Gal, an internationally-known painter, was chosen to create this year’s Art on the Square poster. The poster was unveiled Wednesday night in the Schmidt Art Center on the campus of Southwestern Illinois College in front of about 150 people. The community-wide event is approaching its 15th anniversary.
“With the grace of God” is the title of the painting created by Gal. Gal was joined by Executive Director Patty Gregory and Belleville Mayor Mark Eckert. Volunteers prepared 200 copies of Gal’s poster for distribution. The poster features Veterans Memorial Fountain at the center of show.
“I’ve been in this show since 2005. I’m a very lucky man because this is the best show in America,” Gal said, adding that his sales numbers are the best in Belleville compared to anywhere else. He lives and works in Old Jaffa, Israel.
Organizers of the annual show announced earlier this year that Art on the Square was ranked No. 1 in the nation for the fifth time in 14 years by Art Fair Source Book. The ranking is based on sales from last year’s show.
Gal said he strongly admires how Belleville treats artists, such as himself. He told the crowd Wednesday that he plans to take at least six months off from painting professionally to make a documentary about Belleville. According to Gal’s biography, the artist has also been a playwright, director, actor and a television and cinema producer.
The painter hopes to come back to Belleville for Art on the Square in the future. This year’s show is scheduled May 13-15 in downtown Belleville.
“It’s the warmest, most loving show and crew I’ve ever met in my life ... This town accepted me like a home,” Gal said. “I’m so happy to be here — even for one day — because this town’s spirit is so elevating and you get inspired from it. I can’t explain it besides the fact that it’s the victory of the spirit — the human spirit.”
For more information about the 15th annual Art on the Square, visit artonthesquare.com.