Freedom of Expression verbally banned by Alberta Legislature official
I began to plan my 2016 Fire and Rain project back in December 2015 after completing over 120 outdoor art shows on the Alberta Legislature grounds and various locations in Edmonton. Early February I approached an official with the Ministry of Infrastructure who was in charge of the Legislature grounds. I requested a permit to continue showing my art inside the grounds but was told that I would no longer be allowed to paint nor show my art on the grounds because of liability concerns. I accepted this and went on my way, thinking that the joy of sharing art on the grounds was over.
Freedom of the Press banned
My loss of joy soon turned to anger and frustration with Government officials when I learned that a news corespondent with the The Rebel Media was banned by a Sheriff the same month that I was verbally banned from painting and showing art. I saw the similarities between my ban and that of the reporter, who had published the same news stories I did on YouTube relating to rallies staged by Alberta farmers and ranchers and out of work oil patch workers. This prompted me to stage my one-man picket against the Alberta Government with demands my verbal ban be put into writing by the same official with the Ministry of Infrastructure.
"Free the little man /ART" poster
My picket lasted 8 days, ending March 1, 2016.
March 1, 2016 my picket ends
I received a letter from the official who first verbally banned my art that read "while we cannot give you a permit to paint on the Legislature Grounds, you are welcome to continue painting on site on a casual basis as long as your painting area is safe, you are not impeding or restricting the access to the grounds of other visitors and you aren’t selling paintings on the grounds as we also do not allow the sale of “goods” on the grounds." I was thrilled by this victory and promised that I would obey her instructions. All seemed well for a time until I was verbally banned again, by the Alberta Legislative Seargent-of-arms later this spring.
Letter to Doug Brinkman: I hope this addresses your concerns and clarifies any misunderstandings in regards to the use of the Legislature Grounds. Thank you, Loretta Bieneck, RPA | Facilities Manager Legislature Grounds, Maintenance & Trades