LAKE CITY, S.C. – Lake City’s annual ArtFields will be held this year from April 23 to May 1.
All events are on go.
ArtFields, the largest visual arts competition in the Southeast, displays hundreds of art pieces throughout Lake City, along with hosting special events, live music, lots of food and fun for the whole family with student competition artwork and outdoor public art galore.
This nine-day art fest will feature artworks uniquely displayed in downtown businesses. Along with the artwork, additional events will include the Portrait Contest, Makers Market and Artist Talks, plus events all week at local businesses, said Roberta L. Burns, marketing manager of Lake City ArtFields Collective.
“The entire town becomes an art gallery as hundreds of artworks will be displayed in over 40 venues across our 68-acre downtown,” Burns said. “Our artists come from 12 Southeastern states of Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia. We also will have over 200 pieces of student artwork from South Carolina student artists.”
Burns said the spotlight will be two- and three-dimensional artwork selected from artists in 12 Southeastern states.
“Art competition finalists are vying for more than $100,000 in total cash prizes,” Burns said.
There will be two People’s Choice Awards of $12,500 each, and attendees vote for their favorite to determine the winners.
All winners will be announced on Saturday, May 1, during the finale night that will feature live music from Sol Fusion and a fireworks display.
In addition to the art competition, other events scheduled for ArtFields include:
Portrait Contest – In this high-speed, high-stakes contest, artists will face each other during three, one-hour rounds to complete portraits. The winners will walk away with $3,000 in prizes. The action starts at 1 p.m. on Saturday, April 24, in the Bean Market. Watch the artists advance until winners are announced just after 5 p.m. Nurses and doctors will be honored as models for their efforts during COVID-19.
Makers Market – The Truluck Properties by East Main Green will be full of vendors from fine artists to farmers showcasing unique goods, hand-crafted and grown by makers across the Southeast. Check out all of the artisans on from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, April 24, and from 1 to 6 p.m. Sunday, April 25. The market is located in an open-air location, and vendors will be spread apart.
Artist Talks – Join an evening on Village Green where competition artists take turns promoting their work in three minutes or less. Visitors are invited to learn more about artist and the inspiration behind the artwork. Artists will share their stories from 5-7 p.m. on Friday, April 30.
Plein Air Day – Artists will create scenes from around beautiful Lake City to be displayed in the Visit Lake City office all during the event. See their creative process April 24-25 and then bid on your favorite piece at the silent auction the rest of the week.
Public art projects – A brand new aspect of ArtFields allows multiple public art projects to occur each year. Five projects were selected from submitted proposals to install around Lake City. These projects all bring awareness to current events through the creativity of art. On display until ArtFields 2022, these public art installations join an ever growing permanent collection of downtown artwork.
New this year will also be the option for virtual field trips.
Burns said the decision was made to hold the event even with COVID because the nature of this event allowed for social distancing well before it was a necessity.
“With artwork spread out in so many venues around town, it’s easier to maintain space while viewing artwork that isn’t always available in traditional art settings,” she said. “By moving some of our events like the Makers Market and Artist Talks outside, we were further able to solidify a plan to keep distance in an open-air setting.”
Masks and sanitizer will be available at the artwork venues, and visitors are encouraged to practice social distancing.
Burns said visitors in town for ArtFields are encouraged to visit some of Lake City’s best eateries. Newly re-opened Treno and crowd-favorite Green Frog Social House will be serving throughout the week, in addition to old favorites like Piggybacks, Baker’s Sweets, Jarrito’s and Pizza Roma, she said.
After viewing art displayed for the competition, visitors are invited to make their way to Moore Farms Botanical Garden and enjoy the picturesque 65-acre landscape. All art present in the garden will be marked so attendees can learn more about the installations. The garden is awash in artful waves of tulips, lilies and annual displays that will take your breath away, Burns said. Visitors can either roam for free or register for a $5 tour at moorefarmsbg.org.
The Lake City Park is another tranquil escape that’s just a short walk away from downtown, she said. Visitors to ArtFields can enjoy an eight-plus acre lake featuring a flowing fountain, surrounded by a boardwalk and walking trail. For those who wish to sit and relax, benches and swings dot the landscape, along with a gazebo over the water providing a place to enjoy the view of the trees, wildlife and flowering plants.
The genesis of ArtFields is contained within the name and the town’s rich history of cultivating strawberries, beans and other staples of South Carolina’s agriculture, Burns said.
“ArtFields means so much to Lake City, as Lake City means so much to us. Because we display the art in local businesses, ArtFields really is a mutual celebration of both art and community,” Burns said. “We are proud to be able to host this event and have it help support the town.
“Having the event this year means not only a celebration of incredible artwork but also a chance to show off the wonderful businesses that are in Lake City as well as our small-town Southern hospitality. We are so excited to be offering ArtFields 2021! With hundreds of artworks, specialty events, and the ability to impact the competition with your votes, these 9nine days are ones you won’t want to miss.”
ArtFields was founded in 2013. Burns said the goal was to honor Southeastern artists while revitalizing a small town. Eight years later, ArtFields has done just that as people flock to see the artwork each year, she said.