Before the summer hits and the weather becomes oppressive, it's a great time to get out and experience all the art and activities Savannah has to offer.
This spring presents an abundance of opportunities to check out ongoing art exhibitions and other related goings on. Below is a small sample of what's currently on view around town and some other notable things to look out for in the coming months.
Telfair encompasses three museum locations and two of the buildings, the Telfair Academy and the Owens-Thomas House & Slave Quarters, turns 200 this year. The Jepson Center is much younger at a spry 13. They all have something to offer visitors year round.
Notable exhibitions on view include “If These Walls Could Talk: 200 Years of William Jay Architecture” and “Before Midnight: Bonaventure and the Bird Girl,” both at Telfair Academy; “Rembrandt and the Jewish Experience: The Berger Print Collection,” Spanish sculptor Jaume Plensa's “Talking Continents,” and a survey of the work by video-game-designer Keita Takahashi's “Zooming Out” all at the Jepson Center.
The Jepson Center's atrium is also home to a colorful installation by local artist Katherine Sandoz. And the Owens-Thomas House & Slave Quarters recently expanded narrative that includes the stories of the enslaved people who lived and worked there is not to be missed. The upcoming five-decade retrospective of Suzanne Jackson's work that opens at the end of June is also something to be on the lookout for. Go to Telfair.org for more info.
SCAD Museum of Art
It's always worth remembering that the SCAD Museum of Art is open to the public six days a week and always has a range of exciting contemporary art exhibitions. Some of the notable exhibitions on view include a series of photographs by Karl Lagerfeld from SCAD's permanent collection, famed South Korean artist Lee Bul's “City of the Sun” and Carla Fernández and Pedro Reyes' “Think Twice,” a socially conscious, fashion-forward exhibition that mixes styles and unconventional textures fluidly. SCAD alumna Monica Cook's weirdly wonderful “Liquid Vessels” is also an eye grabber. Go to Scadmoa.org for more info.
Cultural Arts Center
The Savannah Cultural Arts Center (CAC) is now open for business. Meant to be an arts beacon for all communities around the city, the CAC has the means to host a wide variety of performances and exhibitions, as well as new facilities for ceramics, fibers, metal smithing, and more. Registration for summer classes and workshops are now open, as is registration for summer art camp.
The full roster of programming hasn't been released yet, but the Department of Cultural Resources is working overtime to finalize details about the path forward. They also say they're putting the finishing touches on their revamped newsletter, so go to savannahga.gov/500/Cultural-Arts for more info and to sign up for the newsletter to stay informed about upcoming programming. If nothing else, take a stroll through the facilities just to see how the new building looks.
Sulfur continues their trailblazing efforts not just in the Starland District, but for Savannah overall. Any first Friday of the month is a great time to check out the offerings at Sulfur for their First Fridays in Starland, but there are all kinds of other opportunities beyond that.
Their ON::View residency is now offering a $500 stipend to participating artists and their photography classes, workshops, and critique groups are going strong. Their art services arm curates artwork at local businesses like In Vino Veritas, 102 E. Liberty St., Starland Cafe, 11 E. 41st St., and The Sentient Bean, 13 E. Park Ave., which are also worth checking out.
Upcoming exhibitions in Sulfur's main gallery space include the photography show “Edges of Savannah,” by Yao Wang, a Chinese artist who has lived in the U.S. for seven years, which opens May 9; and an exhibition by award-winning illustrator Qiuxin Mao, “The Remains,” which opens May 15 and is curated by Dandi Gu who has been very involved in many different aspects of the local art scene for a few years now. For more info go to Sulfurstudios.org.
Susan Laney is another trailblazer and continues to bring fresh and exciting exhibitions to Savannah that would not have happened otherwise. The current exhibition of work by Katherine Sandoz, “Vernonburg: A March Survey,” is on view through May 18. The next exhibition of photographic work entitled “Ain't-Bad: Collaborations” is just that. It's a collaborative effort co-curated by the founders of Ain't-Bad magazine, an independent publisher of new photographic art that includes photographers “from all over the world and with an infinite spectrum of content.” The opening reception for that exhibition is May 23 and as anyone who's been to a reception at Laney knows, they do it right. More info at Laneycontemporary.com.
The new director at the Grand Bohemian, Carmen Aguirre, is doing a phenomenal job. The Grand Bohemian is the gallery at the Mansion on Forsyth Park and offers a wide selection of works to peruse and purchase. Aguirre kicked off the gallery's Savannah Series with an exhibition by Julia Christian which was covered in this space recently.
The series will continue with an exciting line up that includes painter Heather L. Young, jeweler Kristen Baird, and a group show based on the varied styles of architecture found in Savannah, with an accompanying talk by Robin Williams, chair of architectural history at SCAD. More info at Grandbohemiangallery.com.
As always, there's not enough room to mention all the notable art opportunities, but other galleries worth noting include Location Gallery and Roots Up in the design district, Gallery Espresso, which always has interesting work on view. There is a show going on at an alternative space, Regus Savannah, 100 Bull St., Ste. 200, which features the work of five local artists, including Calvin Woodum who is one of the most steadfast supporters of the local art scene Savannah has.
Also of note is the grand opening of Cedar House Gallery, 122 E. 36th St., from 6 to 9 p.m. May 18. This location will feature private art studio spaces and gallery rental spaces and the grand opening will have food trucks, live music, and a bar, which should make it worth checking out on that basis alone.
Kristopher Monroe is a writer documenting the intersection of art and community. Contact him at email@example.com and follow on Twitter @savartscene.