The First Friday Art March will be from 6-9 p.m. Sept. 6 and now boasts 15 gallery locations south of Forsyth Park. Venture beyond the geometry of the squares, art lovers and creators, and enjoy this growing enterprise of Savannah's nonprofit arts organization Desotorow Inc.Put on your trusty walking shoes or grab a bike, because there are innovative discoveries to be made at every turn. No treasure hunt would work without a map, and Art March has a doozy, with terrific art destinations from East Gwinnett all the way south to Victory Drive. "We feel like there are a lot of cool and interesting things happening down here," Art March manager Steven Miller said. "But it's an area of town that not a lot of people are necessarily familiar with."There are traditional spaces like The Grand Bohemian Gallery at 700 Drayton St., and Sicky Nar Nar at 125 W. Duffy St., but you'll also find Anahata Healing Arts, Black Orchid Tattoo and Graveface Records & Curiosities highlighted for your pleasure.There are a number of enticing reasons to hit DeSoto Avenue. The Smith Brothers and The Wave Slaves will be performing live at 7 p.m. and 8 p.m., respectively. Kids can come dressed and ready to participate in a joint art project, and The Indie Arts Market offers a real chance for shoppers to support regional artists.Desoto Row Gallery sprang up in 2005, but it's been Desotorow Inc., a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, since 2008. That's when executive director Clinton Edminster and president of the board of directors Lauren Flotty began talking up its potential outside the confines of gallery space. The mission is to create "a sustainable and creative art economy in Savannah." "Sustainable is that you are making money from it," Edminster said. "It's not an economy of 'Oh, thanks, that was a great favor.'" Reciprocity is important, he says, to the sustainability aspect. Energy must flow back and forth so artists, vendors and the community benefit from the shared effort. "There is sort of a monopoly on the arts culture in Savannah, and we'd like to start breaking that up. That would come from a grassroots underdog position," Edminster said.Art March is under the umbrella of Desotorow Inc., and they have been working closely with the Savannah Area Artisan's Guild to fill the Indie Arts Market. Still, they are really striving to reach artists of all ages outside of this group who want to develop the skill it takes to successfully market one's work. Miller makes the point that you don't have to have a degree. For now, the Indie Arts Market charges no fee for vendors. That may change, Miller said, as the event grows. Even then, he anticipates charging maybe $5, plus an additional electricity fee per booth.Desotorow Inc. has been following the example set by Arts Build, a private, nonprofit art fund and group in Hamilton County, Tenn. This organization wants to publicize the local art scene in Chattanooga to attract tourists, but even more important is the lure it has to potential employers trying to decide where to set up shop."We've got all of this raw energy of amazingly talented folks," Edminster said of Savannah's art community. But he points out that it needs to be harnessed to really affect our city overall. "Art Builds had a five-year plan, and they started out similarly to what we've done," he said. "The vibe you get from Chattanooga as being an artsy place was specifically the result of the endeavors of Arts Build.""
IF YOU GOWhat: First Friday Art MarchWhen: 6-9 p.m. Sept. 6Where: Various locations south of Forsyth ParkInfo: www.artmarchsavannah.com, www.desotorow.org