Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Monday, June 22, 2009

Take That!

Federal Judge Howard's May Court Order in favor of the artists included these words.".....the relief sought was specifically limited to enjoining the enforcement of the Ordinance against visual artists"
So the City administration who created the original ban because they did not like the "flea market" atmosphere of merchandise peddlers has now decided to allow a free for all of vendors with gasoline generators and large displays back into the Plaza de la Constitucion. They insist that they cannot tell the difference between a painting and a frozen banana.
Does any one have any idea why the City of St. Augustine would act so much against the public opinion Do you think that this is showing contempt of the Federal restraining order?
These photo's were taken last Saturday 6-20. The Plaza had four visual artists and nine merchandise vendors set up.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

An Appeal

In May, Federal Judge Marcia Morales Howard issued a temporary injunction against the enforcement of a City of St. Augustine ordinance prohibiting art vendors from displaying and selling art (prints, paintings, sculptures and photographs) in the historic districts of the city.

The final court date set to make the injunction permanent, (if we artists are once again successful) is set for March 2010. Temporary injunctions are issued when:

1. The plaintiffs will suffer irreparable harm . 2.The plaintiffs have a substantial likelihood of success on the merits. 3. A temporary injunction will serve the public interest. 4.There is a clear legal right to the relief sought’’ as an element of a claim for temporary injunction.

Judge Howard felt that the artists arguments were valid.

We have heard words from Mayor Boles and the City Manager Harris that.
"We will just rewrite another ordinance to prohibit the artists"
This is not the language of conciliation.

The taxpayers of this city of 13, 000 must now deal with close to a 100,000 dollar legal bill for an unsuccessful attempt to usurp the artist's rights. That's a small amount to city administrators but that's 250 % more than the average household income. It is time that the city stop paying taxpayer money for the legal bills of a few businessmen who want control. The city should save time and money NOW.

The city must decide to do one of the following:

Accept the injunction as permanent ,where it is enforced only against non constitutional vendors (sunglasses, jewelry, merchandise) No new ordinance needed ,as the current one serves the purpose.
A new ordinance may be written delineating specific and reasonable time place and manner restrictions. Reasonable, meaning.....there must be a valid reason for a restriction. Safety etc.
Continue the court battle ,incurring more fees, resulting perhaps in a decision that has already been made. United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE SECOND CIRCUIT This has proven costly for the non prevailing party , the respective city administrations.

It is time. to put aside differences and work to come to a common understanding. At the last Commission meeting Commissioner Nancy Sikes Klein asked if we could have input from the artists and City Manager Harris brusquely dismissed her saying, "That won't work".

Commissioners.......Try us...we are not opposed to reasonable time place and manner restrictions. Count us in on any discussions.

City Manager Harriss, stay home.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


On March 20 of this year Kenneth Payton left his backyard in Citrus Heights, Ca., near Sacramento for St. Augustine Florida. He completed the whole trip 3,301 miles , on his bicycle named Delores He arrived here on Monday at 1:30 Pm.

Mr. Payton is 82 years old. His Website

Home for Bats!

Regarding "old things". Until architect Dave Mancino pointed it out, it was not common knowledge that this building on San Marco Blvd, built in 1883, served as the first railroad depot for the Jacksonville, St. Augustine & Halifax River Railroad, later part of the Florida East Coast railway purchased by Henry Flagler. In 1886, the structure was turned into a water works, later an Art Association and more recently, The Garden Club headquarters.
We in St. Augustine realize that "historical" is much more than the 1600's and 1700's. Here is a building that can be saved as a community center but it will require 2.5 million dollars. With funds as tight as it is, immediate measures should be taken to shore up this building that is in imminent danger of collapse. Later we can find funds to restore this interesting structure. More Here

Stetson Kennedy on David

Stetson Kennedy's tribute to David Thundershield Queen

David Thundershield Queen is no longer in this world. He passed away June 13, 2009, after a long brave bout with cancer, againstwhich neither native American herbs nor modern medicine were of anyavail.
Many of us knew David, in a variety of ways.
Some were personal friends and neighbors, who rallied around and took care during his long days and nights of need. Continued

Sunday, June 14, 2009

David Thundershield Queen

Our good friend David Thundershield Queen lost his battle with cancer last Friday, June 12. He was 57 years of age.

