Art + Media + Social Justice

Studio REV- is a non-profit art organization that combines sound research and bold ideas to produce creative media to impact the lives of low-wage workers, immigrants, women, and youth.

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New York City

Ticketing Jessica Lappin

A public art intervention that helped prevent Council Member Jessica Lappin from passing a law criminalizing New York City street vendors.

In 2010, New York City Council Member Jessica Lappin sought to introduce a law allowing authorities to suspend any vending permit issued to a street vendor truck with two parking tickets in a 12 month period and revoke the permit of a food vendor that receives three traffic violations in a 12 month period. The language of the bill was written so vaguely that it would have unfairly penalized all food vendors. In response, Studio REV collaborated with the advocacy group Street Vendor Project (SVP) of the Urban Justice Center to create a campaign drawing attention to this attempt to legislatively criminalize the City's food vendors.

Designed to resemble the tickets that street vendors receive on a daily basis by enforcement officials, these tickets are instead intended for the Council Member Jessica Lappin.

The tickets were signed by vendors and 500 members of the general public. In addition, the campaign garnered significant negative publicity in media to ensure that Lappin's bill was essentially defeated before it got to the hearing.

At the hearing itself, vendors delivered the stack of pink tickets to Council Member Lappin. Upon receiving the tickets, Lappin commented, "You get points for creativity."

While Lappin's bill was successfully defeated, street vendors and advocates anticipate that lawmakers, working at the behest of business improvement districts and corporate interests, will revive this initiative in other forms. Meanwhile, vendors and advocates continue mounting a broader campaign to let policymakers know that the public supports small businesses, economic justice, and social equity.