Boardwalk Performer Sues Ocean City On Free Speech

OCEAN CITY, Md. (AP) — A street performer is suing Ocean City, saying the town violated his First Amendment rights by restricting where he can produce his art and keeping him off the boardwalk.

Mark Chase, a spray-paint artist, used to perform daily near North Division Street, making and selling his paintings on the
boardwalk. But the City Council voted to ban activities there that draw crowds. The fire department had said there were potential safety issues.

Chase alleges he has been harassed by police who shooed him away from a different boardwalk location. He also takes issue with the town requiring performers to pay for permits.

Ocean City Solicitor Guy Ayres says there are other areas where street performing is permitted. He says he doesn’t believe Chase’s rights were violated.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

  • OC girl

    Why should you get to ‘set up shop’ and not pay or follow rules like everyone else? Oh wait, you are special.. that is right.. what a joke..If you don’t like the rules, go somewhere else. Atlantic City perhaps????

  • Adam Reuter

    Dude just needs to get a permit.

  • Lisa

    Darn, I really liked his paintings and wanted to buy one. I agree though….he needs to follow the rules like everyone else.

  • seashell

    My duaghters were just hula hooping on the side of the boardwalk last year and the cops told them they needed a permit. All they were doing is having a good time and not selling or promoting anything. Thie painter artist has been there long enough to abide by the law and purchase a permit . He’s no different than the other performers.

  • Ravens1

    So the real story…

    This street preformer has a permit to preform. I have seen the permit. There for he does pay the price to be able to preform on the boardwalk. It’s not as expensive as a store but he can only set up on plesent weather days and seasonally so that’s why it is cheaper.

    Just the other day, the Ocean City council passed a law banning any boardwalk acts that gather a large crowd. This street preformer sometime has up to 100 people watching at one time.

    This whole summer the city council and police have tried to get him off the boardwalk because they don’t like how much money he is making. However, he has been following all of the Ocean City Laws including one that states he can not offer to sell anything unless someone tells him they want to buy one. And he can not tell them a specific price unless they ask for the price.

    This is a specific attack against this boardwalk preformer and it is a shame because this is part of what Ocean City is.

  • Colorado Artist

    All Mr. Chase needs to do is relocate to an area of the boardwalk which won’t potentially impede the path of emergency vehicles responding to calls in that area. This is a public safety issue of which Mr. Chase seems ignorant.
    Aside from that, the ‘artwork’ produced by Mr. Chase simply lacks artistic values and closer resembles that of a 1st grade student’s traced-hand turkey popular among grade-school kids around the Thanksgiving holiday.
    Perhaps this is just the city’s way of telling Mr. Chase to make better ‘art’.

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