Gallery Hopping Through Savannah

Things to Do — By Lauren Quinn on May 4, 2010 at 5:56 am

Sure, Savannah’s got history. But did you know that the oh-so pretty city is also a hotbed of art?

It all started with the Telfair Museum of Art, the South’s first arts and culture museum, which established in the city an appreciation for the finer things in the life. And as home to both the Savannah Arts Academy and the Savannah College of Art and Design, Savannah continues to be a center for arts in the South. Toss in a handful of great galleries, and you’ve got one seriously art-centered city. And, lucky for the traveler, four of the best galleries are clustered in Downtown, within walking distance, making for a perfectly strollable evening of art.

Start in the bustling heart of the City Market. The complex houses several commercial art galleries all good for a glance, but a few notables stand out, including the¬†A.T. Hun – International Gallery. ¬†Exuberant, eccentric and ever-outrageous, A.T. Hun’s populist approach may not be the most high-brow, but it’s definitely the most fun. The gallery serves as a great look into the artistic whimsy of Savannah.

Within the same City Market complex, but on the totally different end of the spectrum, is Thomas Kinkade City Market Gallery. The US’s most collected artist, Thomas Kinkade is known as a “painter of light.” His accessible work focuses on inspirational and often Christian images—winning its way into the hearts of devout Southerners.

A couple blocks away you’ll find more cutting-edge contemporary work at Chroma Gallery. A fine art gallery, Chroma’s expansive exhibition space showcases works from both established and emerging artists, with a firm focus on the Southeast. There may be no better place to experience the contemporary heart and soul of Savannah’s art scene than Chroma.

From Chroma, head up to the always-scenic River Street to Gallery 209. The renovated warehouse’s two floors combine two of the best of Savannah’s offerings: art and history. The stone walls of the historic building feature the work for some 30 local artists, from jewelry to metalwork to paintings. Gallery 209 is a co-op and has operated since 1976. It’s a Savannah institution, in the heart of Savannah’s Historic District and full of local flavor: a perfect place to end an evening of gallery hopping.