Letter: Saving street artists’ rights

Harpman Hatter

Today, while researching artists’ rights to sell art in public, I came across a letter submitted to the Florida news site, Historic City News.

Roger G. Jolley of The International Chamber of Justice, Inc. submitted the letter to Historic City News, which New York artist and activist Robert Lederman wrote.

I picked out two paragraphs that I think is relavent to Spokane artists.

“Raising the consciousness among artists about respecting public space and its relationship to their rights is a key element of this. If artists are themselves seeking to privatize public space exactly as the BIDs and conservancies do, we will all suffer an inevitable defeat, regardless of the outcome of our court battles.”

– Robert Lederman, via Letter: Saving street artists’ rights | Historic City StAugustine Local News | St. Johns County, FL.

Harpman Hatter
Harpan Hatter, Spokane street musician. Photo courtesy of Harpman Hatter.

Why is this relevant to Spokane artists?

Art is protected under the constitution as free speech. Spokane, like most other American cities, restricts the right of artists to sell art in public. The topic is muddled with angry government officials, vague laws and legal jargon, but if artists want to improve their local communities and art markets it is important to understand this important public policy issue.

Spokane has already begun experienced changes in the law for artists rights. Local street musician Harpan Hatter is a local advocate for street performer’s rights, and he recently helped change Spokane laws so that street performers are no longer required to purchase a licences to perform downtown. There is a detailed summary of his legal battle buskersadvocates.org.

All of this research is in preparation for an art show I am organizing for the Art Patch Project. More information will be available soon! In the meantime, see the Art Patch ProjectFacebook page.

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