Art on the Square opened Friday night with an art presentation from local high school artists.
Students from Belleville West and their teachers unveiled two 10-foot-high, mutli-colored columns at the downtown Belleville art show. The two fiberglass, plywood and foam columns, named “Inside Out,” were covered in primer and bright purple, pink, yellow, orange, green, black and white paint. They will be permanently displayed at Bellevue Park on the west end of Belleville.
Milwaukee artist Marina Lee worked with seven students from Cari Casper’s graphics design class. Casper said the students’ opportunity to work with an artist like Lee was extraordinary.
“We love Marina Lee. She is phenomenal and does an amazing job with the kids,” Casper said. “She is such an outstanding inspiration. The kids love her. She is just outstanding.”
The project is part of an interactive arts program called the High School Sculpture in the City, which brings local high school art students and artists together to collaborate on a sculpture that becomes a part of the city’s landscape. This year’s project was supported by a $12,500 contribution from Belleville law firm Mathis, Marifian and Richter, whose offices are located on Public Square, adjacent to the annual outdoor art show. The program has included art students from Belleville East, Althoff and Governor French in past years. Kevin Richter, an attorney and shareholder at the Belleville law firm, said this is the firm’s fifth year of sponsoring this project.
“Once this concept came alive, we thought what better way to get the youth involved than in a festival like this?” Richter said. “This has helped them get interested by maybe helps them follow through with their artistic talent.”
Casper also said the two columns that Lee helped the students create will be a welcome addition to the recently renovated park and an opportunity to bring art to local residents.
“What we really want to do is get art out in the community,” Casper said. “There is nothing better than having two Marina Lee columns welcoming the community into the park.”
Lee said she enjoyed working with Casper’s students and is impressed with Belleville’s commitment to art. She has attended the annual Art on the Square before and said the city is built a reputation for encouraging support artists.
“The city is going to be known for its art in the parks, the way they support the artists, the hospitality,” Lee said. “It’s phenomenal. There’s no event like it. None. And when you see it spread out, it’s the whole community is like this about the event. It runs year round and this is just kind of like the party.”
This is the 14th year for Art on the Square. The annual art show began in 2002 and has been ranked among the top 10 art shows in the country. The Art Fair Source Book has named Art on the Square the No. 1 fine arts show in the nation in 2008, 2010, 2011 and 2012.
In unveiling the sculptures to the art show outside the St. Clair County Courthouse Friday night, Belleville Mayor Mark Eckert thanked Lee, Casper and the students for their contribution to city. He said Art on the Square has brought much interest to the city that continues to increase with each year.
“It has provided more opportunities than we could imagine,” Eckert said.
The annual art show continues 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday and will conclude 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.
Contact reporter Will Buss at firstname.lastname@example.org or 618-239-2526.
Art on the Square
Saturday entertainment lineup
11a.m. to 12:30 p.m.: The Dixie All Stars
1 p.m. to 1:45 p.m.: Belleville Philharmonic Orchestra
2:15 p.m. to 3 p.m.: Metro East Community Chorale
3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.: Anita Rosamond Band
6 p.m. to 8 p.m.: Power Play
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.