As spring approaches, there’s no doubt you have wanderlust on the mind. This is the season for renewal after all, and visual art can play a major role in refreshing the mind and the soul. To that end, we’d like to put the nine-day art competition that is ArtFields on your travel radar — and hopefully your travel itinerary.
ArtFields will take over Lake City, which is described as a quintessential southern small town in eastern South Carolina, from April 21st through 29th. This is the fifth year for the art competition, but the stakes are higher than ever with $120,000 in cash prizes up for grabs. Artists from 12 southeastern states, with dozens hailing from the cities of Charlotte and Atlanta, have been invited to compete and have their works judged by art professionals.
The event will transform historic downtown Lake City into a town-wide art gallery, with many events catering to spectators, who also have the opportunity to vote for their favorite works in the People’s Choice Awards. There will be approximately 400 works of art featured in more than 40 cafes, art galleries, and other venues.
ArtFields has recently received the following accolades: The Southeast Tourism Society Award 2017 and the Charles A. Bundy Award, which is given to the attraction, destination, or development that helps rural communities reach their tourism potential.
Here are the events that you’ll definitely want to experience while celebrating ArtFields:
- Getting to know the artists from these diverse locales is an important aspect of the competition. One feature is the new Salon Conversations, dialogue between established artists discussing various topics within the art industry today. Returning for a second year is Lunchtime Crunchtime, featuring 40 competition artists speaking about their craft for three minutes apiece. Both “networking” events take place in the Bean Market just across from the Village Green.
- ArtFields is taking it to the street this year, by combining area college and university students’ talents with a universally beloved pastime: miniature golf. Collegiate artists will create putt-putt holes throughout downtown Lake City. These fun, inventive, and functional works of art will mirror the imaginative themes found in a number of the festival’s featured venues, and attendees can play through at their leisure.
- Attendees can do more than look, they can also create. Artist instructors will lead hands-on arts and crafts stations as part of the ArtMakers program on April 29, from 1 p.m. – 4 p.m.
- Visitors can peruse the artisan handmade goods and explore downtown at the Makers Market; once a one-day affair, the market will be extended to two days this year in response to demand.
- ArtWalks also engage, allowing attendees to choose either docent-led educational strolls through competition venues or opting for self-guided experiences.
- Live music will be performed throughout the district at various times during the nine-day festival, and at the Village Green on weekend evenings.
- On April 27th, experience a culinary and musical experience like no other — the Dandelion Gala. Enjoy food created by Chef Tasha Mac, the season 13 winner of the Fox reality show Hell’s Kitchen. Guests are encouraged to dress in all white to transform the room into a field of flowing dandelion buds while listening and dancing to the music of violinist Daniel D.
- April 29th is finale night. Come out and celebrate the 2017 Competition Artists and the winners. The night will be filled with good food, “Air Art,” and the Gulf Coast soul (live musical performance) of The Suffers from Houston, Texas.
- Be on the lookout for tickets to additional festival events.
Here’s where you should stay during your spring renewal brought on by ArtFields and its talented artists:
- The Inn at The Crossroads (128 West Main St.)
- Lake City Inn (202 N. Ron McNair Blvd.)
- Days Inn (170 South Ron McNair Blvd.)
- Olive’s Bed & Breakfast (1316 Dennis Rd.)
- Security Inn & Suites (319 Sumter St.)
- Lynches River County Park Cabins (5094 County Park Rd.)
The time to book is now because rooms will fill up quickly. However, Lake City is positioned rather close to other cities in South Carolina: Florence (24 miles away), Myrtle Beach (61 miles away), Columbia (80 miles away), and Charleston (89 miles away).