Arts and Culture in the
French Colonial Country Region

The French Colonial Country region is alive and well when it comes to arts and culture including the Schmidt Art Center and the Misselhorn Art Gallery. The prestigious Art on the Square art fair and show in Belleville in May is one of the many art events the regions hosts.


Misselhorn Art Gallery
Sparta, Illinois
Housed in the old GM&O railroad depot are over 2,000 works of the renown Southern Illinois sketch artist Roscoe Misselhorn who many call the Norman Rockwell of the Midwest. Also feature at the  Gallery are exhibits by contemporary artists.


William & Florence Schmidt Art Center
Belleville, Illinois
This 6,800 square foot privately funded art gallery consists of a permanent and teaching art collection more than 400 pieces. Sculptures, paintings, photographs, lithographs and monographs from renowned artists such as Claus Moor, Salvador Dali, Ansel Adams, Rembrandt Van Rijn, and Robert Motherwell are included in the collection. The Schmidt Art Center and Gallery regularly features special exhibitions.


The Visual Arts in Sainte Genevieve
Sainte Genevieve, Missouri
The visual arts and Sainte Genevieve have been connected since the early 19th century with the arrival of John James Audubon. The connection continued with the Sainte Genevieve Art Colony of the 1930s and Roscoe Misselhorn, the “Norman Rockwell of the Midwest.” The charm of the community continues to be a magnet to artists as Sainte Genevieve is home to a number of working studios, art galleries and shops, and special art events.


Ste. Genevieve’s 4th Friday Art Walk
Ste. Genevieve’s 4th Friday Art Walk is a monthly open studio and gallery walk between 6 and 9 pm through a compact three-by-three block area of Ste. Genevieve's downtown quaint National Historic District. The event, which started in 2008 and boasts over a dozen art spaces, takes place the fourth Friday of every month from February to October. Other downtown shops, boutiques and restaurants also are open for Art Walk visitors to enjoy. There is no charge to see all of the art in all the places where the Art Walk pennants will be flying.


Art on the Square
Art on the Square is a juried fine art show located in beautiful downtown Belleville, Illinois. Since 2002 Art on the Square has consistently been ranked #1 and #2 in the nation by Art Fair Source Book. Art on the Square is held annually the weekend after Mother’s Day. Featuring the original work of over 100 accomplished artists from around the world, fantastic musical and stage performances as well as delicious local food and drink, Art on the Square is a three-day sensation for the eyes, ears and palate!


Sainte Genevieve’s Jour de Fete
With over 100 arts and crafts booths, exhibits and special attractions the annual Jour de Fete is the premier arts and crafts fair in the Midwest. The city, the first European settlement in Missouri, has long been home to artisans and craftsmen and its French Colonial atmosphere provides a perfect setting for this annual event. Ste. Genevieve is located off of I-55 and is just a one hour drive south of St. Louis. In addition to the artisans there will be plenty of food, music, special exhibits and displays. The Ste. Genevieve area is known for its wineries and there will be a wine tasting event with an small admission fee. Maps of the festival area are available at the Great River Road Interpretative Center located on the corner of Main and Market Streets.


Midwest Salute to the Arts
Since 1988 Fairview Heights, Illinois, has been host to the Midwest Salute to the Arts. At this nationally-recognized art fair you’ll find over 100 of the best sculptors, painters, photographers, and creators of decorative and wearable art in the United States competing for prizes and selling their creations. Plus, enjoy live entertainment and music throughout the fest. There’s something for everyone to see, hear and do, so come with family and friends for a day dedicated to all things creative.


Sainte Genevieve Plein Air Event
Following the European tradition of capturing the atmosphere of the outdoors, contemporary artists are invited to join the realms of the famous regionalist artists of the 1930s by painting outdoors in the scenic Sainte Genevieve area. Contemporary painters will find the same French colonial buildings, Victorian commercial structures, and extensive gardens in the downtown historic district that intrigued the artists who founded the Sainte Genevieve Art Colony some 80 years ago. The ragged Mississippi shoreline, midwestern farms, and remnants of old building sites still appeal. Seven picturesque wineries, Hawn State Park, Pickle Springs Nature Preserve, and other conservation areas are easily accessible by car. Among the highlights of this event organized by the Sainte Genevieve Art Guild are multiple paint outs & competitions, generous prizes, social events.

Explore French Colonial Country