This story was submitted by Caliyah Smith (10, J&C)
From Oct. 4- 6, 2019, the 63rd annual St. James Court Art Show, an autumn tradition that attracts visitors from all parts of the country to view and purchase original art pieces from artists, took place in historic Old Louisville on Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m to 5 p.m.
The St James Art Show covers about five blocks including St. James, Belgravia Court, Magnolia Avenue, Third and Fourth Street.
St James is for artists to showcase their work and network with other artists as well as sell their work for people to buy and share with their family. Over 1,000 artists apply each year, competing to be one of the 700 chosen artists to showcase their creations.
“Each year is always a surprise. Either there is a new artist from another state or the artists who have been there for years does something different than what they normally do and amazes their customers,” said Charlotte Silverstine, a regular customer analyzing the jewelry in the glass case at Mark Grosser’s booth.
St James has a jury of eight people that score each artist’s application on a scale of one to ten. The show then organizes the jurors into a single jury panel that scores applications for all medium categories. The returning artists are selected by an on-site jury.
“I’m prejuried to be here every year… it is really nice because not every show is not like that. [This show is] competitive. St James is a big show. It’s the second largest size show in the country… and St James is 750 artist,” Dawn Hatzidakis, the artist of Dawn’s Artisan Jewelry, said.
Many artists agreed that Saturday is the most important day of the show for them because people are off work and can be there all day without having to rush to go elsewhere.
However, other artists say Friday is the most calming day due to the perfect weather and crowd. Artists claim that Friday is also the kickoff to a great sale weekend for them because many people come Friday to look around and observe the different vendors and might put a few items on hold if they can.
Once Saturday approaches, people come come back and are on a mission to go specific vendors.
“My second year was my best year, but I don’t know because this weekend isn’t over. This could be a great year. It just started,” Hatzidakis said.
Many of the artists view St James as just another art show, but for some artist St James is an honor.
K.O. Lewis, the artist of Lewis Acrylics and a Manual V.A. graduate, claims that it was by luck that he got to showcase at St James Art Show. He was on the waiting list for years but kept his head held high and waited. His artwork was finally recognized when he was asked to create a poster for St James.
“It is important for our culture to be seen, explain, and recognized… when people buy my artwork I hope that the artwork doesn’t loses its value,” Lewis said.