ANY ARTIST around these parts will tell you: Savannah’s art community is easy to get involved in.
Back in August, when I spoke with Maggie Hayes, she praised Savannah for its inclusivity.
“Savannah doesn’t have that push towards professionalism because it’s kind of built around being an amateur artist, which is not bad!” she enthused.
“With [SCAD] it’s like all of what’s set up in Savannah is built around the amateur artist, being able to rent your own gallery space for a week and do your thesis show there. That’s perfect for the vast majority of people here.”
Hayes is right: Savannah is the perfect place for an amateur artist to try new things and get out there. Breaking into the art scene is as easy as submitting a call for entry or going to an open studio. You have so many opportunities at your fingertips to get involved in the local art scene.
While students at Savannah College of Art and Design are generally already embarked on a curriculum featuring various art media, what about getting involved in the scene apart from required class and portfolio work?
One of the simplest ways to get your work in an exhibition is to submit to a call for entry. If you’re not familiar with these, they’re simple. The studio or organization posts a notification that they are accepting entries for an exhibition with the guidelines of what the work should be about, how to submit, and deadline information.
Some studios that regularly hold calls for entries are Sulfur Studios, Location Gallery, and Non-Fiction Gallery, but they’re not the only ones who do. Connect regularly lists calls for submissions in the Auditions and Calls for Entries section of Happenings, so check there often for chances to get involved.
A handy resource is the ART MAP SAV. Produced by the Arts Resource Collective of Savannah, it’s a comprehensive guide to the galleries and studios in the area. The map points are color-coordinated according to the type of work they show and are layered onto a map of Savannah, making exploration easy. They’re located at various galleries throughout the city, so if you find one, grab it.
SCAD students also have a great resource in Open Studio nights, where students’ studios are open so visitors can meet them and discuss their art with them. It’s a great networking tool, particularly for your major, but it’s always a jolt of inspiration to see other people at work.
Students can also submit work to be considered for exhibition in the building for the evening. This semester, Alexander Hall has an Open Studio scheduled for Oct. 27, but keep checking scad.edu for additions.
When Connect’s former Art Beat columnist, Lauren Flotte, wrote her farewell column nearly two years ago, she wrote, “A friend said to me upon hearing of my move, ‘You know that saying, If you can make it in New York, you can make it anywhere? Well, I’ve lived in New York and now in Savannah. The saying should be, If you can make it in Savannah, you can make it anywhere. Jerome [Meadows] points out that in New York the pressure is the competition—other people knocking at all the same doors. Here, the fight is against Savannah itself, both the municipality and the predominant mindset.”
Networking can have more of an impact than you think in making it here. Getting involved is as easy as just getting out there. Go to the opening nights of exhibitions and meet the artist. Hit up the First Friday in Starland or the Savannah Art Walk or the Free Family Day at the Jepson.
Put your name on a mailing list. Take every opportunity you can to involve yourself—that’s what it takes to make it here.