ARTFIELDS HONORS OUR AMERICAN HERITAGE AND THE TALENTS AND CHARACTER OF THE SOUTH

by leslierankowfinearts

BeforeIDie

THE INAUGURAL ARTFIELDS FESTIVAL HAS ALREADY HAD AN ENORMOUS AND FAR-REACHING  EFFECT ON THE ECONOMIC AND ARTISTIC PRESENCE OF THE HISTORICAL SOUTH CAROLINA TOWN OF LAKE CITY. THIS FALL,  THE SMITHSONIAN INSTITUTION TRAVELING EXHIBITION: WILLIAM H. JOHNSON: AN AMERICAN MODERN, INCLUDES THE VENUE OF LAKE CITY FROM SEPTEMBER 21 THROUGH DECEMBER 29th IN ITS TOUR. THE EXHIBIT WILL FEATURE RARE WORKS FROM THE SEMINAL  COLLECTION OF THE JAMES E. LEWIS MUSEUM.

PAINTER WILLIAM H. JOHNSON  (1901-1970) IS A HIGHLY RESPECTED AFRICAN AMERICAN ARTIST AND WAS A  NATIVE OF NEARBY FLORENCE, SOUTH CAROLINA.   HE  PRODUCED A SIGNIFICANT BODY OF WORK THAT SPANNED SEVERAL DECADES AND CONTINENTS. DURING THE 1920s AND 30s, HE MADE SEVERAL MOVES BETWEEN AMERICA AND EUROPE BEFORE SETTLING IN NEW YORK IN 1938.  AS DID  JACOB LAWRENCE AND ROMARE BEARDEN, JOHNSON EXPLORED THE BLACK EXPERIENCE, REFLECTING THE PULSE AND SUBJECT MATTER OF BOTH  HIS SOUTHERN CHILDHOOD AND HARLEM’S  URBAN AMBIENCE.  RECENTLY , HIS WORK HAS BEGUN TO RECEIVE THE ATTENTION IT DESERVES. THE INCLUSION OF  LAKE CITY, S.C.  AS AN EXHIBITION VENUE CERTAINLY UNDERSCORES THE BENEFITS THAT ARTFIELDS HAS ALREADY BROUGHT TO THIS RURAL, AGRICULTURAL COMMUNITY.  A NEW LECTURE SERIES HAS BEEN LAUNCHED  AT THE ARTFIELDS GALLERY IN CONJUNCTION WIT THE SHOW  THAT EXPLORES  THE ARTIST’S HISTORY AND WORK . IN THIS WAY, ARTFIELDS WILL ADD YET ANOTHER DIMENSION OF ART APPRECIATION AND EDUCATION TO THE COMMUNITY AND ITS VISITORS.

Jitterbugs

TODAY, WE WILL HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO SPEAK WITH ROB BOCKMAN, JR. OF ARTFIELDS AND THE LAKE CITY PARTNERSHIP COUNCIL ON ADDITIONAL ASPECTS OF THE INAUGURAL FESTIVAL AND OF THE FORTHCOMING ONE OPENING NEXT APRIL. I ANTICIPATE AN  EVEN BETTER ATTENDED,  ORGANIZED AND INSPIRED EVENT, INCORPORATING THE BEST ELEMENTS OF LAST YEAR’S  ART FEST  WHILE ADDING NEW AND EXCITING  IDEAS TO  THE ORIGINAL CONCEPT.  http://www.artfieldssc.org/

ROB, THANK YOU FOR TAKING THE TIME TO PARTICIPATE IN THE LRFA BLOG.

THERE WAS AN IMPRESSIVE ROSTER OF SPONSORS FOR AN EVENT THAT HAD ITS FIRST LAUNCH THIS YEAR. HOW WAS THE CORPORATE SPONSORSHIP ACHIEVED  AND WHAT WERE THE GOALS OF THE SPONSORS WHO SUPPORTED THE EVENT? 

ArtFields is all about the community, about the artistic and economic development of a historic town that is searching for new relevance and growth; our sponsors of ArtFields have the same goals that we do, and were generous in their contributions to our program. Each sponsor, from our grand sponsor of IGA to our microentrepreneurs who wanted to give back to the community that fostered them, was vital to the success of ArtFields, and we cannot thank them enough for helping us to plan a truly epic Southern artfest.

ARTFIELDS ALSO INCLUDED OTHER WONDERFUL ATTRACTIONS SUCH AS LIVE MUSIC AND A FEAST OF SOUTHERN FOOD. WHAT WERE SOME OF THE HIGHLIGHTS OF THE FESTIVAL THAT WERE NOT ART-RELATED?

