CHARLOTTE, N.C. (TheStreet) -- Artist Richard Wilson drags a couple of carts of pastel prints into his undersized tent as rain drenches downtown Charlotte. "This is definitely a lesson learned," he said.
Wedged between towers plastered with multi-national corporate names like Wells Fargo (WFC), Bank of America (BAC) (two major employers here) and FedEx, blocks of local vendors decorate a street in downtown Charlotte on Monday for the unofficial kickoff of the Democratic National Convention.
DNC officials had crowed earlier during a Monday morning press conference that this week's convention would be the most open and accessible in history as the city invited the general public to stroll up and down Tyron Street to experience a range of local flavors.
For some, the $650 fee to erect a one-day post amid the convention activities is worth it. But for others, like Wilson, things could have been better.Wilson, 40 years old, is selling original pastel paintings that depict various black American historical scenes. One painting is of a small child who sits on a bench in a white baseball uniform with the team name "Robinson" and the number "42" printed on the shirt. Behind the small child is a white fence that displays the faded image of baseball legend Jackie Robinson, who broke the color barrier for athletes. Wilson's originals can sell for as little as $500 and as much as $15,000 -- which would easily offset the $2,500 fee it will cost the artist and others who opted to vend through the whole convention. Wilson said on Monday he hadn't sold a single original. Showers that came through Charlotte Monday afternoon drove away potential customers right as business was starting to pick up, said artist Omari Spann. "I'm right under even," Spann said with a smile. "A little on," he laughed, which suggested his sales have matched the one-day $650 vendor fee. Spann is selling charcoal and pencil drawings of President Barack Obama. The pieces he is offering to customers are renditions of various portrait-style pictures that photographers have snapped of the president.
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