Artists Settle Lawsuit Against City

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Two artists who wanted to make a few bucks selling their works in Reno parks and on downtown streets will get $47,500 in a settlement from the city that said they couldn't.

Steven White and Ben Klinefelter sued the city, claiming that a review committee could reject someone's application to sell artwork on the street based on committee members personal tastes or whims.

They said that violated their First Amendment rights.

In June, U.S. District Judge David Hagen upheld the rights of artists to sell their work on the street without approval from the committee.

And in September, Hagen said the artists should pay at most the $60 per year that's required under a general business license in the city.

The city had sought a flat fee of $260 a year from vendors.

The settlement will be divided between the two artists. Attorney Terri Keyser-Cooper, who represented them in court, declined to say how much she would keep for legal fees.

Deputy City Attorney Creig Skau said that in response to the legal action, he plans to revise the city's ordinance regulating street vendors.

"It never was intended to limit freedom of expression," Skau told the Reno Gazette-Journal. "Now that it's been brought to our attention, we're going to correct that oversight."