David was a passionate activist in environmental causes and Native American issues.

We will miss David but will remember him as a man of principle who lived his life accordingly. Read about David here

“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I have not lived.”
Henry David Thoreau

Friday, June 12, 2009

Elizabeth Harris, Artist

Flag 8.5" x 11" watercolor on archival paper

Art In The Market artist Elizabeth Harris, a resident of St. Augustine since the 1970’s, has painted since she was a child. Her watercolors reflect a love for the beauty of the Nation’s Oldest City. Elizabeth paints with both opaque and translucent watercolors with a preference for bright colors. She enjoys including a tremendous amount of detail with an extremely fine brush. Her formal artistic training was obtained at Flagler College, El Instituto de Allende, and Bellas Artes in Mexico. Her favorite artists include Hieronymus Bosch, Diego Velazquez, John Singer Sargent, Winslow Homer, Remedios Varo, and Frida Kahlo. Elizabeth's Studio

Thursday, June 11, 2009

A Spanish Tradition

En Garde For Bees, Tapestry 52" x 34" by Sala

The above textile art by Art In The Market artist Helena Sala was deemed as "not art" three years ago by the City of St. Augustine. Arrests and jail time followed with an eventual court date in St. Johns County where it was determined by Flagler College graduate Judge Tinlin that, in his opinion, this was art....see more here. City attorney Ron Brown still insists on calling her work "quilts".

Ouigley Paints a Mural

Faux fence, faux horse, faux thatch, faux everything

Does anybody know where this is? Hundreds of cars, maybe a thousand pass by every day. E mail: plazanews@mail.com . Be the first of two, with the right answer and get an art gift from one of our artists.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Neo Rausch means ""New Smoke"

Actor Brad Pitt at the Basil Art Fair

Hey, isn't that Brad Pitt over there looking at that painting?
Yeah, he just bought one of Neo Rauch's for almost a million dollars. Now he likes this one 'cause of it's, in his words "cool brownish ,amberish tones"
But he's wearing tinted sunglasses in an art gallery!
For God's Sake! Don't say anything! Do you know the size of my commission?
Well you can take the boy out of Springfiend ,Missouri but you cant..........
Yeah I know, he's an idiot! Buzz off, I'm gonna close this sucker!

Actor Buys A Painting

Hate Crime Murder!

Artists come in all shapes, philosophies and creeds. We regret that we share an admiration for Picasso with 88 year old white supremacist , anti Semite artist James Von Brunn who today murdered a security guard at the D.C. Holocaust Museum.

This hateful person's painting above is a amalgam of Fragonard's The Reader and Picasso's Woman With a Book. I'm sorry to say that it is a clever recontextualization of classics by Renaissance and Modernist masters! If I owned it I would burn it! But alas, watch his prices rise. Hitler was also a painter.(more of a draftsman)

Hotel Design Rejected

At the City Commission meeting Monday night 6-8 , the commissioners unanimously, with one abstention ,voted that new buildings in the historic district must be of the Second Spanish Period style of architecture. Most speakers from public comment supported this idea. Our opinion is below. The people seem to have spoken.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

See Story Below

A Living City

St. George and Cathedral Place, circa 1925

At this time there is a parking lot with an ATM "cottage" converted into a nice little tour info booth on the corner (right) above. Tomorrow's City Commission meeting will begin public comment on what type of building should go there. City Commissioner Donald Crichlow will abstain since he is the architect for the Jacksonville developer. It can be a contentious issue if the Newspaper story comments are any indication.

