St. Augustine Has Outlawed Art, And You Should Know About It

St. Augustine Has Outlawed Art, And You Should Know About It

Let my people paint.
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This past week, I was walking around St. George Street downtown when I came across this man. He was standing, not bothering anybody wearing a sign that read, "Creating Art Is Not A Crime Except In St. Augustine, Fla."

Of course, seeing and reading something that blunt sparked my interest, so I visited the website he had on his sign, and looked in the St. Augustine Record for more information. After researching I was able to further understand this man's frustration. He and many others like him deserve to be frustrated.

In St. Augustine, Florida, it is in fact illegal to paint pictures in public, and you can be arrested for it. Painting is now considered performing, and any type of performing in public has been illegal in the plaza, on St. George Street, and many other streets since 2009. The reason for the ban is that the authorities believe performance downtown causes too much chaos. There are 12 spots in the plaza that are legally available for $75/month rent, and these are given out on a lottery based system, that way the chances are equal all around. The plaza is a main attraction for tourists on a day to day basis so, when an artist doesn't receive a spot that month they can lose out on tons of money. This system really hurts the artists during the months of Nights of Lights which is the city's most popular attraction.

The rules can be confusing for many artists and that is where the frustration really sets in. If the city is going to make it illegal downtown and the artists are going to be forced to abide by the law (or be fined/spend up to 60 days in jail), they should at least offer open alternatives. The problem is that they believe they have offered alternatives. The city has decided on different legal places where artists may paint their work, such as the City Hall, but an artist may never know since the information on what is allowed is not easily accessible. It is almost as if they are trying to keep it a secret, to keep artists from trying to paint anywhere.

Many artists are concerned with the concept of being publicly embarrassed by receiving fines or being arrested, for doing what they love. Therefore they don't even bother trying to find out where or when they are "allowed" to paint. Something that is especially irritating to me is that the City of St. Augustine is shedding such a negative light on the artistic community. They are portraying painting in public as such a repugnant, out of control problem/crime when there are a million worse things going on right here in our own town. Painting in public should be one of the least of an officers worries.

Recently in June of 2015, four artists joined together to make an attempt at getting the rules changed by presenting the case that the current restrictions are unconstitutional. Hopefully something will come from the attempt because art IS a freedom of expression, and this problem does NOT deserve to go unnoticed. There is a vast amount of artistic talent in the surrounding area that is eagerly waiting to be shared in downtown St. Augustine in more than the 12 current lottery based spots.

To learn more about the Creating Art Is Not A Crime, visit http://www.culturalartists.org/.

Cover Image Credit: Hannah Hudson

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To The Friends I Won't Talk To After High School

I sincerely hope, every great quality I saw in you, was imprinted on the world.
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Hey,

So, for the last four years I’ve seen you almost everyday. I’ve learned about your annoying little brother, your dogs and your crazy weekend stories. I’ve seen you rock the awful freshman year fashion, date, attend homecoming, study for AP tests, and get accepted into college.

Thank you for asking me about my day, filling me in on your boy drama and giving me the World History homework. Thank you for complimenting my outfits, laughing at me presenting in class and listening to me complain about my parents. Thank you for sending me your Quizlets and being excited for my accomplishments- every single one of them. I appreciate it all because I know that soon I won’t really see you again. And that makes me sad. I’ll no longer see your face every Monday morning, wave hello to you in the hallways or eat lunch with you ever again. We won't live in the same city and sooner or later you might even forget my name.

We didn’t hang out after school but none the less you impacted me in a huge way. You supported my passions, stood up for me and made me laugh. You gave me advice on life the way you saw it and you didn’t have to but you did. I think maybe in just the smallest way, you influenced me. You made me believe that there’s lots of good people in this world that are nice just because they can be. You were real with me and that's all I can really ask for. We were never in the same friend group or got together on the weekends but you were still a good friend to me. You saw me grow up before your eyes and watched me walk into class late with Starbucks every day. I think people like you don’t get enough credit because I might not talk to you after high school but you are still so important to me. So thanks.

