We can boil down this week’s Brookline TAB comic like this:
Brookline artist wants to draw on sidewalk with chalk.
Brookline artist calls lawyer friend.
Town says, “Yes.”
As the TAB reported, the town then issued a permit allowing the artist to draw on the sidewalk with chalk between the hours of 4 a.m. and 8 a.m. on Thursday, July 18.
The artist, Norah Dooley, apparently did complete her work, and that is awesome.
What is far, far less awesome is that someone in the town realized they couldn’t shut down an artist from exercising her first amendment right, and decided to make practicing that right as unpleasant as possible.
Putting aside the issue of being able to use your rights only if you’re besties with a lawyer, issuing a permit to use sidewalk chalk for four hours during one morning just makes the town as a whole look petty and foolish.
But it sounds like Dooley made the most of her four hours of free expression, based on what she told the TAB:
Dooley said executing the project was her First Amendment right.
“It’s our sidewalk,” she said, adding that someone against the project could just take a bucket of water to it and wash it away. “That is the nature of impermanent chalk art.”
She used the Homeland Security tagline of “If you see something, say something” in her chalk project, as well as quotes from presidents, dead and alive. One example: “To sin by silence when they should protest makes cowards of men,” from Abraham Lincoln.