Celebrate Belleville’s History through Art

For Immediate Release

Contact Person: Larry Betz
Phone: 618-531-7753

Belleville Plein Air Art Auction, September 15, 2012
Belleville Historical Society to Host Celebration of History through Art

[Belleville, Illinois]—Twelve local artists will bring some of Belleville’s most beloved historic sites to life at the city’s first annual “Paint Historic Belleville” Plein Air Art Auction on Saturday, September 15.

The first-of-its-kind event in Belleville will feature local artists painting en plein air (French for “in the open air”) at historic sites throughout Belleville from 8a.m. to noon. At 1p.m. the twelve original paintings will be available at auction at the site of the Garfield Street Historic Saloon (633 East Garfield Street). From 10a.m. to 2p.m. the Garfield location will host a street fair with food, crafts, activities for kids, and live music by John Farrar. All proceeds will go to the Belleville Historical Society to sustain preservation efforts.

“Our goal is to promote Belleville’s heritage and heighten awareness of some of our city’s greatest assets,” says Belleville Historical Society president Larry Betz. ”Through their work, the artists who are so generously donating their time and talent will bring new eyes and appreciation to the history that surrounds us every day.” Belleville will celebrate its 200th anniversary in 2014.

Some of the most well-known sites on the roster are the Skyview Drive-In Theater, which opened for business in 1949 and continues to operate to this day; the Lindenwood Auditorium (formerly the Belleville Township High School Auditorium), designed by architect William B. Ittner and completed in 1924; downtown Belleville’s Lincoln Theatre, which opened in 1921 with four vaudeville acts and a silent movie; and the Belleville Public (Carnegie) Library, designed by Belleville native Otto Rubach whose other Belleville landmarks include most of the public schools built between 1915 and 1930. The library was dedicated in January of 1916.

Sites also include the Hotel Belleville/Meredith Home, which the city currently plans to tear down, and three buildings designed by mid-century modern architect Charles E. King: Belleville City Hall and two residences. In partnership with Lindenwood University, the Belleville Historical Society will open a permanent exhibit on the Belleville works of King in November of this year.

The public is invited to participate in the day’s activities by visiting the sites to watch artists paint, and attending the street fair and auction on the 600 block of East Garfield Street.

A full list of participating artists and sites, as well as an event map and photos, is available on the Belleville Historical Society website: http://bellevillehistoricalsociety.org/plein-air

The rain date for this event is Saturday, October 6. In case of inclement weather, updates will be posted to the Historical Society’s Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/bellevillehistoricalsociety


The Belleville Historical Society was chartered in 2010 to actively preserve the history of Belleville, Illinois. Past and current projects have included purchasing and renovating several historic homes and buildings in Belleville, including the Garfield Street Historic Saloon; salvaging the Art Deco pillars original to the WPA-constructed Belleville Township Stadium; and curating the first known exhibit of the works of Belleville architect Charles E. King.

For more information, please contact Larry Betz at 618-531-7753 or bellevillehistoricalsociety@gmail.com.

Posted 9/6/2012