We agree with historian David Nolan ( The Houses of St. Augustine)that the City of St. Augustine should not be a "Disneyland" of faux Spanish architecture. Frankly ,the Flagler College is an architectural "goulash" of an 1883 idea about Spanish/Moorish/Mediterranean styles that never really existed together. We are a living city and this is the uniqueness of the "nation's oldest continuously occupied,European settlement" . Some details in the story here Scroll down for comments. Architect's Statement

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Why The City Fights So Hard

Plaza de la Constitucion , St. Augustine ,America's Oldest Public Space

We artists who have been asserting our rights to display and sell paintings, prints, sculptures and photographs in the Plaza have been accused , more than once of being naive. "You can't fight City Hall", "It's a losing battle","The City has all of the resources to continue the assault forever".

We raised money for this battle dollar by dollar holding a garage sale , putting out coin boxes (and getting jailed for this) and accepting money from strangers who believe in our fight for artists rights.

It has been tough , but we now have a Federal temporary restraining order keeping us out of jail. The City administrators told the Commissioners that Ordinance 22-6 would still be enforced against mercantile vendors, jewelry sellers and flea market products. They did not do this. Call City Hall and ask them who can sell on public property and they will say (city employees words) "It's a free for all". Their motive is clear. The flea market returns....."See we told you so", they will say. Is this good faith? Their concern for the welfare and ambiance of the historic plaza is nil. Disregarding the Federal order, the City Attorney gives a higher credence to a St.Johns County judge who wrote a poorly written and confusing decision two years ago in St. Augustine vs Travous. The Southern "ole boy" network is still alive here, disregarding Federal orders and making their own in the venal interests of a few businessmen ,landlords who have tried to maintain control of their minimum wage paying, high rent empires.

Now these above described St.Augustine "boosters" have dollar signs in their eyes thinking about the City's 450th anniversary in 2015. Private funds mixed with government funds, committees, ad hoc jobs for the family, expenses for more "informational" trips to Spain, it will all be there.

One of the basis for our (the artists) lawsuit against the city is to prevent the "privatization" of the citizen's public properties. This is a classic way to raise civic monies in tough economic times.What! They will sell the Plaza to private interests? Yes, and they will tell everyone what a great deal this is for the taxpayer. Public /private partnerships to control and maintain toll roads is an example. Twenty four community libraries in the country are now being eyed as a model for others. They are run by a private company at less cost to the taxpayer but with policies that are antithetical to the purposes of a town library. The private company expects to profit financially from the citizens. Instead of tax revenue from the government coffers they will go right for your wallet to run what has traditionally been a public service.

Business Improvement Districts


BIDs are quasi governmental entities formed of businesses with the authorization of the local government or municipality. BIDs provide services which formerly would be provided by the government such as policing services and street maintenance. There is also very little public access to the accounts of the BID companies despite the fact that the vast majority of their income is derived from public taxes

N.Y.C Mayor Bloomberg awarded a long term lease in Manhattan for a friend to build a restaurant on a portion of Union Square. Members of A.R.T.I.S.T. (Artists Response To Illegal State Tactics) were instrumental is getting an injunction stopping construction . The project is in limbo but you will still see the beginning construction ready to go if you visit NYC. There are numerous examples around the country concerning this wresting of public assets to private concerns. You will begin to find this in St. Augustine as we look for ways to fund our showcase 450th anniversary.The devolution of limited political authority to the private boards of these districts effectively privatizes the public spaces of the city

An important role is played by public space in a democracy as a site of free speech, association and protest. There is concern that overt control of Business Improvement Districts (BID) by business and property owners results in the privileging of the interests of those people over the democratic interests of society at large.

Do not let this happen in the nations oldest city! Keep The Plaza Public ! This is our real fight!

We'll See

Richard Hubal, "Dead Artists Bring More Money", poly resin sculpture
This headline doesn't make much sense since negotiations have yet to begin.
The writer doesn't always write the headlines. Perhaps they meant "Artists, City Take Break, In Negotiation"
If there is a meeting today concerning the issue, we are unaware of this.

Let us hope that this art constitutional issue can be resolved.

There seems to be some confusion by the City Attorneys over which Court order would apply......the County Judge Tinlin's or the Federal Judge Howard's. Federal trumps the county, guys.


