Smithsonian exhibit featuring Florence artist comes to Lake City - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Smithsonian exhibit featuring Florence artist comes to Lake City

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FLORENCE, SC (WMBF) - The Smithsonian is bringing a $24 million art exhibit to the area for the first time. It's going to be on display in Lake City.

"For us to be able to bring this…I mean come on!" said Hannah Davis.

Months of renovations, consultations and hundreds of thousands of dollars have paved the way for the art exhibit now showing in Lake City.

This building was part of the old Bean Factory, but recent renovations have readied it to house some rare and renowned artwork.

"This artwork has to be kept at a constant 70 degrees 50 percent humidity, 24 hours a day, seven days a week," said Davis.

The Lake City Partnership Council divvied out more than $200,000 to add numerous security cameras, new sprinklers and fire alarms to the building. They'll protect that Smithsonian exhibit, which features artwork from a man who once called the Pee Dee Home.

"A Florence county native-born, an American genius: William H Johnson," said Marquette Folley. "It is absolutely wonderful to see his art here with his people."

Johnson lived in our community more than 50 years ago. At that time his work was not appreciated because of racial barriers, but now it's a nationwide exhibit for the Smithsonian.

"Communities that have done this other places have really a tremendous impact for the entire surrounding area," said Ken May.

An art critic from around the state says an event like this is not only good for stimulating our local economy, but also presents an opportunity for other artists.

"It's been an opportunity for a lot of other artist to show their work and receive recognition and it's putting this town and state on the map," said May.

The exhibit officially opens tomorrow for the public and will be on display until December 29. The exhibit is open to the public for free every day.

The gallery's regular hours are Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. The gallery is open to the public beginning Saturday, September 21 at 10 a.m., and will be open until 9 p.m.

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