Thursday, April 14, 2011

Should This Be Criminal Activity?

St. Augustine artist Charles Dickinson (left) at the Evinston Paint Out

Many communities have found that inviting plein air artists to an event called a "Paint Out" is an attractive cultural event that both citizens and artists enjoy. Just outside of Gainesville, the Evinston Paint Out is currently taking place. Unfortunately, in St. Augustine , Florida this activity is considered illegal in most of the historic district. Shortly after this ordinance was passed an artist in the Crescent Beach Paint out was threatened with arrest. Last week, Dean Quigley set up his easel in Ponce de Leon Circle, well away from pedestrian traffic. Quigley wanted to capture the colonial style building that houses the  Cutter & Cutter Gallery. The police came by and Dean was forced to pack up with an incomplete canvas.

Can anyone tell us why the City of St. Augustine would criminalize ordinary behavior? Wouldn't it be a good thing for artists to depict our picturesque city in their respective styles? Don't we hear constantly that visitors  love to see the artists and the work that they do? This is baffling!

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