December 12, 2012

Portland mulls new restrictions for street artists

By Randy Billings
Staff Writer

(Continued from page 1)

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Photographer Anna Karlina has been selling her colorful, digital photos in Portland's Monument Square and the Old Port for years. The city, however, is mulling new restrictions for street-art sales.

John Ewing / Staff Photographer

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Lian Glover sells her hand-knit hats in Portland's Monument Square on Wednesday.

John Ewing / Staff Photographer

Additional Photos Below

Three artists were issued four summonses last summer for having tables that exceeded the size standard in Bell Buoy Park, Deering Oaks park and on Commercial Street, said Trish McAllister, the city's neighborhood prosecutor. Each was levied a $50 fine, she said.

"All the artists who were issued summonses had been warned first, and given a copy of the rules," McAllister said. "When the enforcement officers went back later they were still operating with oversized tables or displays."

While the city mostly concentrated on educating artists about size limits last summer, Hutchinson said code enforcement officers will be watching for products that are not made by the person selling them and so do not qualify as street art.

"It is my understanding that, next year, a code enforcement officer will be telling people with (products bearing) a sticker that says 'Made in China' to get out," she said.

Task force member Jessica Tomlinson, the spokesperson for the Maine College of Art, said the new registration requirement will allow the city to better educate artists about any new rule that is implemented.

"The more that street artists follow the rules the less we will need to continually alter them," Tomlinson said. "Quite honestly, there are a few bad apples that are spoiling it for the rest."

Tomlinson said she understand the complaints from brick-and-mortar store owners about sidewalk congestion and competition from people reselling items they didn't make.

But she is also concerned that the new limit on sidewalks and the buffer in front of retail stores could push artists out of the Old Port.

"I hope we can come up with a win-win situation with the least amount of restrictions as possible," Tomlinson said.

Tomlinson said an analysis of which sidewalks are 8 feet wide or greater should be done before the rules go to the council.

The new rules will be taken up by the council's Public Safety, Health and Human Services Committee in January, which could send a formal recommendation to the full council in February, Suslovic said.


Staff Writer Randy Billings can be contacted at 791-6346 or at:

Twitter: @randybillings


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Additional Photos

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In this October 2011 file photo, vendors take advantage of the large cruise ships coming into Portland by selling goods in Bell Buoy Park. The city is considering new restrictions on street-art sales.

Derek Davis / Staff Photographer


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