The Unfair was started years ago as an alternative to the nearby St. James Court Art Show, a large-scale event that costs at least $450 to enter.
At this point, Unfair artists will be allowed to display their work as long as no sales are made, and it appears city officials are serious, with police keeping a close watch. If an artist does sell something, his or her artwork will be confiscated by the city, according to officials who came by this morning.
Organizers of the event are asking the owner of the Magnolia Bar if the artists can move inside, where sales would be legal. No word yet on whether that will happen. There’s also been talk of organizers scrambling to obtain a special permit for the event — which until this year was never required.
Paul Harshaw, founder of the Unfair, returned to the Magnolia Bar carrying the necessary documents to get the show going again. Other artists participating in the alternative art show were in line downtown at the Metro Department of Inspections, Permits and Licenses receiving their proper paperwork, he says. Many were under the impression that as long as they were not vending within 100 feet of the St. James festival they wouldn’t be in violation of the law.
“Each individual vendor will have to pay $85 to Metro government. It’s getting (the city) money that’s for sure,” says Harshaw. “It’s a big kick in the butt. I don’t have the money to take on the city, but people need to speak up and let people know that it’s affecting people in a negative way, not a positive way.”