MYRTLE BEACH — When Myrtle Beach Mayor John Rhodes took a trip to Jackson Square in New Orleans, he said he got an idea to promote local artists in Chapin Park year round.
“After seeing Jackson Square in New Orleans with all the art for sale … and jazz bands playing, I thought it would be fun for kids and families [in Myrtle Beach],” he said.
The Myrtle Beach City Council introduced an ordinance Tuesday that would allow artists with valid business licenses to obtain annual permits for $25 that would allow them to collect money for merchandise or performances. According to the ordinance, artists and performers would be required to collect and remit all applicable taxes on purchases.
The artists would be allowed to exhibit, perform and collect money between 10 a.m. and 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. They would not be allowed to set up during permitted events.
Also, they would be allowed battery powered amplification and required to respect noise ordinances.
Councilman Mike Lowder expressed concern about the artists being able to use amplifiers during a council workshop Tuesday morning, saying were the park full of artists noise could become an issue.
City attorney Tom Ellenburg said any performance artists must be at least 50 feet apart.
Rhodes said he saw no reason allowing battery powered amplification devices would cause any more noise than when they had music in the park.
“It’s very controllable. I expect the people who perform there will follow our requirements,” he said.
Nonperforming artists would be required to set up at least 8 feet apart. Space would be available on a first-come-first-serve basis and all artists would be required to display the permit on site on a removable sign no larger than a sheet of paper, according to the ordinance.
“The idea is to create a positive activity in Chapin Park,” Rhodes said.
The ordinance could be adopted as early as Sept. 25 and would go into effect immediately, though Rhodes said he didn’t envision artists beginning to exhibit in the park right away.
“There’s always fine tuning [of ordinances], but I’m basically looking for it to kick off in the spring,” he said.
Contact MAYA T. PRABHU at 444-1722.