Art in Savannah is RISING to the Occasion
First Friday Art March
Art Lovers who travel to Savannah have a rich varitey of Museums and Galleries at their disposal to visit during their stay. The Jepson, Telfair and the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) Museums of Art are easily accessible and can be found on just about every map in the Historic District. What most visitors to Savannah don’t know is that there is an undefined Arts District which extends beyond what is considered to be “The Traditional” Historic District in Savannah. The area just South of Forsyth Park is known as the Victorian District to most and you typically won’t find this area on many popular tourist maps. But NOW there is a NEW Map on the RISE for this off-the-beaten path area of Downtown Savannah,thanks to Art Rise Savannah and their First Friday Art March.
The First Friday Art March is a monthly event which brings together the Local Artists and Small Businesses that exist South of Forsyth Park in a collaborative effort to highlight their specialties and promote their products and projects. The first Art March began in 2012 in the hopes to bring visitors to the Starland District in Midtown and was eventually absorbed by Art Rise Savannah in 2013. Last month, the Connect Savannah announced that The First Friday Art March was voted the 2014 Best Art Show in Savannah by their readers, so I would say they are doing something right. Now it is time for the Local Concierge to check it out for herself!
Desoto Avenue is the starting point for the Art March and is just a short walk from our Company Office and Forsyth Park Collection of Vacation Rentals, so it was convenient for me to leave my car parked after work and walk the few blocks to the event. (Plus, I need the exercise for that Tybee Bathing Suit!) Desoto Avenue is located in the Starland District which is home to an abundance of small businesses and boutiques. Most locals in Savannah are Familiar with the popular Back N The Day Bakery but most don’t walk around the corner to discover the amazing shops and boutiqes that live on the other side of the mall like Gypsy Girl Vintage Boutique, Fresh Exhibitions, The Chocolate Lab and Maldoror’s Frame Shop.
Just outside of the shops during the Art March is the Indie Arts Market, comprised of Local vendors and artists selling everything from Crafts and Jewelery to and Plants and PICKLES! (They were good too.) I will say that the most popular local vendor seemed seemed to be the popsicle stand, everyone I passed was eating the delicious treat on this warm evening. I really enjoyed meeting the local owners and vendors and I look forward to bringing my friends back to shop.
The June Art March also featured a special Art Project – “The Art of Trash – All Hands In Neighborhood Beautification Project,” in which The Art Rise and Clean Up Savannah joined forces to pick up the trash on the streets of their neighborhood and create a sculpture from the finds. The artists were putting the sculpture together live at the Indie Arts Market.
After shopping at the market, I walked to my next destination which I consider to be one of the best places to eat lunch in all of Savannah. I am speaking of the great Starland Cafe, located next to the Savannah Dog Park on W. 41st Street. If you have never eaten at this local treasure, you are really missing out! You don’t have to take my word for it though, they just won the Eat it and Like it Foodie Award for Best Salad in Savannah! There were two Artists featured at the cafe and there was a suprisingly great live band playing next door called Shapes & Thier Names. I really enjoyed this band so I think this might have been my favorite stop of the night, so make sure to visit them on the next march.
I decided to take the Old Savannah Tours Trolley to the remaining exhibitions from the cafe since I walked from our office to the Art March. The Free Art March Trolley runs about every 20 minutes so it is very convenient to hop on and off at each place and have time to look around. There are 17 stops total on the route so I won’t go into all of the other places I stopped but there were some definite highlights. The Kenneth Martin’s exhibit at the Cultural Affairs Gallery was wonderful and I enjoyed meeting Mr. Martin and talking with him about how he became an artist, quite fascinating really. Also, The Wallflower Cottage had a wonderful collection of art from various artists and mediums. I found so many items that I want I am going to need to return to do a proper shopping day. It is hard to believe that I have never visited some of these locations before and they are just a few blocks in each direction of Forsyth Park where I am for most of the week.
I will definitely be recommending that our vacation rental guests visit the First Friday Art March as well as all of the Galleries and Shops on the Map during their stay in Savannah because they offer a real Savannah Local Experience to visitors.
Side Note: I had the opportunity to meet some of the group from the Savannah Stage Company, who were on hand at the Indies Market to answer my questions about their upcoming performance of Oedipus the King and some of their other upcoming performances. They were very excited about their adventures and I look forward to attending some of the shows. Pictured in the Photo (L-R) Evan Getz, Ryan Henderson, Kareem McMichael & Jenson Lavalea. Break a leg!