Friday, April 14, 2017

City, SAAA Plein Air Art Competition, Deny Visual Artists "Breathing Space?"

Our First Amendment deserves "breathing space." NAACP v. Button, 371 U.S. 415, 433 (1963); New York Times. v. Sullivan, 376 U.S. 254 (1974); Gasparinetti v. Kerr, 568 F.2d 311, 314-17 (3d Cir. 1977)(illegal restrictions on policemen’s First Amendment rights); Philadelphia Newspapers, Inc. v. Hepps, 479 767, 772, 777 (1986)(O’Connor, J.)(newspaper entitled to breathing space in defamation case); Hustler Magazine v. Falwell, 485 U.S. 46, 52, 56 (1988) (Rehnquist, J.) (magazine parody of TV preacher entitled to breathing space); Keefe v. Ganeakos, 418 F.2d 359, 362 (1st Cir. 1969)(Aldrich, C.J.)(chilling effect on First Amendment illegal suspension of teacher sharing Atlantic Monthly article on Vietnam War); Parducci v. Rutland, 316 F.Supp. 352, 355, 357 (M.D. Ala 1970)(Johnson, C.J.)(chilling effect in illegal firing of English teacher over Kurt Vonnegut’s Welcome to the Monkey House).

Take a gander at this: "Artists MUST ONLY work in permitted areas of St. Augustine," saith the St. Augustine Art Association.    (CAPITAL LETTER emphasis in original).  SAAA's rules for its upcoming plein air art competition are Draconian, stating that no art sales may occur at all while painting, and no painting may take place in areas prohibited by the City's unconstitutional ordinance.  Sounds unenlightened, unfair and unctuous?

In the words of a famous New Yorker cartoon, "That dog won't hunt."

Like a bullet in the gun of the City of St. Augustine, is SAAA placing itself in the position of being an enforcer for the City of St. Augustine's unconstitutional law -- the only law it seeks to enforce in its plein air art competition rules.

I've spoken with SAAA's Administrator, who told me, "we're not taking sides."  I also spoke with one of its Directors, who told me, "I hope that lousy law gets changed." So says SAAA Board member S. Gary Snodgrass, a St. Augustine Beach City Commissioner and retired utility executive, whose wife is a talented pianist who plays at their Lutheran Church; both worked their way through college doing music, playing piano and singing at funerals.

Mayor Shaver's right: "Our streets are not lively."

Thus, I have written the City of St. Augustine, the Cultural Council and the St. Augustine Art Association about changing the plein air competition rules:

From: Ed Slavin
To: dmay ; info ; awitt
Cc: comsgsnodgrass ; brucekevinbates ; tgray9937 ; jregan
Sent: Fri, Apr 14, 2017 3:54 pm

Dear Mr. Witt, Ms. May and SAAA:
Please help me understand why the St. Augustine Art Association (SAAA) has a rule for its upcoming plein air art competition stating that:

Artists must check in and out with their locations by phone or email to (904) 824-2310 or A log will be posted in the gallery. Artists may work in and around St. Augustine and the Castillo de San Marcos, except prohibited areas. Maps and suggested sites will be provided. Ask permission to work on private property. Artists shall not display, sell artwork or distribute promotional materials while in the field. One easel=one canvas. No exceptions. Field Ambassadors will provide support.

Please provide any documents on the SAAA board deliberations, if any, and the origin and enforcement of this rule.

Of all the laws on the books, is this the only one that SAAA cares about?
Remember, Saint Augustine wrote, "An unjust law is no law at all."
May I suggest that SAA kindly delete the underlined bolded language as enforcing unjust laws held unconstitutional?
Thank you.
With kindest regards, I am,
Sincerely yours,
Ed Slavin


Anonymous said...

I agree ...they shouldn't be allowed to sell their works...big difference between art and business. Now I may not agree with enacting many off limit areas but i haven't seen evidence of the issue...can you post a map off the off limit areas?

Warren Celli said...

Anonymous; businesses in Saint Augustine exist at the pleasure of a hijacked government that has destroyed the local now scam 'rule of law'. They deserve to be BOYCOTTED rather than be free of the illegal and immoral prior restraint you wish to shackle artists with.

When you ban the sale of speech you at the same time ban the affirmative speech of approval expressed by the buyer of that speech with his payment of money for that speech.

Even the hijacked rule of law upholds the right of an artist to sell his visual art.

The $45 dollar entry fee is also an immoral impediment to participation meant to weed out the less fortunate.

One of the more pronounced symptoms of Xtrevilism is that those suffering from the disease consider themselves to be normal in a deeply abnormal society. Their humanity has been so thoroughly silenced at an early age that they embrace their aberrant behaviors with a cavalier disregard for the rights of others.

Ed Slavin said...

Thank you. I agree with Warren. Awfully snooty to disdain the rights of artists to display and sell their art. How gauche and louche of SAAA to include that as an extralegal "rule" when it is perfectly legal for artists to do so. SAAA is in danger of being run by what President Jed Bartlett of "The West Wing" would call "The Ignorant Tight-ass Club." Artists have a constitutional right to sell their art. Artists have a right to make a living.

Who is it who supposes that unless an artist is paying rent (or exorbitant commissions to a gallery) that they can't make a living in this town? This view in the realm of BOLESIAN UnAmerican Activities in St. Augustine, Philistinism that belongs in the dustbins of history.


SEE Y'ALL ON APRIL 22, 2017 AT THE PLEIN AIR PAINT-IN at the Plaza de la Constitucion (Slave Market Square) and along St. George Street.

Artistic freedom -- WE WILL WIN!