On Nov. 3, as part of First Friday in Starland, Bull Street Labs is hosting is an opening reception for a new series of paintings by Panhandle Slim.

Bull Street Labs is the new headquarters for Creative Coast and, with the help of Sulfur Art Services, they'll be featuring artwork from various local and regional artists every two months.

"One of the things we recognized as we moved into the Starland neighborhood is how art has informed every crevice of this neighborhood," explains Creative Coast's community manager Coco Papy. "It wouldn't make sense for us as an organization to not foster that spirit, as well! We are lucky to be neighbors with Sulfur Studios and one of the first things we did was ask them to provide the art for Bull Street Labs - to turn the walls from 'blank' to living, breathing spaces where people could feel enlivened by the space they are in."

Panhandle Slim is their first featured artist, and it couldn't have made more sense for their first exhibition in the new space.

"Panhandle will always have a spot in everyone's heart in Savannah," says Papy. "From his work with Walls of Hope, to his work with the Women's March, to the personal pieces that live in homes, to the pieces people have used to board up broken windows from hurricanes, he really is an artist for the people.

"He's got that scrappy and bold DIY spirit that we see in a lot of the entrepreneurs we work with, but also the type of spirit that makes Savannah so much of what it is."

For Panhandle Slim, the show was a seamless and natural fit.

"I'm honored to be considered part of Savannah's artistic community," says the artist, "seeing as we have some of the best artists living here in Savannah and we have one of the best art schools right here in Savannah.

"I'm glad my paintings are up in homes, schools and on walls across Savannah. My hope is that they bring a smile to a person's face and that smile reverberates into something bigger. Perhaps they will see the painting and learn about a person they may never have heard about.

"My goal is to introduce things that few of us learned about in grade school. The streets can be a place of education, and there can be positive and hopeful things learned on the streets. I hope my paintings are a little part of positivity. Children recognize my paintings from the ones they see on the streets of Savannah. That is a really good feeling that something so basic can make a big impact."

Panhandle Slim is the type of artist who is deeply concerned with positive social change, which he hopes to further by more conventional shows like this, as well as his pop-up exhibitions and public art.

"To me it's a continuation of learning. It's also a helpful way of unlearning the limited things I learned. I paint people that I did not learn about in school or in my upbringing. I paint people that most of us did not learn about in school. For example, black history was almost non-existent in my education. To me, black history is American history and we all need to learn it to understand our nation as a whole â¦

"I love Savannah and I'm very thankful my paintings allow me to meet so many great people and hear so many stories that connect us as we all row our boats."


What: Panhandle Slim at Bull Street Labs

When: 6-9 p.m. Nov. 3

Where: Bull Street Labs, 2222 Bull St.

Cost: Free; artwork for sale

Info: sulfurstudios.org