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Art Marches to Art Fairs
Autumn ushers in a season of visual delight
Non-Fiction Gallery hosts work by Xialu Zhang (right) in late November

Lauren is president of the board of directors of Art Rise Savannah.

Ready, set go!

As an arts enthusiast and writer in Savannah, that’s the mindset I have as I wave goodbye to August and hop into the depths of September. From now till the end of May, every week will bring numerous openings and art events that showcase the vibrancy of our local culture.

While the uptake in tempo comes in part from the rush of SCAD students to our fair city, an undeniable factor in the drastic change of pace is that from June to September, it’s just too damn hot to look at art!

Now that the air is getting (slightly) crisper and we can detect sensations beyond hot and humid, let’s indulge in the finer things in life. Looking ahead there are plenty of engaging exhibitions and events to fill up an empty fall calendar.

Telfair Museums is delivering both new and old delights this fall. Opening at the Jepson Center October 3 is “Savannah Collects,” an exhibition of artworks from local art collectors’ personal stashes of visual treasures. The works range from the 1700s to 21st century contemporary art.

This exhibition promises to be extremely diverse and the concept behind it is alluring. It is a visual story of the distinct tastes and interests of Savannah’s art collecting elite and it invites the public into the private world of the art collector.

In addition to this exhibition and the Telfair’s otherwise impressive list of events (don’t forget about their monthly Free Family Days and Art on Tap events,) November 14-16 they will be presenting the 20th anniversary edition of the Telfair Art Fair.

This popular event is a great way to get tapped into what over 80 local artists are creating. The open-air fair includes a diverse array of mediums from fine art standards like painting, sculpture, and photography, to fine crafts like jewelry, fibers, furniture and pottery, all available for purchase. This is the event to attend to jump start an art collection (which could one day be seen at the Jepson Center...)

A few blocks south of the Telfair sits local art and coffee staple, Gallery Espresso, which is featuring work by one of my favorite local artists, Mary Hartman. “Grain Fed” showcases her expressive monochromatic charcoal and pastel drawings.

In the past Hartman has explored diverse subject matter from machinery to figures, and this exhibition concentrates on drawings of large animals such as rams, moose, and horses. Rendering the forms on wood brings warmth to the work and her characteristic drawing style seduces— expressing mood, movement, and both the humanistic and primal elements existing in nature.

Gallery Espresso will host a closing reception for Hartman Sept. 26. Following Hartman’s exhibition will be a show of mixed media paintings and illustrations by young artist to watch, Zlatko Mitev.

Further south on DeSoto Avenue is Fresh Exhibitions, one of Art Rise Savannah’s programs. The gallery is already into its fall showcase of work from recipients of its Exhibition Fellowship package, which awards space and services to local artists.

The next exhibition, “Oden,” presents sculptural furniture and drawings by Garrett Odenwelder. A graduate of SCAD’s industrial design program, Odenwelder explores the relationship between art, design, form and material.

Coming to Fresh Exhibitions in November is a collection of haunting, monochromatic woodcut prints by Armstrong grad Lisa Co that integrate natural and animalistic subject matter with the human form.

In December, following Co’s exhibition are the beautiful and poetic multimedia works of Renee Malloy Ludlam. She utilizes digital, photographic and hand manipulated imagery to create enticing visual stories.

All Fresh Exhibitions shows will be featured as part of the next three First Friday Art Marches. During these Art Marches participants will also be treated to local art at other staple Art March venues.

During the October Art March, Anahata Healing Arts will exhibit work by Debi Day and the Foundry Coffee Pub will present “Magic Passion Love - A Vision for Humanity” by Joanne Morton.

Non-Fiction Gallery will offer a second chance to view “Veiled Horizons” in October and “Memento Boxes” by Xiwen Zhu in November. New gallery Whit’s End will host the group show, “Luceat” in October and a group exhibition exploring color, “Fervor,” in November.

So yes— ready, set, go is an appropriate mantra for the upcoming season. At least the with the cooler temperatures I won’t be sweating quite as much as I try to keep up with all the talented creators and institutions that call Savannah home.