Artists will gather in St. Augustine, Florida, in April — some for civil disobedience, some for a plein air competition. On the minds of many will be the city ordinance that makes it illegal to paint in parts of the historic downtown.
A group of artists are organizing a protest on April 22, from 1:30-4 p.m., in areas the city has restricted from painters. There is the expectation that people will be arrested. The penalty for painting en plein air in part of historic downtown St. Augustine is 60 days in jail and a $500 fine.
Other artists who wish to support the protest but don’t want to be arrested can set up their easel in the restricted areas with a blank canvas. Theoretically, if they don’t paint, they are not breaking the law — as long as they are not obstructing foot traffic. The targeted areas are the Plaza de la Constitucion and St. George Street. Organizers are expecting artists from across the country.
Concurrently, the St. Augustine Art Association is hosting a paint-out from April 21-30, with $2,500 in prizes including a $1,000 Best of Show award. This group seemingly will take care not to break the law, and its prospectus implies that artists who work outside of designated areas will be excluded from the competition.
One way or another, St. Augustine will be an interesting place to paint on April 22.
For more information on the St. Augustine Plein Air Paint Out, click here.