An HGTV personality will be among the interior decorators on this year's design stage at Art on the Square in Belleville.
Tiffany Brooks won "HGTV Star" during Season 8 last year, hosted four episodes of a series called "The Most Embarrassing Rooms in America" and now is filming specials for the network.
"It's definitely changed my life," said Brooks, 34, of Chicago. "I travel a lot more, and I'm on television, which I love. My business hasn't changed much. We just hired a couple more people."
Art on the Square organizers have been working to expand the design stage in recent years to supplement the main attraction: art.
More than 100 artists from around the country will display and sell work in acrylic, watercolor, oil, photography, glass, jewelry, clay, metal, fine craft, mixed media, ceramics and wood.
Tents will circle downtown Belleville's Memorial Fountain. Hours are 5 to 10 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Admission is free.
"We're all just hanging in there, praying for good weather," said Patty Gregory, founder and executive director.
Art on the Square is consistently ranked as one of the top art fairs in country. This year, more than 900 artists from 49 states, Canada, Europe and the Middle East entered the juried selection process.
Beyond individual tents, the art fair will feature live music on the main stage and in the Jazz and Wine Court, a High School Art Exhibit, an interactive children's Garden of Art and local food and drink vendors.
"In honor of Belleville's 200th (birthday), we'll have two German artists from Paderborn, our sister city," Gregory said, noting one is a sculptor and one paints with oil and acrylic.
"They will be doing demonstrations, along with the Gateway East Artist's Guild, the (Belleville Holzschnitzers) woodcarvers and SIU Carbondale glass blowers."
This year's Art on the Square poster also celebrates the bicentennial. Florida artist Don Nedobeck created it using images important to the city's history.
Officials will block off streets, set up tents and place signage for the art fair today.
Tourism Director Cathleen Lindauer has been busy coordinating the arrival of tour buses from Springfield, Jacksonville, Peoria and St. Charles, Missouri.
"What I'm doing is making sure people know what Belleville has to offer, in addition to viewing art," she said. "They want to know where they can go to eat, where they can go to shop and what other attractions are here."
The purpose of the Living with Art design stage is helping people incorporate artwork into their home and business decor. Most speakers are from St. Louis and the metro-east.
Brooks was a self-taught interior decorator in Chicago before she became a TV personality. She had a part-time business called "You and Your Decor."
"I couldn't afford art school, so I bought some textbooks and studied on my own," she said.
Brooks spoke by telephone Wednesday from Atlanta, where she was hosting an episode of HGTV's "Urban Oasis."
Brooks feels she was destined to be on "HGTV Star." She went to audition at a downtown Chicago hotel only after all four of her appointments that day canceled.
On the show, Brooks and other competitors had to meet weekly challenges, such as redecorating the inside of a school bus, a sorority house and a Palm Springs hotel room. Filming took place in February of 2013 in Los Angeles. Episodes aired that summer.
"It was crazy how God just opened up all these doors," Brooks said. "But it wasn't stressful. It felt so very natural being there. I was most nervous for the first episode and the last episode. I was thinking, 'This could change my life.'"
At a glance
What: 13th annual Art on the Square
Where: Downtown Belleville
When: 5 to 10 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday
Shuttle: Free service to and from Belleville Scheel Street MetroLink station
Information: Call Belleville Tourism at 618-233-6769 or visit artonthesquare.com
Art on the Square schedule
5 to 10 p.m. -- Artist and vendor booths open
5 to 9 p.m. -- Music by Louis Michael Trio in the wine court
10 a.m. to 9 p.m. -- Artist and vendor booths open
10:30 to 11 a.m. -- "Framing and Matting" with Colin Shaw on the design stage
11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. -- Music by The Dixie All Stars on the main stage
11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. -- Music by Mark Biehl Group in the wine court
11:30 a.m. to noon -- "I loved it! I bought it! Now what do I do with it?" with Deb Bokemper on the design stage
12:30 to 1 p.m. -- "The Art of Lighting Art: Making it Come Alive" with Carol Hiatt on the design stage
1 to 1:45 p.m. -- Music by Belleville Philharmonic Orchestra on the main stage
2 to 4:45 p.m. -- Music by The Convertibles in the wine court
2 to 2:30 p.m. -- "Green Design: The Fingerprints of Art in Your Environment" with Diane Rosen on the design stage
2:15 to 3 p.m. -- Music by Metro East Community Chorale on the main stage
3 to 3:30 p.m. -- "Traditional, Contemporary: You Can Mix it Up" with Gigi Lombrano on the design stage
3:30 to 5:30 p.m. -- Music by Soul Shake on the main stage
4 to 5 p.m. -- "Coloring Your Home" with Kara Osthoff on the design stage
5:15 to 8 p.m. -- Music by Beabout Jazz in the wine court
6 to 8 p.m. -- Music by Roscoe Beano Band on the main stage
11 a.m. to 5 p.m. -- Artist and vendor booths open
11 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. -- Music by Anita Rosamond and Ron Sallee on the main stage
11 a.m. to 1:45 p.m. -- Music by Don James Quartet in the wine court
Noon to 1 p.m. -- "HGTV Star" Tiffany Brooks on the design stage
12:30 to 1:45 p.m. -- Music by Triple Play on the main stage
1:15 to 2 p.m. -- "Coloring Your Home" with Kara Osthoff on the design stage
2 to 2:45 p.m. -- High School Art Exhibition awards on the main stage
2:15 to 3 p.m. -- "HGTV Star" Tiffany Brooks on the design stage
2:15 to 5 p.m. -- Music by John Farrar Trio in the wine court
3:15 to 4 p.m. -- "HGTV Star" Tiffany Brooks on the design stage
3 to 5 p.m. -- Music by Hudson and the Hoo Doo Cats on the main stage