Rain clouds lurking in the area didn’t deter art fans from heading to the 14th annual Art on the Square in Belleville Saturday, and the crowds increased as the weather cleared late in the day.
Ten-year-old Stiliyan Teodosiev, a fourth-grader at Signal Hill Elementary School in Belleville, busily helped paint the “monster mural” set up by the Tourism Bureau of Illinois South. He carefully painted a cowboy.
“He always remembers different pieces and when we come the next year, he’ll say, ‘Oh I remember that from last year,’” said his mother, Samantha Scheibel.
The festival continues 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday at the Public Square. Admission is free. Organizers invited 103 artists from around the country to show off their handiwork.
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Scheibel said she enjoys viewing the various artists with her son. They were on the hunt for a piece of artwork for Stiliyan’s bedroom.
She said her son will ask, “Does that look abstract to you? It kind of looks abstract to me. Is that a photograph or is that a painting?”
She said going to the art fair is a great way for Stiliyan to get involved in art to see if he wants to be artist or a spectator.
“I think being an artist is just a stage of continuing to grow and explore,” said sculptor Laurel Peterson Gregory. “Right now I’m doing oil painting as a hobby, so there’s always movement.”
She has desktop bronzes to hollow ones that are several feet high. Gregory, of Sedalia, Colo., uses the centuries old lost-wax bronze casting process to create her pieces that feature expressive animals.
Gregory, who is not related to Art on the Square Executive Director Patty Gregory, also was invited to last year’s show and said she had repeat customers this year.
Tiffany Brooks, who hosts HGTV’s “Smart House,” gave two presentations Saturday and will give two more on Sunday on the Living with Art Design Stage on West Main Street.
“Start your rooms or end your rooms by selecting art,” Brooks said when asked about tips for incorporating artwork into your home. “If you have an amazing piece that really inspires you, build a room based around that.” But she adds, “If you feel really, really passionate about a piece of art, it will fit in your room no matter what.”
Brooks, who lives near Chicago, won Season 8 of the interior designer competition show “HGTV Star.” She started her career as an interior designer after getting burned out as a real estate agent. She said her boss asked her to design a display home and her work ended up winning a regional competition. This prompted her to think she could develop a career in interior designing but she couldn’t afford a design degree. So instead of enrolling in college, she bought all the text books and studied them.
Dr. Wayne Trinklein of St. Peters, Mo., enthusiastically greets customers stopping by his booth featuring tree sculptures.
He said a little rain won’t keep serious art fans from visiting the fair. Trinklein participated in the Art on the Square artist in residence program and went to Whiteside Middle School on Thursday to introduce students to his artwork.
To make his trees, he takes copper wire molded into a shape and then fuses it with tin at high heat to create brass. He developed another alloy that slowly melts and this allow him to create textures and bark.
Trinklein, a retired doctor from Michigan who now works full time as an artist, said each tree is inspired by the personality of someone in his life.
“It’s always to tell a story,” he said.
“To get into this show is very difficult,” said Trinklein, who is appearing for the fifth time at Art on the Square. “I go to a lot of good shows around the country and when they hear I go to Art on the Square, they say, ‘Oh you lucky dog.’”
Art on the Square is the No. 2 ranked art fair in the country based on sales reported by artists, according to Art Fair SourceBook. The show has been at or near the top in sales for several years.
Patty Gregory, the festival director, said the crowds are very “appreciative” of the artists selected for this year’s show.
“What I really like is the fact that everybody says how welcoming the city of Belleville is, so that makes you feel really great because that was the whole purpose of this show, to promote the city of Belleville.”
Art on the Square schedule
11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. — Music by Triple Play on main stage.
11 a.m. to 1:45 p.m. — Music by the Don James Quartet in wine court.
11 a.m. to 2 p.m. — Demonstrations of watercolor, drawing and oil painting in Gateway East Artist Guild tent.
Noon to 1 p.m. — Presentation by Tiffany Brooks, interior designer and host of HGTV’s “Smart House,” on Living with Art Design Stage.
Noon to 4 p.m. — Children’s Art Garden open for kids who want to help paint a mural or make art to take home, including musical instruments, photo frames, animals and hats.
1 to 2 p.m. — Music by the St. Louis Sirens on main stage.
1:15 to 1:45 p.m. — Presentation on “Let’s Get Creative” by Rita Eckert from Eckert’s Florist.
2 to 3 p.m. — Presentation by Tiffany Brooks, interior designer and host of HGTV’s “Smart House,” on Living with Art Design Stage.
2 to 3 p.m. — High School Art Competition awards on main stage.
2 to 5 p.m. — Demonstrations of copper sculpture and pencil and ink drawing in Gateway East Artist Guild tent.
2:15 to 5 p.m. — Music by The Convertibles in wine court.
3 to 5 p.m. — Music by Soul Shake on main stage.