Council Places Moratorium On Artist Fees For 2016 RPLA Festival

Roselle Park’s governing body has waived the $60 fee it set up last year to charge artists for selling and simply displaying their art during the upcoming 2016 Roselle Park Loves Arts (RPLA) Festival in September.

The moratorium was passed through Resolution 90-16 at the March 24th Mayor & Council meeting. An ordinance was originally passed last year which charged artists $60 for a one-day event as part of the borough’s peddler and transient merchant law. The fee to cover someone as a transient merchant or peddler is $100 for the year. The ordinance was filled with many inconsistencies and confusing language such as the lack of definition of what constituted an artist or why musician or other vendors – such as those who took part in last year’s Wedding Expo – were never charged a similar fee. Wedding Expo vendors were charged nothing for setting up and displaying their goods or services.

The move is a welcome relief for – pardon the cliché – struggling artists as well as RPLA Festival organizers. Pam Reinoso, the resident who originally spearheaded the event in 2014 and has had a hand in its expansion and success, spoke in support of the resolution. 2015’s RPLA Festival was a major highlight of the year, drawing residents and out-of-town visitors to Chestnut Street with the help and support of volunteers, businesses, schools, the municipality, and the County Freeholders.

At the March 24th meeting, Mrs. Reinoso thanked council for putting the moratorium in place for this year’s festival while highlighting the importance of supporting the arts in Roselle Park.

“If we really want to build the arts in this town, we need to get it known as a town for the arts and the only way to do that is to have a vibrant, large festival with as many participants as we can get to come in here . . . They need to know that they can come in here and that it won’t cost them to take the risk of showing in Roselle Park,” stated Pam, adding, “It’s only going to be worth their while to come if they don’t have an overhead.”

The waiving of fees will is only in place for this year with a year-by-year review. There has been no mention by the governing body to rescind or review the original ordinance (2445) to be more cohesive.

The 2016 Roselle Park Loves Arts Festival is scheduled for September 24th. RPLA is always looking for volunteers to help out and anyone needing more information can visit their website (link).