Patty Gregory, busier than a one-armed paper hanger, seems to generate her own gravity. Her boundless enthusiasm for art, knack for team-building and very fat Rolodex have over a dozen years catapulted Art On The Square to No. 5 in the nation.
Most of the time. According to an independent industry publication, the juried outdoor show was No. 1 in the U.S. for three years straight—2010, 2011 and 2012. It’s been in the top five or better seven times, which is significant: Reportedly, serious art buyers try to hit the top five shows every year. (In 2013, a show somewhere on the left coast took top honors… although that’s way out there, and not important right now.)
More than 100 fine artists selected from among 1,000 hopefuls will exhibit their talents and the fruit of their labors around the spectacular fountain in Belleville’s Public Square on May 16th, 17th and 18th. This is not your grandmother’s crafts festival, mind you, but a gathering of some of the best artists anywhere, from the States and “across the pond,” including Italy and Germany. The latter is apropos, given that Belleville, an all-American German burg, is celebrating its 200th anniversary. “An Affair to Remember” is this year’s theme, and director Gregory et al. have gone all out (and nearly nonstop) since the 2013 show to ensure this year’s even better than ever—although not necessarily bigger. Staffers say 100 to 105 exhibitors feels about right for the space: In the traffic circle ’round the fountain and stretching along the blocks north, south, east and west along Illinois and Main streets.
Two outdoor cafés will feature offerings from 20-some restaurateurs. Plus: a hands-on area for budding young artists, a competition for high-schoolers, and a design stage where browsers and buyers can see how fine paintings and sculpture may complement their décor. Fine jazz and philharmonic performances will add to the ambience. And, there will be at least one exhibitor from Hawaii… across the other pond. Visit artonthesquare.comArt, Belleville, Events, Festival