Saturday, May 31, 2014

Art Show Is Kicked Out of Public Park for Decrying the Death of the Commons

Some of the Banned Art
 On Friday, May 30th, homeless advocates came together at Stranahan Park in Downtown Fort Lauderdale for "Public Property: A Reclamative Art Show." Artists spent several weeks preparing sculptures and other artworks for display in a park that Food Not Bombs and countless other groups have held events of all shapes and sizes for years at without any problems.

Instead, the Park Ranger almost immediately said we would "need a permit" for the cardboard box port-a-potties that had so far been harmlessly placed in the grass around the park. Then the Fort Lauderdale Police Department doubled down when they arrived, claiming that these cardboard boxes "blocked traffic in the (completely empty) park" and that "banners have never been allowed in the park."
Banned banner and hermit crab

Ultimately, the art show proved the sad point it was trying to make about "public property" in Fort Lauderdale; it doesn't really exist. But, Food Not Bombs was allowed to continue, inside the park, and people came into it for the first time in months to eat and play games and hang out. Then after some late artists from Thought Coalition showed up we brought out some art regardless and enjoyed some live drawing. For those who have seen the recent downward slope of police assaults and fortifications around Stranahan Park this felt like something of a triumph. Thank you to everyone for participating!

FLPD arrive to shut down the show
We apparently were not alone in our harassment in downtown that night, however, as Fort Lauderdale Critical Mass' new police escort went slightly mad on the people they were escorting, giving people tickets for BS reasons and tackling one person off his bike and pinning him up against a wall on Las Olas. It seems no matter what activity relating to common space is happening in downtown Fort Lauderdale it will dealt with in a consistent manner.

In the meantime, the City's elite wined and dined at the Hilton Ft Lauderdale Marina at a "Wizard of Oz" themed charity event for the Broward Partnership for the Homeless. We do not know if the Mayor attended but we speculate, if he did, that he may have been hiding behind a curtain.
We have fun in the park anyway

Important next date! Next Tuesday, June 3rd, two homeless advocates will be giving citizens' presentations to the Fort Lauderdale City Commission of the effects of the criminalization of the homeless and the foul behavior of the police in downtown. Join us at 6 pm at City there!

Unpermitted art!!!

Until next time!

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