ArtFields Competition Doles Out $120,000 to Southern Artists

Alexi Torres, Spiritual Security - Safe in Prayer
Alexi Torres’s painting Spiritual Security – Safe in Prayer, won the top prize.

A little-known art competition in an obscure South Carolina town has a big payoff for the Southern artists who vie for a total of $120,000 in cash prizes. The ArtFields competition in Lake City, South Carolina, is open to artists from 12 Southern states who install one artwork in venues throughout the town — clothing shops, bathroom fixture stores, restaurants, art galleries, businesses, outdoor plazas, and more — turning it into something of a treasure hunt.

The competition was founded and initially funded by Lake City native Darla Moore, president of the private investment firm Rainwater, with the mission to revitalize the town. This year, some 400 artists submitted and displayed work and an estimated 22,000 visitors came to see. The top four winning works become part of the collection of Lake City, where they are displayed throughout the town. 

Brittany Watkins installation at ArtFields
The Juried Prize went to Brittany Watkins for her untitled installation comprising video, performance, unfired earthenware, musical composition, sculpture, and paint.

This year’s judges were Gibbes Museum of Art director and chief curator Angela Mack, Second Street Gallery curator Tosha Grantham, writer and BURNAWAY contributor Sara Estes, Kohler ARts Center curator Karen Paterson, and Nasher Museum of Art at Duke curator Marshall N. Price.

And the winners are:

Atlanta artist Alexi Torres scored the big daddy prize of $50,000 for his work Spiritual Security – Safe in Prayer.  Brittany Watkins of Tallahassee won the $25,000 Juried Panel Prized for <Accept_[Self]+ Elsewhere]. Lexington’s Michael Geddings won the $12,500 People’s Choice Prize (2D), and Haley Art of Pamplico, South Carolina won the $12,500 People’s Choice (3D) Prize.

Michael Geddings, Hopeful Soul
Michael Geddings, Hopeful Soul, acrylic on canvas, 43 by 33 inches.

Other artists were recognized with $1,500 prizes for outstanding work in their medium:

Mixed Media: Connie Lippert, Seneca, SC,

Painting: Maggie Evans, Savannah, GA, “Plateau”

Installation: Gardner Cole Miller, Palm Beach Garden, FL, “Archipelago”

Sculpture: Heather Mae Erickson, Sylva, NC, “Perfect Imperfection Collection”

Drawing: Jessica Burke, Statesboro, GA, “San Antonio Rose (The Bandit Queen)”

Photography: Brant Barrett, Surfside Beach, SC, “Rooster Time”

Digital Media: Matt Bryant, Vance, AL, “Shift.smear”

Merit Prizes of $1,000 each went to Deighton Abrams, Seneca, SC; Natalie Daise, Georgetown, SC; Kendell Garner, Anderson, SC; Lisa Humphreys, Atlanta, GA; Dapper Bruce Lafitte, New Orleans, LA: Kelly Oakes, Charlottesville, VA; Kate Osmond, Murrells Inlet, SC; Bow Smith, Charleston, SC; Janet Swigler, Columbia, SC, and Joseph Walton, New Orleans.

Haley Art, Made Up
Haley Ard, Made Up, cosmetics, 60 by 48 by 6 inches.
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