LAKE CITY, SC (WMBF) - Artfields may still be about three and a half weeks away, but now is crunch time for the people in Lake City putting together the major art display and competition.
Over the next two weeks, art installation teams will hang up or secure down the 400 pieces of art ranging from paintings and photography to sculptures and 3-D displays.
Artist submissions increased 35% compared to years past, so the organization had more than 1,000 pieces of art to choose from.
Starting the installation process a few weeks out allows the artists from all over the Southeast to come to Lake City to set their artwork up themselves.
"We're putting in the artwork earlier because people start coming earlier," said Ray McBride, executive director of the Community Museum of Lake City, which is running Artfields this year. "A lot of our artists have already been here, have visited, want to see where their art is going to be."
There are 35 venues where visitors will be able to find the artwork this year, including small businesses along Main Street, which have also already started receiving the pieces they picked out to display. Some businesses benefit from the foot traffic even after the event is over.
"It's been very good for our business," said Larry Hawkins, owner of Lake City Mattress Outlet. "It's brought a lot of people into town that didn't know we were here previously."
Artfields is the reason Lake City has its own boutique hotel now, said Kerri Robertson, general manager of The Inn at the Crossroads. The hotel opened last November and will be accommodating some of the 20,000+ visitors.
"There was not a place for them to stay here in Lake City, so that's why they decided to open the hotel," Robertson said.
Artfields will be the first time the hotel will have no vacancies in its 57 rooms.
"90 percent occupied for opening weekend, soon to be 100 percent," Robertson said. "We are filling up quickly during the week and for May 2, we are 100 percent occupied."
Artfields will be April 24-May 2.