Airport, please! Artfields, a town in South Carolina, transformed into a cultural destination, reopens after the pandemic
We believe art is a field that endures—through flourish and fallow. …Artfields
Spring has finally arrived. A time of regeneration. And there is nothing that represents the symbol of regeneration more than the town of Lake City, South Carolina. Today, the LRFA blog travels to a small town in South Carolina, by plane to Florence, SC and then 20 minutes by car, for an overwhelmingly engaging experience: ARTFIELDS: 2021, April 23-May 1st.
The town itself, every shop, restaurant, The Inn at the Crossroads, the Library, the McNair Space Center, as well as three large gallery exhibition spaces established since Artfields was founded, is transformed into both indoor and outside spaces that display art, installation, video, sculpture, painting, photography, murals, and craft.
Conceived and founded by visionary investor and philanthropist, Darla Moore, Artfields started in 2013 with a simple goal: to honor the artists of the 12 Southeastern states launching a phenomenal annual art competition and festival to transform her once small, poor rural hometown into a thriving cultural destination. Passionate about the state of South Carolina and its rich legacy, Darla founded the Moore School of Business in its capital, Columbia, to further her commitment to education, in 2019 she endowed the Continuum, a 46,000 square foot center for tech education and workforce development in Lake City.
She founded and chairs the Palmetto Institute, a nonprofit think tank aimed at bolstering per capita income in South Carolina. She is the founder and chair of The Charleston Parks Conservancy, a foundation focused on enhancing the parks and public spaces of the City of Charleston, to highlight just a few of the commitments she has made to support and transform her beloved hometown and state.
The competition and exhibition offers over $100,000 in cash prizes. The winners of two People’s Choice Awards are determined by the votes of people visiting ArtFields; a panel of art professionals selects all the other awards, including the $50,000 Grand Prize and $25,000 Second Place award. Winners of the competition have had life-altering opportunities to engage in inspiring foreign travel, to exhibit in other venues and to develop their potential as professional artists.
Up to 400 works of art are on display in locally-owned venues, from renovated 1920s warehouses and professional art spaces such as Jones-Carter Gallery and TRAX Visual Art Center to the library, the history museum, the Ronald E. McNair Life History Center, restaurants, boutiques and other shops. During ArtFields, Lake City, once one of South Carolina’s most prosperous agricultural communities, becomes a living art gallery as they recognize, celebrate and share the artistic talent of the Southeast.
As a visible way to show the power of art to revitalize and invigorate, the ArtFields Collective commissions artworks each year to enhance overlooked corners of the town. The Collective has commissioned over 9 murals and sculptures and an additional 9 artworks have been commissioned and contributed by other involved donors.
The ArtFields Collective is living, breathing proof of the power of art, a reminder that its beauty and soul and energy live within each of us—even in the harshest of seasons. In these divided and divisive times, Lake City’s Artfields has integrated its black and white, young and old, residents into a united, engaged community, working together to choose artworks, to welcome visitors and school groups to exhibitions and cultural events throughout the year and to enjoy the rewards of living in the thriving town of Lake City.
Make ARTFIELDS a destination during the festival or at any time of the year. It is truly an enlightening, moving (and fun!) experience.
Have a look at a huge selection of talent in this year’s competition!