Fall rituals in The Hostess City typically include Friday night football games and oyster roasts at sunset. However, this time of year also marks the kickoff of the city's peak season for the visual arts.

Local art lovers know that as the weather finally starts to cool, the art scene heats up, with inventive, out-of-the-box exhibits lining the walls of Savannah's museums, galleries and cafés. Take the time to explore the city's ever-evolving art scene, which serves up a heady dose of creativity, originality and imagination daily.

From emerging painters to established talent, a host of artists will be showcased locally this fall.

Here's a quick overview of some of the most tantalizing exhibits and events on the horizon:


"Grain Fed: New Work By Mary Hartman"

Through Oct. 1

Gallery Espresso, 234 Bull St.

For more info: www.galleryespresso.com

"Grain Fed" showcases recent large scale drawings on wood panel by Mary Hartman, a master of expressive pastel and charcoal compositions. This West Virginia native, who earned an M.F.A. in painting from the Savannah College of Art and Design, is known for her signature monochromatic work. Her latest compositions focus on cattle-related themes and make powerful use of negative space and loose forms. Artist reception from 6-8 p.m. Sept. 26.

"From Under The Southern Cross: The People And Patterns Of Argentina"

Through Oct. 3

Armstrong State University Fine Arts Gallery, 11935 Abercorn St.

For more info: www.armstrong.edu

This exhibit will feature original art by Armstrong State University students and faculty, all of whom have been inspired by a summer abroad trip to Argentina. Designed to promote cross-cultural understanding, the exhibit will offer insight into Argentinian culture from a variety of perspectives. Gallery reception on Oct. 3 at 5:30 p.m.

"R.Land: Landmarks"

Through Nov. 10

The Butcher Gallery, 19 E. Bay St.

For more info: www.whatisthebutcher.com

Atlanta's hottest art phenom will return to Savannah for an offbeat solo exhibition blending science fiction, all-American kitsch, a quirky sense of humor and a genuine love of the South. Originally from Jacksonville, Fla., Land has earned accolades for his subversive "Loss Cat" campaign and for his mind-bending work on Cartoon Network. He will bring his latest mixed media experiments to The Butcher Gallery, much to the delight of local underground art collectors. Artist reception on Sept. 12 from 7-10 p.m.


"Savannah Collects"

Oct. 3-Jan. 18

Jepson Center, 207 W. York St.

For more info: www.telfair.org

Telfair Museums will share treasures from local collections in this multimedia exhibition, showcasing items ranging from 18th-century silver to contemporary art. The diversity of the objects on display will celebrate Savannah's eclectic taste in fine art and decorative art. Highlights include a Howard Finster painting, a Romare Bearden collage and an Eric Desmazieres etching on paper.

"The Divine Comedy: Heaven, Purgatory And Hell Revisited By Contemporary African Artists"

Oct. 16-Jan. 25

SCAD Museum of Art, 601 Turner Blvd.

For more info: www.scadmoa.org

SCAD will host the U.S. premiere of an ambitious group exhibition inspired by Dante's "Divine Comedy." Curated by Simon Njami, this monumental show will explore themes of heaven and hell through works by more than 40 contemporary artists from 19 African countries as well as African diaspora artists from around the world. Artist panel moderated by Njami featuring Joël Andrianomearisoa, Bili Bidjocka, Mwangi Hutter and Moataz Nasr at 5 p.m. Oct. 16. Reception at 6 p.m. Oct. 16.

"Tiny Divas"

Oct. 17-28

Non-Fiction Gallery, 1522 Bull St.

For more info: www.nonfictiongallery.com

Good things really do come in small packages. In October, Non-Fiction Gallery will present a juried small works exhibit exploring the concept of celebrity. Designed to "bring the celebrity divine within reach," this exhibit will include two-dimensional and three-dimensional work limited to 12 inches on its longest side. Expect challenging, thought-provoking, genre-pushing work examining the veneration and vilification of our 24/7 "Keeping Up With the Kardashians" culture.


SCAD Painting Open Studio

Nov. 1

Alexander Hall, 668 Indian St.

For more info: www.scad.edu

Catch a rising star from 5-7 p.m. at this annual celebration of original work by current SCAD painting students. Graduate and undergraduate students will open their individual studio spaces to the public for one night only, discussing their work with art aficionados and prospective collectors. Live music by The Rosies.

20th annual Telfair Art Fair

Nov. 15-16

Telfair Square, Barnard and York streets

For more info: www.telfair.org

For the past two decades, Telfair Museums has transformed downtown Savannah into a high-energy celebration of the visual arts, attracting top artists from around the Southeast and across the country. This year's outdoor event will offer original work by 80 artists, children's activities and free Saturday morning parking at the Bryan Street Garage. Highlights will include paintings, sculpture, jewelry, photography, wearable art and mixed media work.

"Small Works"

Nov. 15-Jan. 11

Gutstein Gallery, 201 E. Broughton St.

For more info: www.scadexhibitions.com

This holiday art tradition originally began at SCAD in 1979 and has expanded to include a wide range of media, including photography, jewelry, painting, sculpture, collage, mixed media and fibers. Designed for holiday gift giving, this popular group show will feature original art by SCAD students, alumni faculty and staff. All art measures up to 18 inches in each direction and is priced at $400 or less.