I spent the day helping artists set up booths for the Saint James Court Art Show in Louisville. There’s a lot of bureaucracy and hard work involved. People drive in from all over the country. They’re in a city many of them have never been to before.
First the artists have to register, having gone through an application process in which they have to find out if they’re good enough to attend. The art show here is like trying to get into college. Then, if they’re accepted, they have to reserve a a 10 foot by 10 foot space. They drive for hours to get here. Once they register, they have to find where they have to set up. That isn’t an easy task, because the show takes up multiple city blocks and involves planning by numerous neighborhood associations. Then, after they secure their little plot of land, they have a half hour to unpack then move their van out of the area to avoid a traffic backup so other artists can get in and set up.
Artists either come as families or as individuals. But however they arrive, each has to assemble what becomes a temporary studio: a canvas, plastic or vinyl tent filled with photographs, sculptures, paintings or whatever other crafts available for purchase. The assembly process takes hours. By the end of the day, they’re exhausted, but the show officially starts in the morning as they display for judges at 9:30 a.m.
In general, the economy isn’t doing that great, and a lot of people are worried about how sales will fare this weekend. But these folks are at least adding some culture to our drab lives, so you can only wish the best for them.