The Village Green in Lake City filled with artists, families, and visitors from across the Southeast – and beyond – Saturday night and waited expectantly to hear who would take home prizes in the region’s largest art competition.
Around 400 artists were competing for the $110,000 in prizes and just one got to go home today with a $50,000 Top Prize: Charles Anderson of New Orleans whose “Central City” was housed in Joe’s Barber Shop.
Anderson said he doesn’t have any specific plans for the money yet but will use it not only to forward his own artistic career but also to give back the community that is the inspiration and subject matter of his works as well as Gregory – also known as Baby G – whose arresting expression was captured by Anderson in charcoal and graphite and has hung in Joe’s Barber Shop for the duration of the competition.
“I was really amazed by the competition; I was really amazed by Joe’s Barber,” he said. “It was all so professional and you really don’t see this level of professionalism in just everything. From the booklets, to when I call people answer, … The whole experience is just beautiful and really rejuvenating.”
Though Anderson hadn’t figured out what he would do with the prize money should he win, he does know that – like ArtFields – he wants it to be a part of his community and knows he wants to give part of his prize money to an organization called “Cease Fire” that he helped create to help stop violence in New Orleans.
Anderson said he decided to enter ArtFields after finding out about the event through the online site Craigslist. Like many in the inaugural years of the competition, he at first thought the prize amounts were a mistake.
“You don’t hear of art prizes being $50,000; It’s $1,000 and a residency for five weeks,” said Anderson.
Anderson said attending the competition was done on a whim and he has been astounded by the ArtFields experience – including the hospitality of the area, the organization of the competition and the quality of the artwork he was competing against.
“I am amazed. The work is phenomenal,” said Anderson who added that he has left many art shows angry because the work showed so little heart. “Here, I love about 95 percent of what is here. It’s just outstanding.
Entitled “Central City” after the area in which Anderson worked for several years, the piece will now find a permanent home in Lake City as an ArtFields piece.
Also remaining in Lake City will be the work that won the $25,000 winning Juried Prize, which was awarded to Bretta Staley for “Third Heaven”
Works from previous winners are currently housed in the Inn at the Crossroads and the ArtFields Gallery – no word yet on just where “Central City” or “Third Heaven” will be displayed.
Charles Anderson for Central City
Bretta Staley for Third Heaven
PEOPLE’S CHOICE (2-D)
Melissa Askins for Sisters Under a Canopy of Oaks
PEOPLE’S CHOICE (3-D)
Mike and Patz Fowle for Consume
HONORABLE MENTIONS, with special consideration provided by The Citizens Bank:
Townsend Davidson (Charleston, S.C.) (Supercritical Flow)
Kate McNeil (Charleston, S.C.) (Inference)
Susie Ganch (Bale: Diptych)
Matt Bryant (Ana10G0US)
Aron Belka (To Market, To Market)
Mary Gilkerson (Columbia, S.C.) (Minervaville, 100 Views)
Brant Barrett (Surfside Beach, S.C. ) (Murphy Island Youth Hunt, 2013)
Loren Schwerd (Peak)
Robert Logrippo (Villa Cannery)
Stacey Davidson (Rock Hill, S.C.) (Lake Norman)
Tyrone Geter, one of the four judges who determined the winners, said the hardest thing about judging the works was “trying to be fair.”
“Also, everything here is elevated. It’s just one of those unique things with the people involved in it…people are just starting to really get into it,” said Geter who said the Lake City community – the volunteers and venues – have really embraced the artwork as their own.
“It’s just such a wonderful plan.”
Geter said he expected the quality of art to continue growing in future years.
“You’re really going to get top-flight artists competing in this event,” said Geter. “Because it’s not just the money; it’s that you just get treated so darn good and the city is so relaxing.”
Judges for the Juried Prize and Top Prize were:
- Chad Alligood – curator of Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas, and a former Cranbrook Art Museum curator who recently researched the State of the Art show developed from visits to 1,000 art studios in 80 cities and small towns.
- Tyrone Geter – a painter who has exhibited worldwide, a professor of art at Benedict College, and an art gallery curator.
- Jay Heuman, an art museum educator and curator at the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston where he works collaboratively to organize more than 120 public programs a year.
- Cecilia Stucker – the founder of Curating & Collections, a curatorial consultancy to private and corporate collectors, who splits her time between New York City, Los Angeles and Paris.