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Smithsonian exhibition of S.C. native’s work now in Lake City

A new Smithsonian Institution exhibition featuring rare paintings by Florence, South Carolina, native William H. Johnson makes its only S.C. stop in Lake City at the Jones-Carter Gallery. William H. Johnson: An American Modern runs through Dec. 29. Read more about Johnson and how the gallery landed the exhibition in this article from SCNow:

More than 80 years after his first showing in the Pee Dee, artist and Florence native William H. Johnson is being remembered in style with a Smithsonian Institute traveling art exhibit of his work at the Jones-Carter Gallery in Lake City. The $24 million art installation will be on display at the gallery, a 1920s converted hay and seed store, through Dec. 29, and gallery manager Hannah Davis said she couldn’t be more thrilled to play host to the Smithsonian exhibit. “For us to be able to bring this,” Davis asked. “I mean, come on. It’s just been really great.” For the Lake City gallery, meeting the guidelines to host Johnson’s work was no small feat. In order to comply with the Smithsonian’s extensive requirements for display, Davis had to complete a 40-page application and submit temperature and humidity readings for the gallery for the last several months. But that wasn’t all. At a cost of $200,000, donated by the Lake City Partnership Council, the gallery had to complete updates to the building that had only just been renovated in preparation for ArtFields earlier in the year, installing both a fire suppression system and a backup generator that can run the entire building in case of an electrical outage. The effort was well worth the end result, according to Darla Moore with the Lake City Partnership Council. “He (Johnson) was an integral part of the Harlem Renaissance and early 20th century American art, and we believe he is also going to be an integral part of the renaissance of the Pee Dee area,” Moore said. “We’re especially excited that Lake City has the privilege of having this exhibition. When you look at other locations this exhibit has been, like Philadelphia and Phoenix, it’s truly heartwarming to have Lake City in that mix.” Sadly, Johnson, who is still growing in popularity around the world as a top African-American artist 43 years after his death, never lived to see his home state recognize his talent. The only time Johnson ever saw his paintings recognized in South Carolina was in 1930 at a three-hour art show held at the Florence YMCA. No work was sold. Not a very welcoming atmosphere for a hometown boy who was popularly received throughout the Northeast and Europe at the time, even earning a gold medallion from the Harmon Foundation in New York City for distinguished achievement among African-Americans in that same year. All that has changed now, however. This collection of Johnson’s work has traveled to five other locations around the nation, but for Smithsonian project director Marquette Folley, who works with the institute’s traveling exhibition service, bringing the artist back to the Pee Dee has been the most meaningful. “It is our pleasure to be here,” Folley said. “It’s (the exhibit) been to five other locations, and I do declare that I think Lake City is one of the most exquisite of all the installations. It is the rare moment when we can join hands nationally and regionally and speak the truth. This American artist, who understood the truth, who understood that the African American ideal is American, that from it you can carve truth and inspiration about our identity and our significance. The fact that this man was born here, in Florence, he was cutting edge.” The exhibit is open to the public through Dec. 29 at the Jones-Carter Gallery in Lake City with free admission.
Via: SCNow

Artfields resulted in $5 million impact

According to a study, Lake City's 10-day festival, ArtFields, resulted in a total economic impact of more than $5 million in the area.
LAKE CITY, S.C. — ArtFields, the 10-day art festival in April, had a total economic impact of more than $5 million on the area from visitors, construction jobs created and by event organizers and employees before and during the event. Columbia-based Miley & Associates Inc., commissioned by the Lake City Partnership Council, found an estimated 22,000 visitors visited the festival, spending an average of $33. The direct employment of ArtFields was 49 jobs with a labor income of $1.7 million, generated by employees of ArtFields, construction and service workers prior to and during the event and the impacts of visitor spending during the event, according to the study. The direct labor income had a multiplier effect in the area and generated an additional $636,000 in indirect and induced labor creating an additional 19 jobs for a total labor income of $2.33 million for the Lake City area. Total direct output (economic activity) generated by ArtFields on the Lake City area is estimated to be more than $3.5 million, with indirect and induced impacts generating another $1.8 million, for a total impact of $5.3 million. Darla Moore, chairman of the Lake City Community Foundation, backed the large festival in her hometown that brought nearly 400 art pieces to the community through a competition featuring $100,000 in prizes to spur growth and recognition of Southern art, both of which she said were accomplished. “The overwhelming positive responses we received about ArtFields told us we had succeeded in showcasing the creative talent we have in the South,” Moore said in a statement. “And now with the results of the impact study, we know we succeeded in providing a substantial economic boost for our community.” The downtown saw several buildings, infrastructure and spaces redeveloped significantly in preparation of the inaugural event and will again for next year. A new boutique hotel is planned to be open for ArtFields 2014. Director Karen Fowler added that ArtFields 2014, which will be April 25 to May 4, “will be an even greater success.” “ArtFields was truly a huge benefit to Lake City and to the art community,” Fowler said in a statement. “Due to the extraordinary effort put forth by the staff, volunteers and the City of Lake City, we demonstrated a small rural community could come together to successfully host a major art event for the benefit of not only the participating artists but for the community as well.” Many of the 40 downtown offices and shops saw sales rise as result, as expected, from hosting the art pieces that brought the crowds in from the sidewalks to shop’s like Clark Ward’s shoe shop Ward’s Comfort Shoes, helping spike sales 75 percent and even creating a few repeat customers. “I expected to do well but not to do that well,” Ward said. “Oh yes definitely (looking forward to next year).” Also as expected, surrounding areas like Florence saw hotel and restaurant revenue bumps thanks to the traffic. “This year, some of the spending by visitors most likely occurred outside of the Lake City area,” the report stated. “For example, there is a very limited number of hotel rooms available in Lake City and visitors’ spending on lodging had little if any impact on the Lake City area.”
Via: SCNow.com

ArtFields festival an “epic Southern artfest”

Your vote could mean a big reward for your favorite artist at Artfields, taking place in Lake City April 19-28. Offering the largest cash prize of any art contest in the Southeast, Artfields kicks off with a large collection of original artwork by artists from 12 Southeastern states, including South Carolina. The ArtFields Art Competition will award one Top Prize of $50,000, a People’s Choice prize of $25,000 and a Juried Panel prize of $25,000. Artfields attendees are encouraged to vote for their favorite artist and help determine who takes home the cash. The art work will be displayed throughout town in various venues, including restaurants and retail shops, giving visitors an art museum-like experience in a festival atmosphere. In addition to overflowing with artwork, the 10-day event will feature live music, dancing and delicious Southern foods. The Artfields website has all the info you'll need to plan your trip:

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Philanthropist Darla Moore endows $1 million for Claflin University Department of Music

Claflin University received a major gift from one of South Carolina’s most prominent philanthropists and business leaders when Darla Moore committed $1 million to the institution’s Department of Music. Two years ago, Moore stood in awe as she listened to the Claflin University Concert Choir perform at the opening of the Dr. Ronald McNair Life History Center in her home town of Lake City.  She was struck by the choir’s expansive repertoire, its high energy, and captivating musical presence. That performance and those that followed made a lasting impression on Moore, herself an accomplished musician. It also inspired an amicable relationship with the choir and its director, Dr. Isaiah McGee. “Following our performance at the Ronald McNair Life History Center, Ms. Moore invited us back to Lake City to perform at the opening of the Bean Market. Then we were invited to the city again to perform Handel’s Messiah during a Christmas concert,” said McGee. Read the rest of the story. Via: Claflin University