In our own (downtown) backyard sits a new, state-of-the-art performing and visual art space to rival those of larger cities.
So, after the seclusion of a pandemic and all we’ve come through, the Savannah Cultural Arts Center (SCAC) offers solutions for winter days and those seeking to get out of the house.
“To engage in the arts is an opportunity to share an experience,” said Stuart Miller, Director of the SCAC, which opened its new doors at 201 Montgomery Street in April 2019 with the goal of making the arts accessible to the community.
“We offer affordable classes, workshops, free events, a performance theater, and a gallery that is always free to visit,” the director said.
“Our objective is to provide the chance for all Savannah residents to have access to the arts. Most of this is done with programming at the SCAC facility, but we also strive to offer arts activities throughout the city,” Miller said.
Classes sessions at the SCAC run in eight-week sessions, except for some dance classes that are open to drop-ins throughout the sessions period. Classes are for ages 6 and up. This Winter’s dance classes are African Dance (adult), Ballet (adult), and All Levels Jazz (teen and adult), according to SCAC’s website.
“Our classes are welcoming to all levels of art experience, offering guidance for a new artist while also providing challenges and growth for a more experienced artist,” Miller said. “Our instructors are all artists in their own right and are involved in the community.”
Dance instructor Muriel Miller is the director of Abeni Cultural Arts, part of PAC Savannah. Guitar teacher Matthew Duplessie is a musician and middle school teacher. Nikki Zuaro is an up-and-coming conceptual artist and SCAD graduate.
Watercolor instructor Billie Stultz is the founder and lead curator of the Savannah African Arts Museum.
Even before the Savannah Cultural Arts Center opened, the City’s Cultural Resources department had a popular ceramics program, according to the SCAC.
Miller said, “Ceramics remains a popular offering at both the adult and youth levels. At the SCAC we have dedicated ceramics staff who instruct, make glazes, and fire in our electric, raku, and cone 10 kilns. Our pottery wheel classes are generally our first to sell out.”
“With the new SCAC,” he said, “We have expanded performing arts capabilities and are excited to debut brand new theater classes. From improv games for our youngest actors to audition prep for students looking at arts high schools or auditioning for local productions.”
At the time of publication, some of the classes will have already started, but Miller states most do allow people to join one week late.
The classes that haven’t started include Guitar, Brazilian Drumming, Dance Choreography, Jewelry and Metals, Youth Art, Shakespeare Scene Study, and Audition Prep, as well as the drop-in dance classes.
“We also have some great workshops coming up in February. These workshops offer opportunities for all ages and are a great way for someone to jump into the arts and try out something creative even if they can’t make a whole 8-week session,” he said.
Miller stressed the importance of art in our lives for our own peace of mind. “Participating in arts has the unique ability to provide both an escape from every day and a way to process what we have experienced.”
“Art is physical, mental, and emotional. Whether that is shaping a mound of clay or pounding on a drum, we can get into a rhythm and both lose and find ourselves in it. We can stretch the mind by learning a new skill and the body in a dance or theater class. Maybe [art] is the best coping strategy we have now – the ability to not be alone during the hard times. Engaging in the arts is an opportunity to share an experience.”
The Savannah Cultural Arts Center offers ways for Hostess City visitors to experience the arts from walking through the free gallery to joining in on a Saturday morning workshop.
“We also offer free events, many of which are held out on our lawn,” Miller stated. “As we head into spring, we look forward to bringing back popular youth events like Arts on the Lawn and all-ages events like our Day of Clay.”
All of SCAC’s upcoming events can be found on their Facebook page and/or the City of Savannah website savannahga.gov
Photos provided by SCAC