Friday, June 05, 2009


Photo by : Peter Willot
Last week in our St. John's River you could have witnessed nine gray West Indian Manatees holding an orgy.Naturally, someone called the police.

Cmdr. Barry Fox of the St. Augustine Police Department was quoted in the Record as saying,

"We've been trying to control that situation and make sure no one gets run over or wrecks into each other"

Not to mention shameful behaviour in front of the kids!

Kate Merrick's "Archangels"

Michael, Patron of Police ..left verso,,,right front

Art In The Market artist, Kate Merrick sent us the following:
"I Recently finished my latest project and decided to send the images out for all to see and comment on if you wish. The originals are 11" x 17" and these are the cards I made from them. The text goes on the back and the inside is blank." Kate's Website, Studio Azul
Kate has worked as a artist for many years travelling and painting in the Northern and Southern Hemispheres, as well as in her St. Augustine, Florida studio. Her work is included in numerous collections world-wide, from Panama to New Zealand and many locations inbetween. She continues to actively produce art in her two primary studio locations in St. Augustine, Florida and Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. She is available for commissioned work as well as inquires on pieces displayed in her gallery. For more information, please contact her or visit her in The Plaza de la Constitucion.

You Are Invited to Cincy

One of the coolest wedding invitations that we've ever seen ('cept no dogs in it)

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Where do set artists get their ideas? Take a look at the Super Mario Brothers screen with a Conan cutout compared to a still shot from last night's show. It started when one of us thought that there was an alligator in the top right of the screen but no, it looked familiar to a fortysomething slacker in the group....couldn't quite put his finger on it until someone else today sent us the pictures claiming that she bolted upright at 3 am with the answer.

Stop This "What is Art" Stuff!

Fear by Karen Hatzig Found object assemblage

Since the St. Augustine Record decided to give the last story about our legal battle the unfortunate title of "Is It Art?", once again we gotta go back and explain that this whole thing is not about........is it art? Hell, everything is art brother! Lets get it straight that the courts were asked to decide what art is "fully protected" under the U.S. Constitution. Here is what they determined......pictures and sculpture is fully protected speech....Now how hard can this be? Not jewelry, not counterfeit designer goods, not painted t-shirts not mercantile goods.
We gotta deal with statements like:
"What if I painted a mustard face on a hot dog and called it sculpture?
"Why don't I just put a frame around my beaded necklace and sell it that way"
" I don't agree"
"Photographers just press a button, that's not art"
Here is our final response........................................................................................nothing ............................................we have exhausted ourselves trying to explain. Many people actually believe that their opinion is the way it is without any research or inquiry into the matter. There is nothing wrong with disagreement, but read the court decisions before you can make a judgement on your own. Of course most will not do this and they will continue to fondle, caress and cherish their erroneous opinions until they drop in the grave.
More opinionated comments after a letter from a local arts doyenne

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Cover Boy Charlie

June's Winter Park Magazine Cover

The Briar Patch Cafe, Winter Park ,oil/canvas, Artist: Charles Dickinson

Art In The Market artist Charles Dickinson has been travelling recently going to various locations by invitation, painting en plein air ( on location). ARTICLE

Another of our artists Dean Quigley, just spent the last 21 days as artist in residence completing ten paintings for the 450th birthday in Pensacola, Florida. ARTICLE

It is hoped that one day the City of St. Augustine will embrace it's talented artists who paint and display outdoors. At this time, the city has a Federal Court restraining order preventing them from arresting and jailing our Art In The Market artists. We would like one day to have the city drop the adversarial attitude toward our art vendors.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Drawing The Line

In Federal Court we can expect more constitutionally learned decisions than we can get here in St. Johns County. Here is an important decision from the 2nd Circuit deciding whether hats with paintings on the crown fell within the fully protected First Amendment area ( may they be sold on public property without permit):

"…while Edward Munch himself would not need a license to sell ‘The Scream’ (or prints of it) from a sidewalk table, a vendor wishing to sell the popular neckties featuring the painting’s distraught figure undoubtedly would need a license. The necktie merchant uses the Munch design not as art in itself, but to sell ties. His end is starkly commercial, with not a tinge of purpose conveying even collateral or residual artistic expression. But Munch did not paint ‘The Scream’ to market pieces of cardboard". 2004 Christopher Mastrovincinzo and Kevin Santos vs. New York City 313 F SUPP 2D 280

Not So Funny !

