In July of this year an artist group made up of organizers from the St. James Court Art Show, artist leaders from Kentucky Shakespeare, and CenterStage came together with the Fund for the Arts to explore ways of integrating the robust performance tradition in Louisville into the historic St. James Court Art Show. “St. James” as it is affectionately known, is the largest public event that happens in Louisville, and has been attracting national, regional, and local artists to the three-day festival in the Old Louisville neighborhood for over 60 years.

Faith Works Performing Arts

What developed from that meeting was this year’s inaugural Local Performance Village. The Village, located on the South Court – Inner Green (that’s just South of the fountain and food vendors for those of you not versed in St. James Court lingo!) will host 17 performances from 12 different performance organizations throughout the weekend, beginning at 1:30pm on Saturday and running through Sunday afternoon. In addition to performances, audiences can take part in engagement activities to explore their own inner artist through the I Am An Artist. initiative, learn more about performance schedules, and win prizes and tickets throughout the weekend!

“It was important to us that the Local Performance Village showcase the wide variety of artistic disciplines, cultures and ages that make up our vibrant City of Artists,” said Fund for the Arts President and CEO Andre Kimo Stone Guess. “Over the weekend you’ll see kids dancing from LaNita Rocknettes School of Dance, traditional dances from River Lotus Lion Dancers and Flamenco Louisville, new theatrical work created by Actors Theatre of Louisville, performances by Louisville Orchestra, Louisville Folk School, musical theatre performances from Faith Works Studios, and much much more.”

River Lotus Lion Dancers

The idea for the Local Performance Village, which organizers hope will become an annual event, is a part of the Arts in Neighborhoods initiative, born from a series of events that Fund for the Arts co-hosted, alongside neighborhood, civic, and arts leaders last spring and summer. Those events worked within neighborhoods to amplify the work that was happening all over the city, in community centers, schools, rehearsal halls, and traditional stages. The big idea in Arts in Neighborhoods is that our neighborhoods are rich, vibrant communities where people play, work, and create. When we partner alongside one another, we reinforce strong, healthy neighborhoods. More people engage in art, expand their view of what art means, and support the economic, physical and mental health of our city through engagement, participation, and financial support.

Harlina Trumbo, Artistic Director of LaNita Rocknettes School of Dance, whose performance on Friday kicks off the village is enthusiastic about this year’s addition. “The collaboration between local performing artists and the St. James Court Art Show is long overdue. Just imagine bringing visual arts to Life through Movement and Music! Looking at a painting or seeing a sculpture of a traditional dancer or musician then viewing a stage performance! WOW! It is a spiritual and Emotional connection!”

LaNita Rocknettes School of Dance

Howard Rosenberg has been Executive Director of the St. James Court Art Show since 2018. He approached Fund for the Arts with an idea to create opportunities for performance within the festival. “We are extremely excited about the St. James Court Art Show emerging partnership with the Fund for the Arts beginning this year and continuing for years to come,” said Rosenberg. “The Performance Village is a great addition to the show and encourages everyone to visit the Village while at the art show. It is an opportunity to experience what makes the art show such a special event.”

Make sure and stop by the Local Performance Village on the South Green – Inner Court, on Friday – Sunday, and come back often! Performances and activities will change every hour, so there’s something for everyone!

Interested in performing in a future Arts in Neighborhood event or learning more about the St. James Court Art Show Local Performance Village, contact Kate Gipson at kgipson@fundforthearts.org.

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