A Park Without Art
posted: April 19, 2010
A few years back I did a feature for Time Out New York magazine about the artists up in Central Park who paint tourists portraits. What I discovered in doing that piece was that they are every bit as earnest and dedicated to their work as I am to mine -- which is saying, completely.

Katalina Gutierrez (my portrait of her from Overlooked New York, above) wrote me today that Mayor Bloomberg and Adrian Benepe, the parks commissioner, are proposing to cut the number of artists who will be allowed to sell their work in parks around New York.

Here is David W. Chen’s article about it in Saturday’s NY Times. From the article:

“New York City is not a hospital operating room, yet Mike Bloomberg is continuing the sterilization campaign that Rudy Giuliani started in Times Square,” said Robert Lederman, a longtime foe of Mr. Benepe’s and the founder of A.R.T.I.S.T., an advocacy group with approximately 2,000 members. “And the parks commissioner, Adrian Benepe, sees himself as a real estate agent who’s trying to get the maximum price per square foot for all of our public parks.”

There will be an artist’s protest rally this coming Friday at 10 AM, at the Chelsea Recreation Center, 430 West 25th Street, in Manhattan. Following that will be a public hearing and then a decision by the Parks Commissioner on the proposed rules.

Here’s a link to A.R.T.I.S.T., a group that is organizing on behalf of street artists