By Kyle Petersen

When many people think of New York City, they imagine a metropolis filled with a wide variety of performance artists and creative types. Despite the fact that the Big Apple has long been a haven for the artistically inclined, street performers (or buskers) have often been marginalized, castigated and even outlawed.

For much of the past century, buskers have been treated as  a quality of life problem along the lines of panhandlers, broken windows and graffiti. In 1935, New York City issued a formal ban on street performing that existed until the 1970s. Even today, New York street  performers face intimidation and harassment from the authorities and have been subjected to citations and arrest.

Unfortunately, the plight of New York street performers is not unique. Around the world, buskers face difficult circumstances. The Busking Project is an organization dedicated to promoting awareness of the benefits of street performers and advocating looser restrictions of street artists. As the organization explains:

Street performers face huge day to day challenges, from bad weather and restrictive laws to the simple mission of making enough money to survive. We’re here to give them a platform, to give encouragement to those who have just started, to help inform people about the benefits that buskers provide (and thus relax stigmas against them and, eventually, laws).

The Busking Project is currently involved in producing a documentary to raise awareness of street performers across the globe. The group has visited 40 cities in 5 continents and has recorded over 200 performers.  TBP is looking to producing a “feature length documentary, a photo narrative book and continue our commitment to creating, encouraging, and supporting a global community of street performers through our website”. Unfortunately, the group is still in search of funding. You can help by visiting their Kickstarter campaign and pledging a donation of $1 or more. Below, you can see a video clip of some of their great work:

Pepe Peperonius from The Busking Project on Vimeo.

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