ART PATROL: Some year-end thoughts on Savannah's art scene

Gallery 2424's co-owners flank Katie Hagen at last month's opening
Gallery 2424's co-owners flank Katie Hagen at last month's opening

This time last year, I wrote a rather depressing column about the sad state of affairs for Savannah’s art galleries. Many were closing, and there wasn’t (and this part hasn’t changed much) much financial encouragement from the City, Chamber or SCAD to promote artists to live and work in our city. 

Despite the arts playing such a key role in education, communities and the economy, Georgia consistently ranks last or near last in the nation in government arts funding, according to the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies (NASAA). Excluding funding from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), local government, and philanthropy (thank God for donors!), our state spends 14 cents per person on the arts, as indicated by the NASAA. Connecticut allocates the most state funding per capita at nearly $10; while nearby North Carolina spends 84 cents, Tennessee spends $1.47; South Carolina spends $2.16; and Florida spends $2.71.

Editor Erica Lang recently wrote an article on the fine efforts of Clinton Edminster’s Starlandia Foundation to help advocate for, and fund, more public art in Savannah. And ARTS Southeast (@sulfurstudios) continues its fine work of subsidizing artist studio spaces while promoting our contemporary art scene throughout the region (check out their excellent IMPACT Arts and Culture Magazine available locally at E. Shaver Bookseller and at the Sulfur Shop).

Meanwhile, in other positive news, several new spaces to view art have
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Beth Logan
Part of Samantha Mack's installation "Things Removed" at Studio Capilla
 appeared in the last few months. Samantha Mack (@samanthadmack) recently had the most peaceful and meditative solo show at Studio Capilla, a by-appointment venue created at 806 E. 31st Street by artist Eduardo Capilla. On the afternoon of my visit, sun poured through the ground floor windows onto a huge branch which took up the whole front room of the apartment, and which played host to several of Mack’s crocheted cocoons and chrysalises.

Gently spoken Kevin Kirkwood (@kevinwillpaint), co-producer of the Ten Frame podcast for emerging artists, has created Bululu Studios (@bululusav) at 3131 Bull Street, bordering Ardsley Park. He and his wife share the space located just behind the new Café Taureau, and he recently hosted his first one-night pop-up art show featuring 17 of Savannah’s most inspiring artists. Kirkwood hopes the small community gallery will both empower creatives and play host to many more group and solo shows. (If you have the opportunity, Kirkwood’s beautiful “Please Don’t Forget to Breathe” installation is currently included in the Atlanta Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia’s biennial show “Gathered VI: Georgia Artists Selecting Georgia Artists.”)

Telfair Museums’ Erin Dunn, Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, and her husband Ben have also created a new rental gallery, Gallery 2424 (@gallery_2424), located at 2424 (duh!) Drayton in the Starland district. They recently hosted their inaugural show by MFA SCAD Fibers candidate Katie Hagen and this Friday, Dec. 1 will present “A Day at the Races,’ new paintings by Heath Ritch. Ritch, an art preparer at Telfair Museums, holds a BFA in painting from Georgia Southern and an MFA in painting from SCAD.

Also on Friday, Dec. 1,  Wioleta Kaminska (@wioletakaminska) whose large-scale work is currently featured in the Barnard-facing windows of the Jepson Center, has an opening for “Retreating: Reflections From the Edge of the World,” interdisciplinary work inspired by Iceland’s landscapes, nature, people, and culture. Her paintings, video landscapes, photographs and collages are installed at Cedar House Gallery, 122 E. 36
th St. (@cedarhousegallerysav) from Thursday through next Tuesday.

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Maggie Hayes
ARTS Southeast's Program Director Jon Witsky and Executive Director Emily Earl at the LOOK! show opening

First Friday in December is a great opportunity to check out ALL the creatives in the Starland District! If you haven’t already, you must view the stellar show “LOOK!” in the main gallery at ARTS Southeast’s Sulfur Studios, 2301 Bull St. A group exhibition, with an eye on Georgia-based artists, work includes nature-inspired sculpture by Rebecca Braziel (@rebeccabraziel), cut-out and paintings by Betsy Cain (@betcain), collages by Marcus Kenney (@marcuskenneyparade) and photography by gallerist Susan Laney (@salaney). Program Director Jon Witksy has created a feast for the eyes!

As the holidays draw ever closer, there are many opportunities to collect wonderful new work.  On Saturday, Dec. 2, there will be a Merry Art Market - a wonderful sale of ceramics created by the students and teachers of Savannah’s Clay Spot (@savannahsclayspot) at 1305 Barnard St.; a Holiday Market featuring local makers and artists at Service Brewing Company, 574 Indian Street. Next day, Kobo Gallery (kobogallery) hosts its annual holiday show from 2 to 6pm with a sale of specially created holiday ornaments benefiting the Ossabaw Island Foundation. There will also be a Night Market on Sunday, Dec. 3, with 28 vendors and free photos with Santa at the Thompson Savannah!

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Harriet Zabusky-Zand
"Faith Like Flowing Water," 27'x36" oil on canvas by painter and practicing Buddhist Zabusky-Zand

Finally, let me mention a new gallery opening at Harmon and 39th Street. Painter and ceramicist Harriet Zabusky-Zand reached out recently to tell me she is hosting a ribbon cutting (at noon) and opening on Saturday Dec. 9 from 11 to 6:00pm. The Artworks on Harmon space is located at 2205 Harmon in the Baldwin Park area and will feature her paintings, prints, pastels, and crystalline-glazed ceramics. Zabusky-Zand received a Diploma in Fine Arts from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and a Master of Fine Arts from Massachusetts College of Art. Find out more at harrietzzart.com.

Let's get out there to buy local and buy art, and let's keep building a thriving and supportive community for Savannah's artists!

Op-ed

Beth Logan

Born and raised in Northern Ireland, Beth Logan had a career in healthcare HR and marketing. An artist and former gallery director, she serves on the board of nonprofit ARTS Southeast and has a passion for showcasing Savannah’s arts community.


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