Belleville

Art on the Square is No. 1 in sales — again

Art on the Square puts $30 million into local economy

Art on the Square Executive Director Patty Gregory addresses the art fair's sponsors Thursday at the St. Clair Country Club. She said during the fair's 15-year history on the Public Square in Belleville, it has generated $30.3 million in economic
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Art on the Square Executive Director Patty Gregory addresses the art fair's sponsors Thursday at the St. Clair Country Club. She said during the fair's 15-year history on the Public Square in Belleville, it has generated $30.3 million in economic

For the sixth time in the past 10 years, Art on the Square in Belleville has been ranked No. 1 in the nation by Art Fair SourceBook based on fine-art sales reported by artists.

The annual art show held on Public Square in downtown Belleville also earned the first-place ranking in fine-craft sales for the first time. The rankings are based on sales reported during the May 2016 show.

This year’s art show will be May 19-21.

If you’re an artist thinking about doing the show, obviously you want to go to the best shows in the country for sales.

Greg Lawler, editor and publisher of Art Fair SourceBook

In the years that Art on the Square was not ranked No. 1 in the past 10 years in fine-art sales, the show was ranked No. 2 in sales.

Longtime watercolor artist Scott Hartley wins best of show at Art in the Square after four straight years as first-place painter.

The total gross sales for last year’s show was $1.5 million, with $14,682 being the average per artist.

Patty Gregory, executive director of Art on the Square, said she was “thrilled” to see Art on the Square rank No. 1 in both fine-art and fine-craft sales.

Gregory credits the show’s success to all of the support the show has received from the community, including over 600 volunteers who help during the show in May.

“I think that’s what is so overwhelming, that a town of our size has such a commitment to our show and they’re so proud of it,” Gregory said. “I think from the very beginning, we as a committee knew what we had to do. That we had to get the emotional buy-in of the entire community and make people a part of something special.

“Even artists will say when they’re attending our show, that they can feel the drive of the community through show.”

Greg Lawler, editor and publisher of Art Fair SourceBook, said Art on the Square’s rankings are attractive to artists.

“If you’re an artist thinking about doing the show, obviously you want to go to the best shows in the country for sales,” Lawler said Tuesday. “It’s a no-brainer for them. Number one in both is almost unheard of. So obviously, it’s a huge attraction for an artist.”

Lawler praised the Art Cash program, in which Art on the Square patrons pre-commit to buying art before they even see it at the show.

This program is “unsurpassed in the nation,” Lawler said.

“It really helps in say a rainy year when people are like, ‘Oh well, maybe I won’t go, but I already spent all this money.’”

Lawler also praised Gregory for her efforts in promoting the show.

“There’s not a more energetic, creative show director on the planet, in my opinion,” Lawler said. “She is amazing. I don’t know how she does it. She puts so much into it.”

Jennifer Clifton offers tips on framing artwork; the Triad student won best of show in the high school category at Art on the Square in Belleville recently.

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