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The South's Most Engaging Art Competition and Festival

ArtFields started 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. The competition and exhibition offers over $100,000 in cash prizes. The winners of two People’s Choice Awards are determined by the votes of people visiting ArtFields; a panel of art professionals selects the $50,000 Grand Prize and $25,000 Second Place award.

Up to 400 works of art will be on display in locally-owned venues, from renovated 1920s warehouses and professional art spaces such as Jones-Carter Gallery and TRAX Visual Art Center to the library, the history museum, the Ronald E. McNair Life History Center, restaurants, boutiques and other shops. During ArtFields, what was once one of South Carolina’s most prosperous agricultural communities becomes a living art gallery as we recognize, celebrate and share the artistic talent of the Southeast.

“Like a seed taking root, art found its way back to Lake City.”

What We Believe

The fields of Lake City, South Carolina once flourished with vast acres of beans, lush strawberries, tall tobacco stalks. The town flourished too — bustling with energy and enterprise, creativity and art, music, theater, and kindness.

Reignite Lake City's Energy and Economy

When the market declined, as it did in thousands of small farming towns across the South — the town shifted. Fields went fallow; many moved on; businesses closed; neighbors who remained, hunkered down.

Until a native daughter enlisted the help of a passionate group of locals. Together they went door-to-door and store-to-store with a mission: to reignite Lake City's energy and economy — and to forever change the lives of Southern artists — through art.

Like a seed taking root, art found its way back to Lake City. Furniture stores and barbershops became galleries. Artists and art lovers made their way to Lake City to celebrate art, to reward its creation and creators, to honor its ability to transform an economy, a community, and the people who call it home.

ArtFields is living, breathing proof of the power of art. A reminder that its beauty and soul and energy live within each of us — even in the harshest of seasons.

We believe art is a field that endures — through flourish and fallow.



The Lake City area was originally part of Williamsburg Township and was settled first by Scotch-Irish immigrants.



Cheraw Road, which is now Church and Main Streets in Lake City, became a rest stop for travelers on the two roads and was called the crossroads at McCrea’s Inn.



The Northeastern Railroad began construction and built its main line through the Lake City area.



The town that would be Lake City had a population of 300 and was the leading strawberry market in South Carolina.



Lake City residents proposed the creation of a new county, to be known as Rutledge County, to include the area from Hemingway to Olanta and from Scranton to Cades, but the idea was voted down.



Lake City supported the largest bean market in the world.



While planning for ArtFields began in 2012, it officially launched in 2013 as a 10-day arts event, competition, and movement to use art to transform Lake City into a vibrant community and power its economy. In its inaugural year, ArtFields awarded $100,000 in cash prizes to Southern artists and welcomed 22,000 visitors to the Lake City area.



CNN's "50 States, 50 Spots" named ArtFields "South Carolina's Top Spot to See."



Artist submissions increased 35% over previous years, with a total of 1,061 artists submitting artwork. The two top art prizes also increased to $50,000 each. And, actor Bill Murray was in attendance!



A new addition to ArtFields, Lunchtime Crunchtime, featured 40 competition artists talking about their craft in a short, three-minute each format.



In February, ArtFields received the Charles A. Bundy Award from the South Carolina Governor's Conference on Tourism and Travel for its success in helping Lake City achieve their tourism potential.


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