Paula S. Fogarty, Executive Director of the Coastal Jazz Association and Director of the annual Savannah Jazz Festival, will tell you Savannah’s jazz history is “as rich a story as New Orleans or Chicago.”
And this year’s Savannah Antiques and Architecture weekend will celebrate Savannah’s architecture and design during that famed jazz era. This year's event takes place Feb. 28-March 2 and features a variety of tours, receptions, lectures and a gala and antique valuations.
According to Fogarty, this annual event is organized by the National Society of the Colonial Dames of America in the State of Georgia—their headquarters are in Savannah—and this event supports the ongoing preservation of two of the city’s prominent historic houses, the Andrew Low and Green-Meldrim houses.
Fogarty says one of the crowning events for the weekend is the inaugural tour of the renewed Armstrong-Kessler Mansion, owned by luxury hotelier Richard C. Kessler, but unfortunately those tickets are sold out. But, she adds there are still tickets left to some pretty fabulous events on this year’s roster and each event features lives jazz music.
The jazz-themed celebration kicks off on Feb. 28 with cocktails and a book signing with world-renowned interior designer Carleton Varney. The event is from 5-7 p.m. at 319 Abercorn Street. Tickets are $50.
Varney carries a very impressive design resume with clients from Joan Crawford to former president Jimmy Carter. He is also the president and owner of Dorothy Draper & Co and is responsible for carrying on the legacy of his mentor in Draper’s iconic work in the 30s and 40s. He is the author of several book on decorating great houses.
Guests will have another chance to meet and learn from Varney on March 1. He will be the keynote speaker at the lunch and learn event at The Mansion on Forsyth Park from 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Varney will also have a book signing following the event. Tickets are $85.
Varney’s talk on March 1 is titled, “Dorothy Draper and the Jazz Age.” And Fogarty says Draper was definitely a woman way ahead of her time.
“She was just as bold as her designs,” Fogarty says. “He will talk about Dorothy Draper during the jazz era and her work in corporate America during a time when women were supposed to be home having babies.”
Draper is best known for her design work at The Greenbrier Hotel, Quintandhina in Brazil, Hampshire House and the Carlyle Hotel.
Later that evening on March 1 is The Gala at the historic Green-Meldrim House from 6:30-9:30 p.m. Tickets start at $95.
On March 2, Fogarty, along with world-renowned trombonist Teddy Adams, will lead a discussion on the legends and history of jazz in Savannah. The event is from 10-11 a.m. at Cranmer Hall, 27 West Charlton Street. Tickets are $25.
The conversation is presented by Coastal Jazz Association and Adams will share anecdotes from his new book, “The Up of the Down Beat,” which includes stories of Savannah’s early jazz scenes, including stories of his friend the late Ben Tucker.
And if you have some treasures in your house you want to have evaluated, then get your tickets to “What’s in Your Attic?” on March 2 from 9:30 a.m.-3:30 a.m. at Cranmer Hall. Tickets are $15 for half-hour time blocks and give guests four verbal appraisals from TV Celebrity appraisers and experts in decorative arts and antiques.