In many respects, 2017 has been a banner year for the arts in Savannah.

The city is home to some major arts organizations that seem to be thriving, wonderful festivals both large and small, excellent galleries and venues, and myriad independent artists who are inspired by the city's rich cultural milieu.

At the same time, 2017 felt like a tough year in many respects.

Political divisiveness spilled over into much of our public discourse. Our busy fall was interrupted by a hurricane for the second year in a row. Several local institutions are in the midst of dramatic and stressful changes.

Those who have been feeling drained by all these developments might want to take a moment during the holidays to find some new inspiration in the arts.

If you enjoy live music, you'll find the clubs generally featuring local acts and being patronized by a mix of longtime residents and former residents who have trekked back to town to see friends and family.

If you need a quieter pursuit, you should consider a trip to the Telfair Museums.

The Telfair's Jepson Center for the Arts has a number of excellent exhibitions that end in early 2018, including the annual "I Have Marks to Make," which features work from local residents enrolled in a number of different rehabilitation and education programs. That exhibition ends Jan. 2.

The Jepson's beautiful exhibitions "Kahlil Gibran and the Feminine Divine" and "Rodin: The Human Experience" also end Jan. 2. If you've been planning to check out those shows, the time has come.

In addition to other shows, the Jepson also currently hosts a multimedia exhibition that pays homage to famed curator and native Savannahian Kirk Varnedoe that runs through Feb. 11.

Experiencing the beauty and provocation of the arts - music, painting, sculpture, video, whatever - can enrich our lives in many ways, especially amidst the bustle and commercialism of the holidays.

In next week's column, I'll take a quick look ahead at some of the big arts events coming up in 2018.

Bill Dawers writes City Talk in Savannah Morning News and blogs at Savannah Unplugged ( and hissing lawns ( Email