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Coming home to Cedar House

IT’S A classic Savannah gripe: too many artists, not enough galleries and studio spaces to accommodate them all.

Fortunately for the city’s creatives, Cedar House Gallery offers both gallery and studio rentals, and it celebrates its grand opening this week.

The multi-use space is housed inside a stunning 1921 home on the corner of 36th and Abercorn.

The gallery is backed by two real estate agents and Anthony Koncul, the owner of JAK Homes.

Gallery director Sam Williams recently graduated from SCAD after studying photography.

“I really got involved in galleries and ended up loving the flow of it,” says Williams. “I took some curating classes and love the process of it. This is where I knew I wanted to be.”

Cedar House started out with Koncul hoping to buy the empty lot next door.

“They wanted to put two homes on it, but the original owner didn’t want to sell the lot without selling his own property,” says Williams, who lives in one of JAK’s homes. “Anthony has always wanted to have an art gallery, and he said, ‘Just come on by my office—let’s take a look at these windows and you can tell me what I’m doing right and what I’m doing wrong.’”

The buzz around Cedar House started up pretty quickly.

“Every day I get six or eight calls and 20 different emails,” gushes Williams.

The first floor hosts two traditional white wall gallery spaces that retained their original fireplaces, giving the rooms a homey feel. Even the walls downstairs are rentable to show work.

There’s also a third gallery on the first floor with white shingled walls, and the room leads out into the spacious backyard.

“If you rent anything downstairs, the outdoors is available for you to use,” says Williams. “What we hope to do here is put in some color, get some tables. Eventually as we turn over our profit, we’ll put a stage in the corner so we can have cocktail events and weddings.”

Upstairs, there are studio rentals that are open to customization for the first renter. The sizes and prices range, with the largest studio clocking in at $1,000 a month.

“We want Cedar House to be a home,” says Williams. “We’re hoping the artists who rent our studio upstairs are like a family. Those are the people we represent, and once one of them is out and someone else moves in, they’re looped into the family too. Here at Cedar House, I want to represent them; I want to advertise them. Those twelve artists are who we’re going to represent.”

Being a visual arts home means the future Cedar House family can learn from each other.

“A lot of people here are either local artists or SCAD, and they’re very separated. So our goal here is to kind of bring them together, and hopefully the older generation can teach the younger generation and vice versa. There’s so much technology, and it’s all changing. A lot of arts are being lost.”

Williams sees the divide between old and young generations most when she’s showing the gallery.

“I’ve gotten so many walk-throughs where [people] ask, ‘Is this a place for SCAD? Is this a place for professional artists or for SCAD students?’ And I’m like, ‘I’m sorry, I don’t see the difference in that question.’”

See the space for yourself at the grand opening Sat., May 18 at 6 p.m. For the event, the entire home will be open to the public as a gallery. There will be food trucks on the grass next door, live music by Draucker, and an open bar.