If you love art, you’ll love Savannah. The two go hand-in-hand. After all, the city is home to the Savannah College of Art and Design, established in 1978 with the goal to prepare talented students for careers in creative professions.
While some of the city’s artists and crafts graduated from SCAD, others made their way to Savannah’s art scene by other routes.
Susie Chisholm is a child of Savannah who grew up climbing on sculptures in nearby Brookgreen Gardens. Chisholm became a sculptor herself with a passion for figurative portrait sculpture. (She created the Johnny Mercer statue in Ellis Square.) Her work can be found at her studio and gallery on the second floor of the Franklin Ward Building South in the Historic City Market or at Reynolds Square Fine Art Gallery, 31 Abercorn St.
If folk art interest you, check out the work of Samantha Claar through her Gullah Living series that depicts day-to-day lives of the Gullah-Geechee people. Her art can be found at GCD Home Furnishing and Decor, 409 E. York St. at Columbia Square.
Born in Ghana, William Kwamena-Poh came to the U.S. when his father was teaching history at Talladega College in Alabama. He was introduced to the work of James Huff, an artist teaching at the college and says he was “lit on fire” by the detailed, yet simplistic style. His watercolor paintings tell the story of everyday life in his native Ghana, from women to children to fishermen.
Alix Baptiste, a Haitian-born artist, originally began as a street artist. Fans encouraged him to move to Savannah’s City Market and he can still be found painting in the storefront window of his gallery there. His work is colorful and reminiscent of his Caribbean upbringing.
SCAD graduate Brian Macgregor is known for his Spirit Animal playing cards, American landscape paintings and dream meditation series. His works have handwriting in the background that is from dream journals kept outside his gallery for people to write in. He started displaying his art in the City Market Art Center in 2000, soon after moving to Savannah.
Tiffany Taylor is known for her original, hand-painted pottery as well as textured paintings. SHe holds advanced degrees from SCAD and has works displayed internationally, including in the Salvador Dali Museum. Visit her gallery at 11 Whitaker St. in the historic district.
Meryl Truett is a photographer and mixed media artist who graduated from SCAD in 2003 with a mater of fine arts degree, then obtained additional training in France. She has a series of photographs on vintage ceiling tiles a unique mixed media on metal format. She also has several series of black and white photos depicting American landscapes.
Jery B. Taylor creates sweetgrass baskets using a technique her grandmother taught her when she was just 5 years old. The master craftswoman produces baskets that can’t be found in just any store. Unique and exclusive to the Gullah community of the region, they are made from sweet grass, palmetto, pine needles and bulrush. Her works have been displayed at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. But you don’t have to go that far to see them. Just head to the City Market Art Center on West Street and Julian Street.
An artisan known as Savannah’s “Official Potter,” Clair Buckner, is known for her satirical ceramic sculptures exhibited across the Southeast. She also makes works that are exclusively available at The Salt Table, 51 Barnard St. Most of these are focused on salt and condiment presentation, and all are signed and stamped with The Salt Table brand. They are each one-of-a-kind.
Keep in mind that while some galleries may not be open, artists and craftsmen are always happy to meet you by appointment and show you their work.