“All children are artists. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.”
— Pablo Picasso
It is easy to be impressed by the list of superlatives applied to Art on the Square. Artists love the May art fair in Belleville because they feel welcomed and sell a lot of work to roughly 70,000 visitors. It ranked first in the nation among art fairs for six years, including this year, and second for four years out of the 16 it has existed. It is estimated to have generated $2.4 million in total expenditures, created the equivalent of 58 jobs and generated taxes of about $235,000.
But it is the things that happen outside the three-day event that change the shape of the community. Those extras were cited by the Arts and Education Council of Greater St. Louis when it announced Art on the Square was among its 2018 St. Louis Arts Award honorees.
“Through collaborations with schools and municipal partners, education and outreach programs such as the Artist in Residency program, Sculpture in the City Program, High School Sculpture in the City Program and High School art exhibit, AOTS’s mission has broader impact in the community and region,” the council wrote.
There are many public pieces of art to help us with “washing the dust of daily life off our souls.” The fact that Art on the Square, its organizers and many volunteers have involved our children in so many of them is part of the solution to Picasso’s problem.