Current artists: Amon Azizov, Wei Chen, Qiao Fu, Gao Min, Guo Kun Sheug, Artashes Karslian, Ji Yin Jin, Li Qun, Lin Ruo, Dean Lu, Ren Jien-Guo, Jorge Rivera, Sharif Sadiq, Peter Walsh, Xiang Yue Chuan, Dario Zapata, Zhuang Xuemin

Organized by Peter Walsh, Ongoing.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Federal Judge to Review New Materials in Artists’ Suit

Following hard on the heels of revelations that New York City’s Department of Parks and Recreation is no longer holding musicians and performers accountable to the same rules that apply to visual artists, Federal Judge Richard Sullivan has granted artists permission to file new materials in their ongoing lawsuit against the Parks Department.

In a May 14, 2012 letter to Judge Sullivan requesting permission to file the new materials, the artists’ attorney Julie Milner claimed that the City’s new position on buskers and entertainers was directly at odds with papers filed in federal court by the city. According to Milner, “this raises an issue of material fact of whether artists are targeted for enforcement not equally applied to similarly situated individuals.” The Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution requires that laws be enforced consistently for individuals in similar circumstances.

Reached for comment yesterday by Village Voice reporter Victoria Bekiempis, the City’s attorney Sheryl Neufeld stated "The plaintiffs are just engaging in wishful thinking. There is nothing in today's order that supports their belief that the judge has given their contentions credence."‬

In a May 14, 2012 email, Robert Lederman, an artist plaintiff in the federal case and president of the street artists organization A.R.T.I.S.T., described the City’s new take on park rules enforcement as “explosive” and “a complete reversal of the City’s previous legal position.”

Judge Sullivan has scheduled oral arguments on the City’s motion for summary judgment for Thursday, June 28, 2012 at 2:30p.m. at the Federal Courthouse at 500 Pearl Street.

See also:

Judge Sullivan’s Order:

Artists’ Letter to Judge Sullivan:

“Federal Judge To Decide if Artists Can Play in The Park”
Village Voice, Victoria Bekiempis, Tuesday, May 15 2012

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