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Small work shows highlight holiday season
Drawing by Adam Gabriel Winnie. The artist is a member of ARC Savannah

IN THE art community there is one holiday tradition that will forever remain sacred: small work shows and pop up shops.

Art and commerce cozy up every winter and this year is no different.

SCAD’s annual small works show is currently on view at the Gutstein Gallery and Armstrong State University will offer a Christmas Pottery Sale December 3-4.

Local pottery studio, The Clay Spot, will host the Merry Art Mart this Saturday.

Non-Fiction Gallery will throw its annual Holiday Pop Up Shop as part of the First Friday Art March on December 5. The March will also feature the Indie Arts Market.

The non-profit behind the Art March, Art Rise Savannah, of which I am a board member, is presenting a juried small works show, “ThincSMALL,” during its Holiday Party at co-working space ThincSavannah on December 11.

While this roster promises beautiful and affordable art just in time for the gift-giving season, there is one pop up show that truly stood out as something different.

Daniel Smith, 'Skidaway to Hope 2'. The artist is a member of ARC Savannah
Daniel Smith, 'Skidaway to Hope 2'. The artist is a member of ARC Savannah

Art non-profit, ARC Savannah and Chatham Parkway Lexus are presenting “A One-Night Stand” on Dec. 4.

This invitation only event showcases work from ARC’s member base, and encourages the purchase of artworks while also clawing at some loftier goals.

“We want to expand opportunities for our artists and provide a juried experience of art for our advocates. And we want to raise the visibility of the arts in the larger community. Chatham Parkway Lexus has incorporated their other Lexus dealerships by inviting those from surrounding areas,” says Daniel Smith, who serves as Secretary on ARC’s board.

Smith, a professional painter, is a founding member of ARC, along with Kristin Boylston, Christen Clougherty, Susan Laney, and Jerome Meadows. The organization was born about a year ago out of conversations between the five founders about the needs of fellow art community members.

The group determined that while Savannah is home to many artists, the art community hadn’t, “coordinated its opportunities and its gifts to present Savannah as a center for the arts,” Smith says.

With this in mind ARC began gathering members, both artists and advocates, who wish to see wider support for the arts.

“In Savannah we have folk artists, traditional artists, and contemporary. We have people at the beginning, in the middle, and in the nationally recognized stage of their careers all living here and we want people to see the complexity and diversity of arts here,” Smith said.

A lecture series over the summer connected artists and advocates to new knowledge and networks of support. In June, ARC collaborated with the Downtown Neighborhood Association (DNA) for the “Artists and Artisans Tour,” which aimed to connect local artists to downtown collectors.

In addition to connecting artists and advocates, ARC is interested in having “a stronger liaison with city government and organizations,” Smith continues, in order to promote Savannah as an art hub, building off models of other cities such as Chattanooga, Charleston, and Oil City, Pa.

“We have cooperated with the DNA before because they expressed an interest in keeping art part of the lifestyle of Savannah,” Smith says.

Through that cooperation, ARC began working with Gale Steves, who serves on the board of DNA as Holiday Tour of Homes”Chair and created the Artists and Artisans Tour.

“I met Richard Nimphie, General Manager of Lexus Savannah, at a party during the Artists and Artisans Tour, and we spoke about creating an event for his customers that would benefit the art community as well,” says Steves, who now serves on the board of ARC.

She and Smith worked together to organize “A One Night Stand.”

“We are really grateful to the Lexus sponsorship. Chatham Parkway Lexus and its customers wanted to invite this into their lives. The Lexus dealership asked us to provide a cultural experience for Lexus owners since they see part of being a Lexus owner as understanding culture in a broader sense,” Smith says.

This event distinguishes itself from other events this season in several ways. For one, it’s invite-only, but more significantly, it leverages corporate sponsorship to the advantage of artists.

Most interestingly, it promotes art as an important lifestyle product. This way of presenting art has the potential to create new collectors and supporters of local art.

“It’s one thing to just want to have nice art, it’s a different thing to want to live in daily contact with artists,” Smith says.

Furthermore, ARC hopes this event will set a positive example for other public and private groups.

“I believe that it is good business for local companies to support the arts,” Steves says.

Smith expresses similar sentiments:

“I think it’s a great thing that corporate as well as civic entities step forward in Savannah to ensure a quality of life for their employees and fellow citizens, and art is certainly an enhancement of all our lives.”