Sidewalk art permits’ cost may increase

Street artists selling their artwork in San Francisco are worried a recommended fee hike will hurt their estimated $4 million industry.

Under The City’s street-artist program, artists must pay an annual fee to obtain a city permit to set up shop at various sidewalk locations and sell artwork, which is required to be made by the seller.

The Arts Commission has recommended that the 390 permit holders, who have paid $419.20 a year, start paying $532.28 a year.

That is not sitting right with many street artists. The Board of Supervisors Budget and Finance Committee voted 3-1 Wednesday to approve the recommended fee increase. The fee, which requires full board approval, would go into effect July 1.

Supervisor Chris Daly opposed the fee increase because, he said, it places an “undue burden” on the street artists.

Street artist Michael Addario showed the board a petition signed by 100 licensed street artists opposing the increase. The petition calls for a staff reduction to the Arts Commission, which collects revenue from the fees to pay for several expenses, such as the salaries of two staff members who oversee the program.

Howard Lazar, director of the Street Artist Program, said that the fee increase is needed to ensure the program operates at no expense to The City’s operating budget.

jsabatini@sfexaminer.com

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