Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Banned !

Click on pic to enlarge
Where are the last of the Plaza artists?


  1. I was down in St. Augustine last year in November and the only people in the little park in the middle of town that were selling anything were Ghanaians selling junk. What started out as a friendly exchange turned nasty when they found out we were artists from another town. One of them said: "go back to where you came from" and we were just visitors asking what the status of selling art there was, since we'd heard about the problems. Why does the town allow crap vendors and not artists? The kicker was that these junk vendors came from elsewhere in the U.S. What right did they have to tell us to go away? If it is true what they say that you want worthless junk vendors to be excluded, people who just parasitize others with their scams and don't contribute anything of their own making, I say "more power to you". I'm really upset at what I experienced there.

    I don't have a problem with most Street Performers, however. They are artists too.

    My experience is with Key West and Chicago. Chicago doesn't allow art to be sold on the streets for all practical purposes. Key West does. Contrary to what you say on this blog, the Counsel for Key West insists that Street Performers have a higher level of Constitutional free-speech protection than artists, based on past court cases. (this came up during the most recent contentious attempt to modify the Street Artist's/Performer's ordinance) The city wanted to restrict Performers' numbers and locations and insisted they had to apply the same restrictions to artists. The attorney for the city said they couldn't apply a lesser restriction to artists.

    Fortunately the whole modified ordinance was shelved the other day because no one could agree on the restrictions and the performers were putting up a fuss. Can you imagine, they wanted to limit the footprint of an artist's display to 3x3 feet? Talk about a toppling hazard.

    I'm not quite understanding the problems in St. Augustine. If a federal judge keeps declaring the city out of line, how can they continue to ignore those rulings? How can any municipality deny an artist the right to even paint outside? What is their rationale? Would they stop me from painting if I didn't have an easel and was just standing drawing with a pad?

  2. "......Counsel for Key West insists that Street Performers have a higher level of Constitutional free-speech protection than artists, based on past court cases."

    The counsel for Key West is incorrect.

  3. Counsel is incorrect, based on what? I just want to be armed with data in case this ever comes up again.

    Also, who were the vendors in the park? Why are they allowed to sell there if artists are not? They had booths set up. It was on the west end of that park which is situated between two major east-west running streets in the old part of town. The park contains a building with a kind of old museum/gift shop a block or so east of where these vendors were. It's just south of that pedestrian mall with little shops. Sorry I don't know the names of any of these places, I just see the picture of the layout in my mind. We were only in town for a few hours. I was curious because I had heard a lot about St. Augustine.

    Would I be arrested for drawing or painting in St. Augustine? This is not a rhetorical question.

  4. In October 2009, the St. Augustine City Council banned commercial vending in various locations around town, including Loring Park to which you are referring. Visual artists were included in that ban.Perhaps you were there earlier.

    Street musicians have no higher level of First Amrndment protection than do visual artists.Reasonable time place and manner may be legislated by government. Ordinances can limit the decible and the level and maintain crowd control, something that generally does not affect the painter/vendor.

    If you are a visual artist and you want to set up on public property in your community you should look up their city code to see how it is written. Recently, Chicago arrested and jailed an artist friend and dropped all charges later. This seems to be the game of harassment practiced in many cities. If you leave after a warning you may choose to go directly to a long and expensive Federal Court battle.

    If you choose to challenge the Constitutionality of a bad ordinance you must be prepared and knowlegable of previous cases affirming your rights. By prepared, I mean that you may have to go to jail. This is the huge obstacle that most citizens are not prepared to accept. You might choose to go directly into Federal Court but not knowing your location I do not know if this has already been done in your Frderal District.

    Research the materials already published on the web. try this first, though it is not up to date.

  5. "You asked "Would I be arrested for drawing or painting in St. Augustine?"

    Maybe, maybe not depending upon the discretion of the police officer.

  6. Now that's ridiculous! Makes me want to come to St. Augustine to try painting on the street.

    We were in St. Augustine in November 2009, around the 11th. It was a Wednesday afternoon. The vendors were set up next to the sidewalk so people walking by would be passing their tables. There were about 5 different vendors at least.

    Yes Chicago harasses Chris. I get his newsletter. I don't understand why more artists aren't joining him. Street performers can make a fortune on Chicago's wide sidewalks. There are several art schools here, and you'd think that new idealistic lefty graduates with lots of time on their hands, no job prospects, and a social-justice streak would be dying to sell their art on the streets and test the system. Instead, it's the lone brave older person putting their ass on the line in most cases.

  7. Correction: After banning visual art in the Plaza in Oct. 2009 the St. Augustine City Commission then banned by seperate ordinance, visual art (along with commercial vending) in Loring Park and another location. This was done in January 2010. Wherever artist go legally per ordinance the commercial vendors follow, subsequently the city then passes ordinances to eliminate that location from artists.The city lumps visual art into with flea market vendors. Refusing to identify our works as First Amendment protected as the Federal Courts have upheld.