A Show’s Load-In and Load-Out Process When Artists Follow Directions, the Festival’s Plan Works

February 2024, by Lauren Hendricks, St. James Court Art Show

Hundreds of artists exhibit at the St. James Court Art Show. Photo courtesy of St. James Court Art Show

The St. James Court Art Show is made up of six different sections. These details are specific to the St. James Court section of the show. 

The St. James Court section hosts approximately 225 exhibiting artists. Check-in and set-up take place on Thursday before the show opens on Friday. 

That check-in day is for artists only. All other vendors, such as food, set up earlier in the week. 

Artists can check in at any time to receive their Artist Packet. However, all setup times are scheduled according to the artist’s booth location. 

Setup day begins at 6 a.m., greeting artists with trucks pulling trailers. Setup times are 9-11 a.m., noon to 2 p.m., 3-5 p.m., and finally the 5 p.m. session. Artists who miss their scheduled setup time are asked to wait until after 6 p.m. to set up. 

Volunteers and staff are on-site from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. to assist the artists. To ensure we have enough volunteers, we ask artists to contact us before the show if they will need assistance. 

Artists can drive up to their booth location and unload during their scheduled setup time. Once the session is over, we ask artists to proceed off-site to parking. Artists may return on foot to continue setting up. 

The St. James Court Section is located on two streets within a historic neighborhood. The streets are narrow. A driving, easy access lane must always be maintained, according to the fire department and emergency services. 

Parking Options for Artists 

There is designated free parking for exhibitors on city streets one block from the art show site. In addition, there are school, church, and community parking lots reserved for exhibitors, all of which are fundraisers.

Parking at the nearby elementary school is a fundraiser for the school. Parking at the West End Baptist Church is a fundraiser for the church. Parking at the 7th Street lot is a fundraiser for a local university. It is easier to walk than to have a shuttle try to get through the crowded streets.

Closing Time 

The art show closes at 5 p.m. on Sunday. Artists are asked to close their tent at 5 p.m. and completely break down their displays. An artist who packs up and leaves early is banned from exhibiting in all sections of the St. James Court Art Show. 

Vehicles are allowed on-site when the security detail has cleared the streets of pedestrians, and it is safe to proceed. A professional traffic management company manages load-out for The St. James Court Section. 

Volunteers are on-site to distribute the load-out pass. Artists are given a load-out pass when their booth is completely broken down and packed ready to be loaded into your vehicle. 

Like check-in, the queue line forms on Magnolia Avenue, from 7th Street. We ask artists to display the load-out pass in their front windshield, so the officer at the light will allow them to drive on-site. 

Artists are not given a load-out pass until their booth is completely dismantled and all materials are packed at curbside — ready to load as soon as the vehicle arrives. 

All vehicles park on the outside lane next to the house side curb to load materials. Leave the inside lane next to the greens always open for through traffic. 

Through the Years 

Breakdown and load-out for the St. James Court Section has improved since the hiring of a professional traffic management company and private security company in 2021. 

Advice to artists to help the process run smoothly is simple — follow the plan. When everyone follows directions, the plan works. 

The St. James Court Art Show loves its artists. We love the artists who return every year, and we look forward to meeting the artists who are new to our art show. Every decision we make is for the artists.