UPDATE: Andy Verostek, an artist at the Santora, has written a post about the allegations by the Grrl Fair collective that an artist at the Santora harassed a number of them at their recent event. Click here to read his account, which clearly debunks the allegations made by the OC Weekly.
“Organizers of this year’s Grrl Fair collective,the county’s decade-old celebration of all things womyn, are planning a protest May 7 in SanTana’s Artists Village during its next Art Walk,” according to the OC Weekly. You can also read about it over at the Orange Juice blog.
The OC Weekly article explains that “They claim that during their March 12 Grrl Fair in downtown SanTana, an artist in the Santora Building constantly groped underage girls, and that Santora management (under the rule of mega-developer Mike Harrah), artists, and the city’s police department have not bothered with their pleas for action.”
Protesting the Art Walk and ripping Mike Harrah, who owns the Santora Building, is ridiculous. Harrah cannot do anything about this. It is a police matter, but the police cannot do anything either. The comments left by readers indicate that the reason the SAPD has not opened an investigation is that none of those making allegations have been willing to put their name on a formal police report. No names – no report. That is how this works.
Until the women who were groped actually file police reports, nothing is going to happen. This planned protest is just going to hurt innocent artists who had nothing to do with any of this.
There are allegations that the artists knew beforehand that they had a pervy guy in their midst. If true, the question is – what could they have done? I have seen all sorts of pervy guys at the Art Walks – including a bunch of local politicians known for cheating on their wives.
This incident however does open up a can of worms for the Art Walk in that there are also allegations that the alleged groper was very drunk. The fact is that many of the art galleries serve alcohol during the Art Walk, and even those that don’t serve it often have liquor on hand for the artists themselves. Should this tradition continue? Or should we leave the alcohol service to the bars and restaurants in the Artists Village? I am told that the Santa Ana Planning Commission is going to look into this.