Story of a street artist

Charlotte and Hypolita Streets
This photo is the “Scene of The Crime” according to a story that appeared on a local blog of downtown artists; where they say this narrative is typical of the treatment that street artists in St. Augustine receive from the local police.

Art In The Market is a pro-artist newsletter that claims to have 820 subscribers to date. They are a group of visual artists who display and sell their works in non traditional venues, i.e. the streets and plazas of St.Augustine.

“Well,out of the clear blue they came up to me Thursday, April 3 in the middle of doing a portrait of a 6 year old birthday boy tourist grandson at the corner of Charlotte and Hypolita to interrupt the rapport I had going with this youngster and issued me a citation. No less than two police cars and three policemen stayed for 20 minutes while the boy and his visiting grandparents watched. They said I could be arrested if I set up again. They took a picture of my easel. One of the shopkeepers thought there must have been a major accident. It was embarrassing and humiliating and I kept apologizing to my clients for the unpleasant experience on their vacation. They had returned from a previous trip two years ago when I had done another sibling to have this one done for his birthday. I take a lot of pride to give my portrait sitter a pleasant experience during the portrait session and it was upsetting that the police were so disruptive to this with no regard for the impact on the tourists. What a great birthday memory for this family to bring back to Ohio! Other tourists going down the street on the other side called out: Do you have time for another one?”I called out: “Looks like NOT!”, pointing to the police officers.Quite a shock to the peace and community feeling that’s built up over two years on that corner with the local businesses benefiting as I often sent people to the surrounding shops and restaurants.”
Nancy Christensen

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