LAKE CITY, S.C. – The Wilsons couldn’t wait to come back to Lake City for ArtFields.

Andrew and Sarah Wilson, natives of Pensacola and residents St. Augustine, Fla., did a collaborative piece for the ArtFields competition two years ago. Andrew prepared an 8-foot oil painting and the couple placed Sarah’s words next to it.

The piece was displayed at the Jones-Carter Gallery, one of the venues for the competition. The Jones-Carter Gallery is at 105 Henry St.

“That was one of the first times we collaborated in that way,” Sarah said. “Since then we’ve branched out into more and more public art.”

The Wilsons made the decision to pursue art full time around three years ago. Andrew served as an art teacher for five years and Sarah worked for a newspaper and a magazine in St. Augustine.

“We both paint,” Andrew said. “I’m very fortunate to have a wife that wants to take on a life of painting because that’s what I went to school for and she’s loving it more and more with everything that we do.”

“I’m learning more and more with every opportunity,” Sarah said.

The two had seen an advertisement for ArtFields in a cultural newsletter from Jacksonville, Fla. At the time, they saw ArtFields as one of many opportunities to submit an application to display their work.

“We didn’t know much about ArtFields,” Sarah said. “We were looking for opportunities. That one was representing Southern artists. It just seemed really community focused. We liked the concept. We had no idea what to expect until we got here.”

Andrew said the two are vegan, meaning they consume no animal products, and entered a Mexican restaurant in Lake City.

“We came up to set up our art work in March [2017],” Sarah said. “Everyone had time to talk. Everyone cared.”

The Wilsons said they were “blown away” by the quality of the artwork on display at ArtFields.

Months ago, the Wilsons approached ArtFields about a public art piece in the community.

They were granted one— a mural on Sauls Street—as a part of the public art initiative, not the competition.

A big part of their piece is to make the piece inclusive.

Andrew said inclusive meant that everyone— regardless of their art background— was able to enjoy.

The piece, he added, pays homage to Lake City’s role as a farming center.

Lake City was a center for the growth and production of green beans, Andrew said. Green beans carried the community through the difficulties of the Great Depression.

They have been working on the piece for two weeks as of Thursday.

He said this piece was a dry run of sorts for the pair because they purchased and converted a truck so they could travel and produce public art full time. ArtFields 2019 is their first trip in the converted truck.

Their dog, a boxer named Escher, also is traveling with them.

Escher is named after M.C. Escher, an artist who worked with a lot of grays, because of his gray color.

When the two work collaboratively, they’re known as Hand-in-Hand.

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Government and Poltics Reporter

I cover the city of Florence, the county of Florence, the state legislative delegation of Florence County and surrounding areas, and the federal delegation representing the Pee Dee for the Morning News.

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