Mayor Threatens to Veto Ban on Street Art Sales

Mayor Threatens to Veto Ban on Street Art Sales

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- City Council members are considering banning street artists from selling their work at small parks and certain other areas and Mayor Rocky Anderson is considering vetoing it if they do.

The council on Thursday unveiled an ordinance that would forbid selling by street artists at Pioneer Park or other small parks or at neighborhood commercial districts such as Ninth and Ninth and 15th and 15th. Sales would be allowed downtown, Sugar House, Library Square plaza and around The Gateway mall.

"It's clearly unconstitutional," Anderson said. "They're doing this because of a request by the Downtown Alliance."

Pioneer Park is a particular point of contention. Many artists gather there in the summer to make sales to people attending the Saturday Farmers Market, which is organized by the Downtown Alliance. Farmers Market sellers pay a fee.

When asked if the council was protecting the alliance's market, Councilman Dale Lambert said, "It may have occurred to us.

"We're not going to be able to satisfy the mayor, who basically wants it (street artists sales) everywhere for free," Lambert said. That isn't fair to other businesses, which pay permits and are limited through zoning, he added.

The proposal also defines art as "original works of fine art, graphic art and aesthetic objects produced by the artist." Reproduced work, resold work, clothing, food and mass-produced jewelry would not be considered as art.

Some didn't want knickknacks being sold.

Anderson said that restriction is also unconstitutional, citing a case in Reno, Nev.

The proposal suggests charging artists a $30 permit fee, but would exempt those 16 or younger.

The council is scheduled to hold a public hearing and vote June 1.

(Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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