More venues, new artists at this years Lake City ArtFields festival

More venues, new artists at this years Lake City ArtFields festival
Over 400 artists will be at this year's ArtFields competition (Source: WMBF News)

LAKE CITY, SC (WMBF) - The Sixth Annual ArtFields competition starts Friday in Lake City and organizers say this year it's bigger and better.

Over 400 artists from across the Southeast will showcase their artwork around downtown Lake City. Although the art competition is nine days, ArtFields' educational manager, Carla Angus, said planning for this festival is a year-round endeavor.

"We have so many new things going on and so many new artists coming into town. We're very excited," Angus said.

There will be over 40 venues showcasing artwork, including a brand new venue, the TRAX Visual Art Center, which will be used all throughout the year.

"It's one of the largest in South Carolina, so these artists that are placed in here are a part of the competition and they'll be the first artists displayed in this center," Angus said.

Planning for the massive festival starts as soon as the previous year's event ends, with submissions for artwork opening in September. This year, the event saw its second-highest number of entries, with more than 900 submissions.

Angus said with a team of only five or six people, the annual festival would not be possible without volunteers.

"We have so many people that take time out and come and make this event happen, so we have over 175 volunteers come and assist us in making it work," Angus said.

Along with the growth of the annual contest comes the growth of the community. Angus said there are over 20,000 people that come through the town of around 6,500 residents.

Past ArtFields winner Brittany Watkins came from Tallahassee, Fla. She said she entered the competition for the first time last year mainly as a way to earn some income, as well as getting more exposure for her work.

"It offers you the chance to network with other artists that aren't necessarily local to your area, but also it gives you a certain level of exposure. So artists who might be emerging or for artists who might be working hard in an area and it's harder for them to get out there, it can give them more exposure in that way," Watkins said.

The festival runs from April 20 through April 28.

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