ARTFIELDS, AN OPPORTUNITY FOR ARTISTS TO EXHIBIT AND SUPPORT THE CULTURAL IDENTITY OF THE SOUTHEAST

by leslierankowfinearts

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ARTFIELDS, LAUNCHED IN LAKE CITY, SOUTH CAROLINA, LAST APRIL, 2013, ATTRACTED ARTISTS FROM ACROSS THE SOUTHEAST SUBMITTING THEIR WORK FOR CONSIDERATION FOR DISPLAY  AND GENEROUS CASH  PRIZES DURING THE INAGUGURAL TEN-DAY ART AND CULTURE FESTIVAL. OF THE 775 SUBMISSIONS, MORE THAN HALF WERE INCLUDED IN THE FESTIVAL AND, BY INVITATION, MARVELOUS INSTALLATION WORKS AND MURALS CREATED A DYNAMIC FOCUS AND ENERGY THROUGHOUT THE TOWN  FOR ALL THE VISITORS TO ENJOY.  AS A NEW YORK DEALER FOCUSING ON ESTABLISHED ARTISTS IN BOTH THE PRIMARY AND SECONDARY MARKETS, ARTFIELDS PROVIDED ME WITH  A VALUABLE WAKE-UP CALL AND REMINDER THAT MANY SERIOUS AND DEDICATED CREATIVE PEOPLE, WITH A TRUE COMMITMENT TO THEIR CRAFT, EXIST OUTSIDE OF THE MAJOR METROPOLIS ART GALLERY, AUCTION AND ART FAIR WORLDS, WORKING AWAY, CHALLENGING THEMSELVES AND OTHERS WITH PERSONAL AND PROVOCATIVE VISUAL STATEMENTS.  ARTFIELDS PROVIDES AN EXCEPTIONAL OPPORTUNITY, IN MY VIEW, FOR THESE VOICES TO BE HEARD.

THE NEXT ART FESTIVAL DATES HAVE RECENTLY BEEN ESTABLISHED: APRIL 25 – MAY 4, 2014, AND SUBMISSIONS ARE NOW BEING ACCEPTED. http://www.artfieldssc.org/artists/how-it-works/. A JURY OF ART PROFESSIONALS IS IN THE PROCESS OF BEING FINALIZED. IN A DISCUSSION WITH THE FOUNDER AND CREATOR OF ARTFIELDS, NATIVE LAKE CITY RESIDENT, DARLA MOORE, I HAD AN INSIDER’S VIEW AS TO THE DEDICATION AND DISCERNMENT OF THE TEAM THAT WORKS TO MAKE ARTFIELDS A SUCCESS. TAKING PRINCIPLES FROM BUSINESS, ARTFIELDS WILL KEEP THE SYSTEMS THAT WORKED VERY WELL DURING ITS INITIAL LAUNCH AND REFINE AND ADAPT  NEW IDEAS AND CONSIDERATIONS TO MAKE THIS YEAR’S FESTIVAL EVEN BETTER.

TO CONTINUE OUR EXPLORATION OF THE SCALE AND SCOPE OF ARTFIELDS, AND ITS IMMEDIATE AND FAR-REACHING BENEFITS TO THE SOUTH CAROLINA HISTORICAL TOWN OF LAKE, CITY, ROB BOCKMAN, JR., COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR OF ARTFIELDS, AND MEMBER OF THE LAKE CITY PARTNERSHIP COUNCIL, WILL CONTINUE HIS CONTRIBUTION TO THE BLOG.

ROB, THANK YOU FOR YOUR PARTICIPATION AND TIME. HOW WERE THE ARTWORKS SELECTED? HOW MANY ARTISTS SENT WORK IN PROPORTION TO THE NUMBER THAT WERE SELECTED?

Out of the original 775 artworks submitted by artists across the Southeast, 400 made the cut for ArtFields qualification, as determined by a jury of art gallery owners,

educators, and art historians.  

THE ART INSTALLATIONS WERE PARTICULARLY COMPELLING AND SOPHISTICATED. HOW DID YOU SEEK OUT INSTALLATION ARTISTS, OR DID THEY COME TO YOU? LAKE CITY WAS TRULY TRANSFORMED BY THESE ARTWORKS. WHAT WAS THE RESPONSE OF THE COMMUNITY?

Our installation artists were invited by the ArtFields team, as curated by the ArtFields advisory jury. Our artists this year included Herb Parker, Jarod Charzewski, Jocelyn Châteauvert, and Jonathan Brilliant. We loved our installation pieces, and we loved the metainstallation they created—that is, the transformation you mentioned, the proof that this is what Lake City is: a community dedicated to cultivation, whether of crops or culture.

