"IT'S a night of magic and dreaminess surrounded by wine and beautiful hotels and gorgeous galleries," glimmers Tiffani Taylor.
Taylor is describing Savannah's newest art event, Savannah Art Walk, but after five minutes in her company one could be convinced every evening in her world is magic.
She nearly sparkles with unconditional positivity and grace seldom seen, yet the most dazzling of all is what Taylor's achieved—a successful career as an artist in Savannah. Her Whitaker Street gallery is entering its fourth year.
"Four years, it feels like I should get a piece of paper, like a college diploma or something," Taylor laughs.
She's now sprinkling her magic dust (plus some dedication and hard work) on a new venture. She's founder and producer of Savannah Art Walk, held monthly, every first Saturday 4-8pm in Savannah's Historic District. It debuted last month and the second event is this Saturday, May 2.
The Art Walk includes 20 downtown galleries plus the Bohemian Riverfront Hotel and Andaz Savannah. It is free and open to the public.
"I feel that the event is sophisticated, and elegant, and gracious. I'm very much about being a hostess to our guests," says Taylor who personally greets guests at either end of the event, first at the Bohemian and then at Andaz.
Both hotels sponsor a complimentary wine pour for guests of the Art Walk, the first a 4 pm opening toast at Rocks on the Roof, the Bohemian's rooftop bar.
It's a fitting starting point as it echoes Savannah Art Walk's history.
"I was approached by Bohemian Hotel to collaborate with them and do something with my art. I immediately thought, okay, this hotel wants to collaborate with me, they could pour wine—art walk," Taylor recounts.
Following the wine pour, it's off to Taylor's gallery—sunny and romantic in the French country tradition, overflowing with her expressionistic paintings of flowers and other natural beauty.
At this upcoming Art Walk, she will be signing copies of her freshly pressed book, "Art and Poetry."
From there, the city awaits.
Guided by maps and lavender balloons outside each location, guests visit local staples like Kobo Gallery, Liquid Sands Glass Gallery, ShopSCAD, and Grand Bohemian Gallery. The walk also includes 15 City Market galleries, including the Savannah Gallery, Jonathon Gregory K Abstract Art Studio, and Samantha Claar's Gullah Living.
Within City Market's galleries is a trove of talent, perhaps the city's best-kept secret, and not from tourists, but from locals.
"We had a lot of comments from gallery owners, especially City Market gallery owners that for the first time a lot of locals came into their galleries," says Taylor. "We had a lot of guests who came in from out of town just for the Savannah Art Walk."
The evening concludes at 8pm much like it began, with a wine pour, this time at Andaz.
There, visitors to ten or more galleries will be entered in a raffle for decadent goodies like free hotel stays or gift certificates to restaurants and local galleries.
For those who cannot make the 4pm kickoff or participate to the end, worry not. Guests can join in whenever and wherever they like.
The event will run 10 months of the year from September to June, skipping Savannah's hottest, haziest days.
As much as Taylor's "romantic, dreamy, divine" aesthetic seeps into Savannah Art Walk, it is truly a community affair.
"It belongs to all of us. It belongs to our community, our galleries, our artists," she says.
The event came together quickly, in a month.
"You have excellent people working together. You have strong pillars of the community," Taylor says, counting herself, the Bohemian, Andaz, and others such as her alma mater SCAD, who committed to sponsorship without hesitation.
There is also something to this moment, in Taylor's opinion.
"The renaissance..." she smiles. "I have felt it for a while this positive energy and respect for art and artists, just the human condition that we all need to be surrounded with creativity."
"It just feels like this swirling and whirling that's happened with Art Rise and what they've built is so incredible," she says of Art Rise Savannah and it's First Friday Art March in the Starland District. The Savannah Art Walk is a compliment to the Art March, bringing the same sense of community and exposure downtown.
"To give back to our community with the Savannah Art Walk is beautiful because this community embraced a 17-year-old girl from Utah who came here with nothing—just big dreams, a scholarship and good work ethic," Taylor says flashing her signature smile. cs