 dollar annual fee purchased in the month of November only. The Key West Cultural Preservation Society founded by a friend of mine, Will Soto, administers the Mallory Dock area in Key West. This program is now a slick commercial enterprise that bears no resemblance (to) the original concept when I painted there in the late seventies. It has been privatized as a revenue stream for the city of Key West.St. Augustine can create a viable and constitutional model. Look to the (Federal) courts for guidance. We had forwarded a model ordinance over two years ago with a request to make a presentation to the commission. We were refused the opportunity to do so.

The Colonial Heritage Quarter locale for artists seems to fly in the face of the argument by city hired attorney Michael Kahn that we upset the historical ambiance of this ancient city. We are referred to as a "visual blight"" in his latest argument against our appeal. Again, we are consistently referred to as "street performers". We visual artists are very good at self policing and conscious of creating a good impression of our city. Controlling pickle bucket drummers is another matter.....not our job, Commissioner.The courts state that visual artists have a "bundle of rights" that street performers do not have. You are being mislead (and so is uninformed County Judge Tinlin) that if we allow visual artists we must permit all. This is absolutely not the case.Thank you for the Spanish Colonial Quarter idea bit the artists I know clearly understand where our rightful venue is and it is not there.

This proposal brings to mind Butler Beach where the African Americans were "permitted" in the 60's. seperate and away from public view.Mr. Gardner, we do not forget that you voted to have us removed from the majority of the streets in St. Augustine.

Gregory Travous (Suvo)

Note: Today is Saturday and I am still in my studio ......... staring at a half finished watercolor

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Not Funny

Yesterday I sent out over 1200 e mails. It was simply a link to this newsletter. We believe in permission based mass mailings. If you receive this link it was because you are in our data base or someone forwarded the link to you. It IS possible that you left your business card lying around somewhere or you are an important member of our community who may want to keep abreast of the street artist issue. I sometimes add names of those "movers and shakers"who have already made public comments on the street artist issue.
So, to the city official and an attorney, former mayor and state legislator who asked us not to send our infrequent mailings to them, We have removed your address as requested.
In that all lawyers who send unsolicited postal mail advertising your services after Suvo's arrests, you can save a stamp. He gets at least half a dozen letters about a week after he gets out of jail. The mayor's partner's law firm is one of them. That would be awkward wouldn't it?

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

A Spurious Interview

City Manager William Harriss performing an elancer
Promises to be more "arty"

Interviewer: At a recently City Commission meeting you said that "Art is foo foo" what did you mean by that?

Harriss: What I meant was that with my daily duties of running the City of St. Augustine and stuff, I don't have much time for artsy things. I leave that to my wife, you know, decorating and all.

Interviewer:. It usually means something that is inappropriate for a man....something effeminate...doesn't it?

Harriss: Yeah, I guess so. I had heard though that John Wayne collected dolls.

Interviewer: Well actually they were Hopi Kachina dolls, very important to their culture.

Harriss: Yeah, but still.....dolls?

Interviewer: St. Augustine presents itself as an arts community yet there have been instances of jailing artists who have shown and sold on the streets. What about that?

Harriss: What about what?

Interviewer" The city's jailing of artists

Harriss: Look.....artists are in galleries, artists are in museums, artists are in art associations but I gotta tell you, artists do not belong on the sidewalks and in the parks. I've got a friend, a very important man in this community who owns four galleries around the Plaza and it galls him to no end to see those so called artists out there under the trees selling to the tourists. As City Manager I've got to protect his interests

Interviewer: Isn't he the man who sold the 100,000 dollar sculpture to a collector who in turn donated it to the city.

Harriss: I don't know. Did he?

Interviewer: Yes, he did. This was last week. You have no memory of this?

Harriss: Oh yeah, right. That metal statue of a shirtless guy.

Interviewer: How about the artist's stance that the Federal Courts have determined that visual art is protected by the First Amendment?

Harriss: Look, the Bill of Rights , The Constitution ,The Emancipation Proclamation were all written hundreds of years ago. Times change. I read where America is a work in progress. Those old ideas about personal freedoms and rights don't fly anymore. I have a favorite expression "Your Rights end ,when mine begin". I think that Will Rogers said that. Gotta go

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Public Art - St. Augustine

Street artists in Detroit

The City of St. Augustine has spent a considerable amount of taxpayer monies trying to eliminate street artist/vendors from the public spaces of the nations oldest city. Their alternative plans and insistence that we are "performers" indicates that both sides are miles apart.

"Mall Art" seems to be the rule in the galleries here in St. Augustine. "Dr Seuss" reproductions recolored in shades even Mr. Geisel would never blend will be sold next to the Cathedral. Check out the prices. 2000 dollars for a reconfigured and recolored copy of one of his originals.

A recent donation to the city of a Frederick Hart sculpture is appreciated ......BUT....... it is not to every one's taste. Losing the national competition,the outspoken Mr. Hart blasted Maya Lin's 1983 creation of the Viet Nam memorial wall " Maya Lin's design is elitist and mine is populist. People say you can bring what you want to Lin's memorial. But I call that brown bag aesthetics. I mean you better bring something, because there ain't nothing being served." Hart, the poor sport finally got his way and his traditional bronze of three soldiers was erected across the yard from the official monument. Time has shown us that Americans voted with their hearts and minds and most feel that Maya Lin's wall is one of this country's most powerful monuments.

