Carmel Paints Art Into A Corner

In a Californian coastal idyll known for harboring creative types like Ansel Adams, Jack London and onetime mayor Clint Eastwood, the latest public nuisance is also the city's very soul--art. With 120 art galleries in a town of 4,058 people, or one gallery for every 34 residents, the city council of Carmel-by-the-Sea voted last month to limit the number of new galleries moving into town. Carmel's leaders decided that the city, which earns no sales-tax revenue when out-of-state tourists snap up a watercolor, has reached aesthetic overkill.

Carmel's artistic community is canvas-shredding mad. "The art galleries bring a lot of people to town. They are...

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