ArtFields, the annual art competition and exhibition in Lake City, S.C., organized by the Lake City Creative Alliance (LCCA), closed its sixth edition on Saturday, April 28th after nine days of exhibitions, competitions, and town events for all ages. Transformed into an art mecca, the town welcomed over 20,000 attendees and exhibited works from more than 400 artists in 40 venues throughout the downtown area, ultimately awarding a total of $120,000 to a selection of Southeastern artists.
On Saturday, April 28th, the prizes were awarded with the Grand Prize of $50,000 given to Michaela Pilar Brown for her elaborate installation work She’s Almost Ready. The Second Place Prize of $25,000 went to Kristi Ryba for her installation and series of paintings Chapel of Perpetual Adoration. The People’s Choice Awards, chosen by visitors at ArtFields through the ‘text to vote’ system, were awarded to Colin Quashiefor the People’s Choice 2-D and Victoria Hagner for People’s Choice 3-D at $12,500 each.
In addition, eight $1,500 Category Prizes and ten $1,000 Merit Prizes, the latter sponsored by The Citizens Bank, were handed out throughout the ceremony. The Category winners were Janet Kozachek, Jim Creal, Tyrone Geter, Brant Barrett, Bryan Rapp, Chalet Comellas, Maggie Evans and Kevin Spaulding. Merit awards went to Katie Beall, Allen Coles, Peter Lenzo, Colin Quashi, the collective of Thomas Schmidt, Jeferson Ellinger and Paul Stockhoff, Judy Shreve, SmithTownsend Collaborative, Tom Stanley, Laura Spong and Ross Turner. The ArtFields Jr. competition winners included Peter Disciple Jones, Jayson Dong, Naomi Atken and Charles Hyman, who in total split $1,600 based on their respective age brackets.
During the Champagne Toast for participating artists prior to the award ceremony, a euphoric ArtFields Founder Darla Moore, took the stage to urge everyone to vote for Lake City in USA Today’s current Best Small Town Cultural Scene contest and thank the artists. Moore stated, “The event is only as good as your participation. This year, ArtFields made a huge leap forward with the quality of the artwork presented and the enormous crowds that came to Lake City to see the art and participate in the many programs surrounding ArtFields.” The award ceremony night culminated in a dance party on Lake City’s central Village Green and a brilliant firework display that lit up the town.
Due to the competition’s continued success and to mark the sixth edition, ArtFields and Lake City Creative Alliance unveiled two new permanent art venues that join the Smithsonian-certified Jones-Carter Gallery. The new TRAX Visual Art Center, which will be known as TRAXvac, is the largest art center in South Carolina at 5,000-square-feet. The space features two professional gallery spaces, and an adjoining sculpture garden is planned for the near future. The second permanent space, AFO Gallery, was developed from the ArtFields storefront office, and will feature an exhibition of ArtFields award winners of the past six years for its first exhibition. The addition of these two spaces allow ongoing and simultaneous exhibitions to be held in the town for the first time. A fourth art venue is currently in the planning stage. The new art spaces will enable Lake City to become a year-round art destination.
The ColorMe ArtFields 5K Color Run & Walk and The Portrait Contest, where artists created portraits of local first responders, were also held at ArtFields. At the ColorMe Run & Walk, Anna Todd took first place for women and Burns Gaskins, for men. The $1,000 “Best in Show” prize at The Portrait Contest was awarded to Mary Hoffman.
ArtFields is the recipient of the 2017 Southeast Tourism Society Award and The Charles A. Bundy Award. ArtFields began in 2013 with a simple goal: honor the artists of the Southeast with a week’s worth of celebration and competition in the heart of a traditional Southern small town. More than $120,000 in total cash prizes are awarded to artists in all media who live in the 12 eligible Southeastern states. A panel of judges comprised of acclaimed visual arts professionals selects most prize winners, while visitors vote for two People’s Choice awards. Approximately 400 pieces are displayed in locally owned venues, from renovated warehouses from the 1920’s to a Smithsonian-qualified art gallery to upscale restaurants and start-up boutiques, in a mutual celebration of art and community.What was once one of South Carolina’s most prosperous agricultural communities has now become a living art gallery as it demonstrates the best of the Southeast and recognizes the incredible talent here.
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