Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Very Sad

The City Commission last night voted unanimously to prohibit artistry (the creation of visual art) and art sales in the nation's oldest park, The Plaza de la Constitucion. An amendment was made to refer to visual artists as "street performers" and this seems to satisfly the commission. The Federal courts protect visual artists and their wares as "fully protected" First amendment wise whereas street performers do not have such protection. This is their awkward way of defying a recent Federal Court order.
These meetings and the three minute public comments beforehand are simply an illusion of public participation. The commissioners who are sworn to uphold the U.S. Constitution purposely vote in a blatantly unconstitutional "law" knowing that the artists have limited resources and energy to take it to court again. If we did...they would lose and once again write an illegal ordinance......after all it's not their money.
According to a bronze plaque in the S.E. corner of the Plaza,the Plaza de la Constitucion is where the British hung John Adams in effigy, yet they permitted the Patriot captors to celebrate the Fourth of July in the same location. Martin Luther King rallied his supporters there in '64 and the infamous KKK held nightime rallys against equal rights during the same time period. Recently, President Obama's inauguration was celebrated in The Plaza. One commissioner called it a "partisan "rally and wanted to disallow it. As the Supreme Court has written "Public parks are quintessential public forums where citizens may engage in constitutionally protected expression"
To those who continually harp that the sale of artwork is "commercial activity" and is not permitted, we say......this is opinion contrary to well established case law. Your "opinion" does not change this.


  1. Unfortunately, the Law is up for interpretation in its reading ...
    The blatant truth and simplicity of the words is twisted in this interpretation to the will of the reader. The literal interpretation doesnt "fit" the Citys needs so it is clouded in their interpretation.

    and the fight continues...

  2. For some, it is better to keep their mouth shut and have people wonder if they are ignorant than open it and prove them correct. Most of the opinions on this subject (especially those that equate the selling of art as purely comercial) are just plain ignorant. Everyone lost something last night.

  3. Street performing is protected first amendment activity. So is panhandling.

  4. Back to Europe16 September, 2009

    Yes it is.Do you want to be the one to challenge it...go to jail...or spend thousands to go from County courts up through to Federal Court. You may win but the city will write another illegal ordinance. Do it again and again until you are exhausted both mentally, financially and physically. USA....PFFFFT!

  5. As an artist working on the Plaza, I have heard comments by locals and visitors alike who say that this treatment of the artists is shocking, subversive, and actually counter-productive in the long run. It will drive the quality traveler away.

    So atty Kahn chose to call us street performers so that we would have less first amendment protection?!? Duh, now I get it. He had it planned. I thought maybe he was just stupid calling us street performers. He is a liar and strives hard to obscure the issue.