The generous donor (100 thousand dollars) of Hart's sculpture fragment is a recent cancer survivor and this sculpture (purchased from the owner /dealer of the new Dr. Seuss Gallery and four others in St. Aug including The Thomas Kinkaid picture shop)) gave her comfort. At the recent City Commission meeting , it was interesting watching the sales technique of the gallery owner's son. I felt transported right into their viewing room (aka closing room). This kid would probably make a middling' time share salesman. Personally we think that the sculpture (see above) looks like a nude, hair gelled, Beethoven, in the midst of slipping on a banana peel while looking accusingly at us. It tells us......"watch your step, both in and out of the shower."That's my opinion lo, I'm but a dog. Mr. Cutter ,(Kinkaid dealer),i nstead of ordering new prints every March from the most popular booths art Art Expo in N.Y.C. try to get some of these.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Art Was Welcome Then

On April 27 At CRN Auctions in Cambridge Ma. an 1888 St Augustine, Fla., street scene with figures and a mule drawn wagon by White Mountain and St. Augustine Florida artist Frank Henry Shapleigh (Link) brought an exceptional $103,500, one of the highest prices on record for the artist. Mr. Shapleigh painted on the streets of St. Augustine and sold chromographs of his work to the tourists.* Shapleigh spent the winter of 1886-87 at the famed Ponce de Leon Hotel in St. Augustine, Florida, and later returned to become the hotel's artist-in-residence from 1889 until 1892, during which time this charming street scene was painted.
*Full of Facts and Sentiment: The Art of Frank H. Shapleigh. Concord, NH: New Hampshire Historical Society, 1982

Saturday, June 07, 2008



The phony counterfeit art trade is once again flourishing. There seems to be a twenty year curve on the limited edition scam. These fakes show up in the "finest" galleries. The Dali scandal of the eighties was so rife that thousands of people still have these "signed" editions stowed away only to find that their 2000 dollar print is worth 75 dollars as a collectible poster.

The Department of Justice recently indicted a number of dealers charging them with ripping off art buyers to the tune of 5 million dollars. Read here

A Florida Dealer, Jerry Bengis of Coral Springs who touts himself as one of the leading authenticators of Salvador Dali and whose website states "We are now starting to make available certain items from our 30 years of collecting." was one of those indicted.

Remember this........Fancy chandeliers and leather sofas do not guarantee that you get what you pay for. There are the unscrupulous dealers and counterfeiters who work together. Particularly beware of Chagall, Miro Picasso and Dali. I've even seen a fake Red Skelton clown print. When an edition has A.P., H.C., P.P. with no edition # this should be a red flag. Edition numbers can be tracked via the publisher and printer. These are in a Catalogue raisonné

Here is a lithographer discussing so called "fake" Dr. Seuss prints

Friday, June 06, 2008

Just Put It Anywhere Lady

A local woman has commissioned a recasting of a portion of Frederick Hart's bronze from the Washington National Cathedral. The local dealer for the Hart estate is Cutter and Cutter who has four galleries ( the Dr. Suess Gallery coming soon) surrounding the Plaza De La Constitucion.

The Phil McDaniel Cultural Council has suggested placement of this sculpture fragment in the courtyard of City Hall , the Lightner Museum Building. The local paper reported that Mayor Joe Boles said "This is the first time the city has received a gift of public art"

If he said this we suppose that he can be excused since it has been a long time that a citizen had the largesse to donate art. Flagler's buddy, Dr. Anderson of Markland donated bronzes (Menendez and flagpole) , marble (lions) and concrete (birdbath) during his lifetiime - 1926.

The city commission will decide next Monday if they can or will accept the gift. STORY WITH PIC
Hart had an interesting copyright battle with the Warner Brother's film "The Devil's Advocate". The angels were doing something that angels don't do.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008


This weekend you will not see any artists on the streets and parks of St. Augustine. We are regirding ourselves against the stepped up Nazi like crackdown by the city on art vendors in the Plaza.
What with undercover police posing as art buying customers and surveillance cameras recording us we need a break. To be treated as pariahs and undesirables can be tiring. Most artists involved in this fight knows that another will help financially if need arises.
Art In The Market artists will return on the next weekend.
St. Augustine without street artists is..............................Daytona Beach.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Aesthetics and Ambiance

This gets us a night in jail
The city has no problem with this sign in the Plaza

Lance Gray - Acrylic Painter

Acrylic on fish pallet board by Art In The Market Artist Lance Gray
Lance Gray entered college at age 30 on the G.I. Bill and graduated with a Commercial Art degree from the State University of New York. He spent the next 15 years working in advertising, printing and in the newspaper business.

“The desire to paint Fine Art, however, was in my heart, so my wife and I went in search of inspiration. Selling everything, we bought an old sailboat and travelled throughout Florida in search of a new life. We found that life in – of all places – a rough and tumble commercial shrimp dock. I worked as a manual laborer there, unloading boats for 10 years."

"It was a Steinbeck novel come to life – full of hope and tragedy and the drive to overcome great odds by a tough, self-sufficient group of working people that I came to love and admire. These people gave me the great gift of inspiration for my art, which will always be dedicated to their tireless spirit to persevere."*

*Take from Mullet Beach Gallery webpage