The Savannah College of Art and Design Museum of Art is a contemporary art museum in Savannah, Georgia. The permanent collection enriches the education of students at SCAD, and the museum is also open to the public. The museum’s permanent collection consists of over 4,500 pieces and demonstrates a commitment to education in culture, art, and design.
The photography collection from the 19th and 20th centuries includes works by Andy Warhol, Gordon Parks, Robert Mapplethorpe, and Henri Cartier-Bresson among others. The Newton Collection of British and American Art include paintings by Anthony Van Dyke and Sir Joshua Reynolds as well as textiles, maps, rare books, and etchings. The Evans Collection of African American Art offers over 150 years of works from celebrated artists including Romare Bearden, Robert Duncanson, Jacob Lawrence, and Charles White. The Contemporary Art Collection includes work in all media by influential 20th and 21st-century artists worldwide. The multi-media artist Nick Cave, the photographer and video artist Abrie Fourie, the painters Danny Simmons,Alexandre Arrechea, and Salvador Dali are all represented in the permanent collection, among others. Due to the size of the permanent collection, it is shown on a rotating schedule, with exhibits changing each academic quarter. The architecture of the museum itself is worthy of notice. The stone building made from handmade bricks in 1853 is the oldest surviving pre-Civil War railroad depot in the United States. The newly added 86-foot high glass and steel atrium is home to a 2016 sculpture honoring William and Ellen Craft. The Crafts escaped slavery from Macon, Georgia, in 1848, and the first stop on their harrowing journey north was the Savannah train depot, the site of today’s museum. Nineteen years after the Crafts found refuge in England, when the Civil War was over, they returned to Georgia to begin the Woodville Co-operative Farm School and prepare newly freed slaves for employment.
History: The Savannah College of Art and Design is a non-profit accredited university offering bachelor’s and master’s degrees. The museum is a teaching institution, primarily serving the students by offering proximity to lectures, film screening, gallery talks and, of course, the art in the permanent collection and special exhibits. SCAD students frequently serve as museum docents. At the core of the physical space is the old Central of Georgia Railway depot, a brick structure from 1853 that originally stretched over 800 feet along Turner Boulevard. After its life as a railway station, the brick structure served as a barracks during the Civil War and as a center for African American culture in the early 20th century. The facility was abandoned in the mid 1900s and then revived in 2010, when ground broke for a new SCAD Museum space. Since 1978, SCAD has restored over 100 buildings of historical significance in the United States, Europe, and Asia.
Ongoing Programs and Education: The SCAD Museum offers guided tours that educate visitors on the history of the building, the current exhibitions, and museum collection. Architectural scavenger hunts are provided for an entertaining self-guided tour for guests aged 7 and older. Curriculum guides are also provided for teachers and group leaders, which reflect the current exhibits. Events include artist’s talks, workshops, film screenings, and presentations, many of which are hosted in the 250-seat state-of-the-art theater. As a teaching museum, classroom space is host to upwards of 70 classes per week for SCAD students. Museum studies, art history, fashion design, graphic design, and production are all disciplines taught at the SCAD Museum. Public programs, such as museum admissions and special events like Taco Tuesday for Teens, support the academic work of the school.
Past and Future Exhibits: Exhibits at the museum rotate each academic quarter. Current and upcoming exhibits include Florida Living, featuring the paintings of Hernan Bas, an acclaimed Miami-based artist. A Landscape of Events features the work of Mario Navarro, a Mexican-American artist based in New York. Past exhibits have included Signs of Life by Jane Winfield, a 2012 MFA graduate of SCAD who is a painter based in Richmond, Virginia.
What’s Nearby: While the main campus of the SCAD Museum of Art in Savannah boasts a total 82,000 square feet of exhibition space, satellite campuses include the Alexander Hall Gallery in Savannah and Gallery 1600 in Atlanta. Visitors to Atlanta may also be interested in the SCAD Fashion Museum, which has collected haute couture works by Yves Saint Laurent, Givenchy, and others.
601 Turner Blvd., Savannah, GA 31401, website, Phone: 912-525-7191