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Indybay FeatureRelated Categories: Santa Cruz Indymedia | Arts + Action | Health, Housing, and Public Services | Police State and Prisons
OPEN CITY for Performers and Artists: A Brief Period with no Rules!
The city has inadvertently removed all performance and vending spaces downtown instead of just those that activists had painted themselves, leaving downtown an OPEN CITY for performers and artist/vendors.
It's true, the city had Pacific Ave. pressure washed of all "blue boxes," whether they be official or unofficial.
Readers may remember that the city had started a pilot project to create designated performance spaces downtown by indicating where people could perform/busk or sell wares they had created. This was in answer to aggressive enforcement of the previous method which created performance zones by way of negative space; these activities could only be done within certain distances from buildings and various objects such as benches, change machines and other more cryptic boundaries like street corners that have no distinct measuring point. This all came to a head in 2013, when The Great Morgani was ticketed for playing in a location where he'd been playing for more than 10 years. Morgani refused to come back downtown until the law was changed. The new performance "boxes" had been painted up and down the street in 3 different colors; blue, yellow and red to distinguish appropriate actions for different colors. This became confusing for everyone so the city repainted them with blue, thus the "blue boxes."
Recently, a city department began removing several of the "blue boxes" that had been in front of New Leaf Market and alongside Forever 21. It became notable when downtown artist "Alex" was ticketed for being a place without a designated marking. Two non-performers had then taken it upon themselves to paint their own performance "blue boxes" up and down the street and are now being prosecuted for it. The city sent workers to remove the unauthorized markings, but inadvertently removed all of them, leaving no designated areas for performers and vendors. This has created a virtual open city, where there are no official designated areas; when there are no obvious places to be, every place is okay to be.
Today, artists and vendors were up and down the street in areas where no "blue boxes" had been previously located and law enforcement officers were turning a blind eye. We currently do have what amounts to an Open City.
In today's investigation, I found differing viewpoints on the issue of performing, vending, and sharing art on the avenue. Some had hung the First Amendment on their displays, indicating that - despite selling art - they're engaged in a free speech activity; others claimed that they were simply selling things that they made and weren't intending to make any political statement at all.
The very corner of Soquel and Pacific Ave. hasn't been used as a vending or performance space for over a year, but now it is being well used.
Some chose constitutional protections, some just assert they have the right to sell based on their city-issued tax ID.
No markings on this corner, or anywhere.
In a brilliant act of art/activism, these guys have started wearing costumes similar to the founding "fathers". They're reporting that SCPD walks quickly past them now.
These artist have posted the 1st amendment on their display, establishing that they're not engaged in commerce, but free a free speech activity.
All markings have been removed on the entirety of Pacific Ave.