Celebrating self-expression as a basic human right essential for the

healthy growth of youth, individuals and communities


Stephen H. Baird, Founder and Executive Director

39 Robeson Street, Jamaica Plain, MA 02130

Email: info@communityartsadvocates.org

Web site: http://www.communityartsadvocates.org

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Historical References

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Legal Court Citations

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Sidewalk Democracy: Regulation of Public Space

The Malling of America: The Selling of America's Public Parks and Streets

India's Street and Transit Music

Avenues of Self Expression

Code of Ethics

Amplification Ethics

Subway Transit Artists

Women Street Performers and Sexual Safety

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The History and Cultural Impact

of Street Performing in America

by Stephen Baird Stephen Baird 2000-2021

The following little historical references are just a glimpse of the depth and breadth of the creative spirit of the human race that blossoms on the street corners, market places, subway platforms and any other place people gather.

FLASH NEWS: MBTA-Radio Threatens Subway Performances October 2007

Subways in Boston 1980-2006
The history of subway performances in Boston and the country could easily become an entire book. In fact, Susie Tanenbaum wrote her graduate thesis on New York City subway artists and it was published by Cornell University Press. It is a wonderful reference and I recommend it highly. See Wesleyan University Olin Fellowship Thesis by Maggie Starr for her thesis on the Boston Subway Artists. Several other students have written or developed multimedia thesis on subway art and performances. Below are list of these sites and resources:

Lauren Ingram is just finishing her thesis on the subway performers in Boston. Several of her photographs and excerpts from the thesis can be found at this site on the Photo-Journalism Documentation Project page (click here). For additional information contact Lauren by email at l_honu@yahoo.com

The short outline of Boston subway performers:

Click on image to view and download larger version

Members of the Subway Artists Guild who all put in countless hours to improve

performance conditions for artists from left to right:

Lorraine Saltre, Sharrahan Williamson, Harvey Smith, Elliot Gibbons and John Bigelow

January 13, 1987 TAB article by E. Dennis; May 5, 1987 TAB article by Dennis Gaffney

Click on image to view and download larger version

Click on image to view and download larger version

Click on image to view and download larger version

"For many persons who do not have easy access to television, radio, the major newspapers, and other forms of mass media, the only way they can express themselves to a broad range of citizens on issues of general public concern is to picket, or to handbill or to utilize other free or relatively inexpensive means of communication. The only hope that these people have to be able to communicate effectively is to be permitted to speak in those areas in which most of their fellow citizens can be found. One such area is the business district of a city or town or its functional equivalent....

It would not be surprising in the future to see cities rely more and more on private businesses to perform functions once performed by governmental agencies. The advantages of reduced expenses and increased tax base cannot be overstated. As governments rely on private enterprise, public property decreases in favor of privately owned property. It becomes harder and harder for citizens to find means to communicate with other citizens. Only the wealthy may find effective communication possible unless we adhere to Marsh v. Alabama mad continue to hold that "(t)he more an owner, for his advantage, opens up his private property for use by the public in general, the more do his rights become circumscribed by statutory and constitutional rights of those who use it."

Justice Marshall from his dissenting opinion in Lloyd Corp. v. Tanner:

The Legal Court Citations section refers to the New York City subway Federal Court Cases and also includes a Boston subway Federal Court Case: Carew-Reid v. Metropolitan Transportation Auth., 903 F2d 914 (2nd Cir. 1990) (Subway) Jews for Jesus v. Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (1991) (Subway)

Subway performing artist and supporters who went to the Massachusetts State House to obtain political support from elected officials. Including: Michael William Wright, Mare Streetpeople, Jamie McLaughlin, David Fox, Pumla Bhungane, John Patton, Michael Sullivan, Dave Falk, Lisa Housman. Photo taken by Lauren Ingram.  

Street Arts and Buskers Advocates

Community Arts Advocates Index

Copyright 1999-2021 by Stephen Baird