Chris Drew and the Free Speech Art Movement

[At the bottom of this note, sent to us by Chris Drew, are a collection of resources related to free speech art. Free Speech Art Movement can be found on Chris Drew’s  blog. — Lew Rosenbaum]

The Art Patch Project has masonite panels to paint for mounting art patches on for traveling exhibits of our patch art.

We need help on Wednesdays and Sundays to prepare exhibits of the art-patches we are printing. The Art Patch Project has over 70 designs and it continues to grow.

Volunteer print times every Wednesday in February, 1-7pm. Call 773-678-7545 to RSVP

Check out this link, the Columbia Chronicle keeps our cause in the News.

Check out the Streetwise magazine this week. We are very likely to have an article on the peddlers license in that magazine, as well. We hope to have our current press release translated into Spanish soon. Our goal is to send our press release out to international news outlets. Let the world judge Chicago.

Meanwhile at home we are using the humble art-patch to create the word of mouth discussion of the issues of selling art in public and my felony case to question the eavesdropping law – a second significant First Amendment issue. Art is powerful. Your voices are powerful. We need help printing patches and distributing the art-patches for free on Friday, February 26th in the Loop. We ran out of art on the last Art Patch Project action. Please help print art to prime-the-pump of the citywide First Amendment discussion.


*Uptown Multi-Cultural Art Center Website

CBS Channel 2 News (Chicago) covers the felony eavesdropping charge against C Drew

Art Patch Project 1/29/10 YouTube video by Nancy Bechtol

Nancy Bechtol enters 5 minute video documentary on Chicago’s violation of artists’ rights and C Drew’s protests.

Patrick Smith of the Columbia Chronicle keeps our cause in the news.

Columbia Chronicle: Arrested artist said he is fighting for everyone’s First Amendment rights
by Patrick Smith

Curtis Black of the Community Media Workshop writes to Journalists of our cause

Patrick Boylan of the Center Square Ledger, the online news source for the Ravenswood neighborhood, demonstrates that blog writers have more guts/freedom when covering my story than the old media writers are allowed to have.

Cell Phone Audio Recording cases and police in Boston

*Michael Stephen reports on C Drew on 1/6/10 at

*The Urban Coaster – Rogers Park Community Newspaper – prints my response to 1st class felony charge.

*In These Times: Free Speech, for Art’s Sake

*Nancy Bechtol video: C Drew Answers Eavesdropping Charges

*Chicago’s Thick Blue Wall – Radley Balko writes for on C Drew’s arrest

*SunTimes: Felony Charges Charges filed against Artist Activist,peddler-taping-cops-arrest-120309.article
Comments published below – e-mail comments to (for coming exhibit)

*Video by Nancy Bechtol showing the arrest of C Drew on 12/2/09. You judge if a felony was committed.

*Nancy Bechtol video from Friday November 13th when I challenged
the City and received a ticket to Federal Court

*Video: C Drew on Chicago cable TV explaining artists’ speech rights with a screen printing demo

* Streetwise article – October 28, 2009

Streetwise Article Goes International
The article appearing in Streetwise October 28th was reprinted on a website with an international audience that serves street newspapers from around the world – the Street News Service. Streetwise Article Goes International

*The San Francisco Examiner wrote about Chris and the FreeSAM

*Deanna Isaacs * View the article (link below)

*Good site for artists’ rights overview *

Which leads you to New York’s precedent setting case – Artists win.
*East Coast Case:* BERY v. CITY OF NEW YORK, 97 F.3d 689 (2nd Cir. 1996)

*West Coast Case:* Perry v. Los Angles Police Dept,, 121 F3d 1368 (9th Cir 1997) Artist wins.

*Nevada Case:* Steven White v. City of Sparks (Nevada) Artist wins.
In /White v. City of Sparks/, painter Steven White challenged the
constitutionality of a city ordinance that required him to obtain a permit
before selling his paintings in public parks.

*Florida law suit won by artist* – Celli v. City of St. Augustine, Florida – decided 2000.
Since this time artists in St. Augustine have continued to fight for their rights against stiff government opposition from big-money interests.

*Weinberg v. City of Chicago* (when all the National Sports Leagues joined with the City to appeal and lost when the Supreme Court refused to hear their appeal.) Weinberg – the Chicago author – won.

*Berger v. City of Seattle* A federal judge in Seattle ruled in 2005 in favor of a balloon-artist that the Seattle regulations violated the First Amendment, considering that Seattle Center’s outdoor space is a public park. A 12-member panel of the appeals court agreed 8-3.

* Santa Monica, California modifies its street performer ordinances to allow the activity to take place on public sidewalks without a permit.

* ACLU sues the City of Fort Lauderdale for a street artist. (more to come)

*NY Artist and Organizer* – Robert Lederman, president of A.R.T.I.S.T.,
or Artists’ Response to Illegal State Tactics – This Yahoo Groups page links to ten years of messages about all the New York City actions and court cases over the years.

* NYC Street Artist Freedom Videos
Check out these videos about how NYC artists won our rights in NYC see:

* “Free Speech in an Open Society” by Rodney A. Smolla is a great primer toward understanding First Amendment case law. Google it for a great read on the topic.

Posted in Art. 1 Comment »