With that said, I truly hope that our paths cross one day in the future. You can tell me about how your brothers doing or how you regret the college you picked. Or maybe one day I’ll see you in the grocery store with a ring on your finger and I’ll be so happy you finally got what you deserved so many guys ago.

And if we ever do cross paths, I sincerely hope you became everything you wanted to be. I hope you traveled to Italy, got your dream job and found the love of your life. I hope you have beautiful children and a fluffy dog named Charlie. I hope you found success in love before wealth and I hope you depended on yourself for happiness before anything else. I hope you visited your mom in college and I hope you hugged your little sister every chance you got. She’s in high school now and you always tell her how that was the time of your life. I sincerely hope, every great quality I saw in you, was imprinted on the world.

And hey, maybe I’ll see you at the reunion and maybe just maybe you’ll remember my face. If so, I’d like to catch up, coffee?

Sincerely,

Me

Cover Image Credit: High school Musical

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Supporting Late-Term Abortion Is Actually The Opposite Of Feminism

Feminism is about gender equality and women supporting women- so shouldn't we support the unborn women of tomorrow?

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Before you read this, if you are someone who feels strongly that abortions are the "right" choice and that supporting late-term abortions is a step for woman anywhere, I do not suggest you read this article. However, I do want to write that I support conditional abortions- situations where the birth can kill the mother or where conception occurred because of rape. If someone rapes you, that is not okay by any means, and a baby conceived of rape can be terminated by the mother to avoid PTSD, anxiety, depression, panic attacks, and any other mental health diagnoses. Of course, if a woman can bring a baby into the world to keep or give up for adoption, even if it was the product of rape, she should seek life for the innocent child rather than death. And what a rape victim chooses to do is neither here nor there- and it damn well is not anyone else's business.

So why should it be my business (or anyone's) if women have late-term abortions? Agreeing to murder out of convenience should not be societally accepted as okay. When the law passed in New York for late-term abortions, I did not picture 39-week pregnant women rushing to Planned Parenthood to abort their child because they got cold feet. I highly doubt that is the exact scenario for which the law went into effect for, and that was more so intended for women who did not realize they were pregnant and missed the time period to get a legal abortion.

Not that I support early-term abortion, because all abortion is the same regardless of when it happens during the pregnancy. Killing someone sooner rather than later does not make it less worse.

Excuses about how women are not ready to be mothers, do not have the financial means, would ruin their futures, they would get kicked out, lose their bodies, etc. are just that- excuses. Carrying a child for nine months might be an inconvenience, but killing someone will be on your conscience forever. If murders pleaded their motives to police as a way to justify what they did (excluding self-defense), what difference is it if a woman kills her unborn child?

Planned Parenthood might be taboo and have a stigma attached to it, but it does so much more than kill babies. Planned Parenthood is a place where girls can go to see OB/GYNO, get birth control, and learn about safe sex, protection, STDs, etc. Instead of stigmatizing it, young women should be encouraged to go to this institution for woman and feminism. Let high school health classes plan field trips there so that everyone becomes more educated on female health (boys included!). Female health education is very limited, especially in school, and many women feel that an abortion is their only way out, however, it's not. By becoming more educated, the rate of teen pregnancies can go down, as well as the need for abortions. Women educating other women should be the goal of Planned Parenthood, and abortions should be reserved for those who got raped or whose pregnancy cause death, health complications, etc.

Abortion might be giving women a choice- but who is giving the unborn babies a choice?

And of course the only way to 100% prevent pregnancy is abstinence, and if that is your choice then good for you, and if you choose to have sexual intercourse, good for you too. Be safe. No slut shaming here. Women need to continue supporting other women, regardless of their sex life. Women who have abortions are not "whores" and should not be labeled as such- they are just people whose biology reacted to another person's biology.

If you truly do not want to have a baby, please please please give it up for adoption and do not kill it. It did nothing wrong, and yeah, it might be a little inconvenient to be pregnant, especially if you are in school, but there are hundreds of thousands of people that would love nothing more than to raise your baby. Be a woman supporting other woman and give the gift of motherhood.

If you take away anything from this article it's this:



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