Click on to enlarge

Critics are Everywhere!

Photo by Daron Dean
Last Sunday the St. Augustine Record had an article about the Plaza and the artist constitutional controversy. It was the front page leading story with color visuals covering half of the front page. The story was short and rather than inform, it caused only more confusion to the readers not familiar with the issue. It had Travous (Suvo) quoted as saying the opposite of his stance and other small inconsistencies.

Many of the online comments were uninformed of the laws and past court cases. I am embarrassed for those people who equate art with dog food and fertilizer. It amazes me of the people who write of their opinions as if it were solid fact. The above shell was criticised as "not art" and some suggested that it was a joke. It was not. Here is the story about this shell.

Those people who know downtown will see a man sometimes at the Casa Monica coffee shop who introduces himself as Capt'n John. He is 75 years old, a curmudgeon of sorts. A man with strong opinions. "A lot of people don't like you", he says to me, "and alot like you"( I know that most don't think about it one way or another)

After reading the judges decision that the artists may remain in the plaza, the Capt'n stayed up for two nights decorating shells. He then came to the Plaza and set up a small nicely decorated table with his artistic endeavors proudly displayed. He was embarrassed to come near the other artists displays but we welcomed him over and asked him to join us.

The Capt'n was shy and dismissive about his designed shells ,most of which were a dollar but we noticed that he'd more likely give it away if someone showed any kind of interest. He wasn't there for the money. The "curmudgeon" played a Sinatra cd softly in the background, he did a foxtrot around the Constitucion monument with a few lady tourists, teachers from Cleveland, Ohio. The curmudgeon was smiling all day. The Capt'n would walk over to other tourists to talk to them as they were looking at other artist's works. "Where ya from?", "Like it here?"You guys been to the fort?" Yes, he was annoying as hell to the rest of the artists but no one had told him of the etiquette we exercise when someone is looking at anothers art. So it wasn't his fault. He stayed until midnight, made a few dollars that he doesn't need, but was planning to use the money to make more designs with better material from Michael's. The Capt'n was now an an artist!

He was back again on Sunday and someone showed him the picture of his shell on the front page. The Captain was elated to see it there but said that that shell was one of his lesser works.Then he saw the newstory title in bold four point headline type, "Is It Art?" He was crestfallen, "I'm thinkin about suing em". "Why isn't this art?", It is art isn't it?, he asked. I assured him that it was art and we all have criticisms and gotta learn to ignore it.

He packed up later that day and came over to shake my hand. "I want to thank you" he said "It has been so good bein' out here". I gotta go home .I've looked at those shells again and they are crap, I understand that now. I wish I had talent like you guys. Did you see me dancin' with those ladies yesterday? Frankie always gets em". I'm not sure that I'll be back out here if I can't do better art but thank everybody for havin me out here will you?".

The past two mayors have said in commission meetings that they have seen bad art in the Plaza, implying that some review would be beneficial. Too bad pal, Who do you think you are? Free speech is one thing but your quick dismissal of some artists is purely venal and mean. Life isn't a movie screen for you to make snide comments about the characters. These are real people out there and yes...voters. Joe Boles ,this may be one of the reasons your gallery went under.

We want more "bad art","mediocre art"and "great art" . The "free market" that you all speak of plays such a small part of the reason we do what we do. The capt'n was a good example.The "market" means nothing to him. He was there for different reasons.

You'll find the old Capt'n back again in the Casa Monica coffee shop. I'm not sure if he's a "real" captain, but I do know that he was a "real" artist last weekend.

Greg Travous