Savannah’s incredible creativity is best savored in its music and film venues, and art galleries spread throughout the city, famous for its remarkable architecture.
Take in the beauty of the latest exhibits on display at Jepson Center for the Arts. You can also visit one of the many galleries in City Market if you’re a fine art connoisseur. The locals highly recommend a trip to the Downtown Design District, full of locally owned stores and shops. For the music aficionados, there are several hipster hangouts and sophisticated places where original alt-rock, live jazz, and classical music compositions rule the roost. The Savannah Music Festival and the Savannah Film Festival celebrate the city’s creativity and passion for the arts.
ART IN SAVANNAH
As one of the largest centers in the Southeast for both established and newly-launched artists, Savannah has dozens of art galleries that cement its reputation as a prominent art destination. You can find many art galleries in the Historic District near Bull Street and City Market. The Starland District and Forsyth Park are also home to a few art galleries.
If you want a fun and exciting way to view the city’s art offerings and architecture at the same time while also meeting reputed artists, go for art walks – these are semi-structured visits to art galleries and many other related establishments in the evening. The Second Saturday Art Walk is currently Savannah’s most requested monthly art walk, as it covers all of the major galleries and tour spots.
There are 5 different art museums in Savannah, which display works by reputed international, national, and local artists.
The Jepson Center and the Telfair Academy are run by the Telfair Museums administration. Visitors can visit both institutions and the Owens-Thomas House with one admission charge as they’re all run by the same group. The Jepson Center is focused on contemporary art pieces whereas the Telfair Academy displays traditional works of art.
The Savannah African Art Museum and the Beach Institute African American Cultural Center by reputed African-American and African artists. The former has a large variety of art pieces sourced from Africa whereas the latter contains many works by Ulysses Davis, a local folk artist with a massive following.
ARTS & CULTURAL EVENTS
The Black Heritage Festival is held annually in February in Savannah. Performance, history, and art events are conducted around the city during Black History Month. The Savannah Book Festival is also a major event in the city, where book signings, author appearances, and literary events are held in the Historic District.
Two major music festivals are hosted in March – the Savannah Stopover, featuring dozens of artists and bands rendering performances across several locations in the Historic District. The Savannah Music Festival is held shortly after St. Patrick’s Day in late March. More than 100 artists hold concerts and give record-breaking performances during this festival, which lasts for over 2 weeks.
Due to Savannah’s high temperatures and humidity levels during the summer, art events are more subdued during this period. However, the Savannah Jazz Festival in September brings back the excitement with an entire week of amazing jazz music. Concerts are held in various indoor and outdoor locations in the city during both the day and evening.
The Savannah Film Festival is the biggest cinematic festival in the city, which is organized by the SCAD in late October every year.
MUSIC, THEATER & PERFORMING ARTS
Lucas Theatre for the Arts
Designed by architect C.K. Howell and Arthur Lucas in 1921, the Lucas Theatre for the Arts was initially built for the public to watch and enjoy movies. They were highly successful for over 40 years as it was a prime place for theatricals, revues, traveling troupes, musicals, and talkies.
However, with the population increasingly shifting to the suburbs and the advent of modern-day television, the Lucas Theatre was shut down in 1976. 1986 marked the beginning of a 14-year spirited campaign that raised over $14 million to restore and reopen the theatre by 2001.
Today, Lucas Theatre conducts several events during the year, thanks to support from the Savannah College of Art and Design. Several concerts, movies, and other art performances are conducted throughout the year. A tour of this legendary theatre is available to the public as well.
We advise making your reservation early for the tour, which costs $5 per head. You can check the Internet for more information regarding the tour details or the tickets.
Savannah Civic Center
The Civic Center is definitely one of the largest event spaces in Savannah, located west of its Historic District. It plays host to many huge events, from major conventions and concerts to music, comedy shows, ballet, theatre, and exhibitions.
Located one block south of Lucas Theatre, the Trustees Theatre is a historic landmark constructed in 1946. It was one of the biggest movie screens ever in the Southwest when it was built. The theatre was bought by SCAD in the late 1900s, after which it underwent major renovations. It was reopened in 1998 and is now a classic venue for music, cinema screenings, and other art performances.
Located near Chippewa Square, the Savannah Theatre is over 200 years old, which makes it one of the oldest operational American theatres in existence today. While it was initially designed by William Jay, a British architect, the structure has been through several face-lifts due to hurricane- and fire-related damage.
The Savannah Theatre hosts numerous performances, including haunted storytelling, holiday shows, and musicals. The ‘Afternoon With Savannah Dan’ is a prime attraction that explores Savannah’s history in greater detail.
SCAD MUSEUM OF ART
The SCAD Museum of Art is a high-profile contemporary art museum located on the main campus of the Savannah College of Art and Design. Several new exhibitions are introduced in each academic quarter. There are many permanent collections on display here, including African-American art, British works, 19th & 20th-century photography, contemporary and modern art. Several galleries like the May Potter Gallery, the Alexander Hall Gallery, and the Gulfstream Gallery are featured here.
Collective Face Theatre Ensemble
Several contemporary and classic plays are performed every year by the Collective Face Theatre Ensemble at Savannah State University’s Kennedy Theatre.
Savannah Repertory Theatre
Every year, a number of varied plays and performances are held by the Savannah Repertory Theatre at the PLAYShop, which is located west of Savannah’s Historic District.