LAKE CITY RECEIVED AN ONSLAUGHT OF AN AMAZING AMOUNT OF VISITORS. HOW WERE THEY ACCOMMODATED IN TERMS OF LODGINGS AND SUCH PRACTICAL ASPECTS AS FOOD AND HOSPITALITY?

Lake City and Florence are lucky in their locations; our proximity to Charleston, Charlotte, Columbia, and Myrtle Beach ensures that we are always en route to a major metropolitan hub of the Carolinas and thus a brief day trip away from many tourist and residential markets. Over the course of ArtFields 2013, we were host to over 20,000 visitors from across the United States; our plans are for ArtFields 2014 to draw in even more and our plans for our hospitality profile are likewise ambitious. We have the Inn at the Crossroads, a 57-room boutique hotel, set to open next year, prior to the influx of ArtFields visitors, and have recently welcomed Table 118, our newest restaurant serving French-influenced Southern cuisine, to Main Street. Our plans over the next year include infrastructure repairs for civic services, more restaurants and lodging, and the opening of upscale retail establishments. The economic impact of ArtFields was huge, and proves that there is a market for this sort of thing—the Southeast is hungry for culture, for economic development, and the Lake City Partnership Council hopes to better isolate how best to stimulate growth within South Carolina through community development

HOW FAR-REACHING WERE THE VISITORS? WERE THEY MOSTLY FROM LOCAL AND SURROUNDING AREAS, OR THE ENTIRE STATE OF SOUTH CAROLINA OR OTHER SOUTHEASTERN AREAS?

During ArtFields, we had visitors from as far away as Seattle, Washington and Santa Fe, New Mexico; however, the majority of our visitors came from the Southeast, from Georgia and Florida and, of course, from South Carolina. We were pleased to show off the charms of our community to visitors from different states, and hope they will return for ArtFields 2014 to see how the city has changed.

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 ARTFIELDS INCLUDED A WONDERFUL ART COMPETITION WITH A TOP PRIZE OF $50,000. THIS PRIZE WOULD TRULY TRANSFORM AN ARTIST’S LIFE, ABILITY TO BUY MATERIALS, EXPAND THEIR  AESTHETIC AMBITIONS, AND PERHAPS COMMIT FULL-TIME TO THEIR CRAFT. WHO WERE THE WINNERS OF THE PRIZES? WAS THERE A JURY TO EVALUATE ALL OF THE WORK THAT WAS SELECTED AND DISPLAYED?

One of the more unique aspects of ArtFields is its focus on individual input; while our jury determined the winners of the $25,000 Juried Prize, and their input was considered for the $50,000 Top Prize, the $25,000 People’s Choice prize was determined by public vote, directly through the ArtFields online profile. The prizes matched the variety of personal visions and backgrounds present in the competition; our Top Prize winner, James Arendt, from Conway, SC, won for his denim piece, “Jamie.” Our Juried Prize went to Leanna Knapp, for her fabric and clay piece “Shell;” Ms. Knapp is from Juliette, Georgia. Our People’s Choice Prize went to Columbia’s Kirkland Smith for her assemblage piece, “Steve Jobs.” We hope these artists use their prizes to further fund their artistic developments, and that they will submit to ArtFields 2014; we were lucky to be able to display such lovely works in Lake City for the duration of the festival.

ARTFIELDS  TRANSFORMED THE HISTORIC SOUTHERN TOWN OF LAKE CITY INTO A HUGE ART GALLERY, BOTH INDOOR AND OUT.  THAT WAS ONE OF MANY ATTRACTIONS THAT LAKE CITY PROVIDED ITS VISITORS DURING THE INAUGURAL ART FESTIVAL. THE FESTIVAL ALSO CELEBRATED OUR EXTRAORDINARY AMERICAN HISTORY IN GENERAL AND THE  CIVIC PRIDE AND PERSONALITY OF THIS EXCEPTIONAL COMMUNITY  IN PARTICULAR.

IN OUR NEXT BLOG, WE WILL LEARN  OF THE MANY  ADDITIONAL ATTRACTIONS AT ARTFIELDS, MUSIC, CINEMA, AND SOUTHERN FOOD TO NAME A FEW.

I  APPRECIATE ALL YOUR COMMENTS AND THANK YOU ALL FOR FOLLOWING THE BLOG!

UNTIL THEN….