It is difficult to pick specific highlights out of the entire festival, as one of the most exciting aspects of ArtFields to me was the atmosphere, the sense of pride from our residents and surprise from the visitors, but we loved welcoming phenomenal events to Lake City, including the “How Great Thou Art Lavish Southern Tea” featuring our Community Gospel Choir, and our Farm to Fork dinner, which presented a professionally-prepared, locally-sourced menu to our guests. There were so many events taking place in Lake City worthy of praise during ArtFields, from these community-focused dinners and concerts, to ArtFields, Jr., the offshoot of ArtFields that encouraged artistic development in Florence School District Three students. We transformed a small Southern town for ten days, we got a chance to show off the hometown of which I’m so proud, and to me, that is the true highlight. But you noted the live music and the Southern hospitality, and that too, is a highlight—the broad base of experiences and events that we brought to Lake City, from the world-class music to the ArtFields merchandise and local cuisine. It reflects the diversity of our community through the diversity of our art, and I couldn’t be more proud. 

TheatreParkLC

VIDEO ART—ANOTHER INNOVATIVE ART FORM- WAS AN IMPORTANT EXHIBITION CATEGORY DURING THE ART FESTIVAL.  HOW WERE THE VIDEOS SELECTED AND WHAT ARTISTS DID THEY REPRESENT? WHAT WERE SOME OF THE HIGHLIGHTS OF THE VIDEO FILMS THAT WERE SHOWN? WHAT WAS THE PERCENTAGE OF VIDEO ARTISTS VS. SCULPTORS, PAINTERS, AND PHOTOGRAPHERS?

The Mini Cine, a converted shipping container that featured a movie screen and projector, was the project of a Charleston-based producer and editor, Justin Nathanson. The videos shown were not ArtFields entrants; rather, they provided a look into the artistic process through documentaries and narratives that incorporated the visions of over one hundred artists. Justin Nathanson curated the videos, which were drawn from varied backgrounds, from avant-garde entrants into film festivals to microdocumentaries about street art.

AN EXTRAORDINARY MURAL WAS CONCEIVED AND REALIZED DURING THE ARTFIELDS CELEBRATION. WHO WORKED ON THE MURAL? WILL IT BE A PERMANENT INSTALLATION IN LAKE CITY?

The community mural, which depicts a train steaming its way through fields of flowers and crops and will be visible year-round right by the old train depot, was overseen and produced by two Southeastern artists, Jessica Diaz and Sam Ogden, but also featured painting directly from the community. Anyone was welcome to stop by and paint flowers, touch up the train, or just ask the artists about the process of painting. In many ways, the community mural emblemizes ArtFields—the collaboration between citizens and artists, the expression of art through cooperation, and the use of historic architecture to underline our cultural development are all aspects of the vision of ArtFields. 

MY ENORMOUS THANKS TO DARLA  MOORE. HER VISION AND PERSEVERANCE  HAVE PRODUCED SIGNIFICANT   EDUCATIONAL, ECONOMIC AND ECOLOGICAL ADVANCES NOT ONLY TO  HER BELOVED  HOME TOWN OF LAKE CITY BUT ALSO TO THE ENTIRE  STATE OF SOUTH CAROLINA AND TO ALL THOSE SHE HELPS AND ENCOURAGES.

IN OUR NEXT POSTING, I HAVE THE PLEASURE AND PRIVILEGE OF SPEAKING WITH JAMES REINISH AND ANN YAFFE   PHILLIPS.  NEW YORK GALLERY, JAMES REINISH & ASSOCIATES, SPECIALIZES IN BOTH AMERICAN AND EUROPEAN PAINTING, SCULPTURE AND WORKS ON PAPER BETWEEN 1850 AND THE PRESENT WITH A PRIMARY FOCUS ON MODERNISM. JIM AND ANN BRING TOGETHER  DISTINGUISHED AND DIVERSE PROFESSIONAL BACKGROUNDS AND EXPERIENCE IN THE ART WORLD AND WILL SHARE  BOTH THEIR EXPERTISE, GREAT GOOD HUMOR AND INSIGHT WITH US.

IF YOU HAVE QUESTIONS, THEY ARE AN EXCELLENT RESOURCE FOR ANSWERS! BOTH ENTHUSIASTIC AND DEEPLY COMMITTED TO THEIR BUSINESS AND JOINED BY A GREAT LOVE OF THE ART OF THIS PERIOD,  I KNOW THEY WILL WELCOME ANY COMMENTS  YOU  HAVE.

MORE SHORTLY!