Metro-East News

Belleville kids get to spend $6,000 at Art on the Square

A select group of Belleville schoolchildren will get to spend $6,000 at Art on the Square Saturday in Belleville to buy artwork to be displayed in four schools.

The new Art Education and Purchase Program as part of Art on the Square is sponsored by Wells Fargo Advisors.

“We thought this was a good way to teach students how to consider different aspects of art,” said Patty Gregory, executive director of Art on the Square.

Sixth-grade students from schools in Belleville School District 118 were invited to write essays about why they think art is important for a community.

A panel of college professors, sixth-grade teachers and journalists selected the top essays and four schools were chosen to participate in the program: Union, Jefferson, Westhaven and Henry Raab.

Four students from each school will go to the fair on Saturday to choose artwork while being escorted by a teacher. Each school will have $1,500 to spend.

On Sunday, after the high school art competition’s 2 p.m. announcements are completed on the main stage, one elementary student from each school participating in the purchase program will be a “docent” to explain to the crowd why the artwork was selected for their school and what the art means to them.

After the art show, the artwork will be put on display at the four schools.

Gail Lauth, art teacher for District 118, is the chair for the art purchase program.

“We just think it’s really important to keep cultural activities and education partnerships alive in the community,” Gregory said.

Gregory said Art on the Square’s long-range plan calls for an “art bus” that would travel to schools throughout the region and that students who participated in the the art purchase program would then talk to other students about why the art was selected.

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