A Lasting Legacy of Local Art

Posted on January 9, 2018 by

The Savannah Art Association Gallery on Bull Street might be celebrating its first anniversary on Chippewa Square this January, but the SAA is actually the oldest continuously operating art association in Georgia.

“We began in 1920, visiting in people’s homes,” said Bobbie Kraft, current gallery manager and past association president. “Mills B. Lane was one of the first people to get it started as the Savannah Art Club. Then, in the 1960s, it was changed to Savannah Art Association. We’ll be 100 years old in 2020, so we’ll celebrate our centennial that year.”

“The Savannah Art Association has a lot of heritage,” added Phil Stark, a watercolorist and member of the gallery’s committee. “I think it’s an honor being part of something that’s as long-lasting and important as the Art Association has been.”

More than 120 artists are part of the SAA, and their art is exhibited all around Savannah—including the Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport and Gallery Espresso, among other locations. What will you find in one of their exhibitions? A little bit of everything and then some.

“We have photographers, jewelers, fabric artists, sculptors, a woodworker,” Association President Ed Eckstrand said. “We have all kinds of painters—watercolors, acrylics, oil. we have pastel artists and sketchers. In style, we have everything from abstract to photorealistic. It would be difficult for me to put us in a neat little box.”

“Artists in general do a lot of landscapes, a lot of portraits, but we go way beyond that,” he continued. “We have people trying new things. We have a painter who paints only on metal. We have another who is doing what’s called ‘confetti art,’ which combines a formal landscape with a bit of pointillism.”

  • Both originals and prints of paintings are available in all sizes at the Savannah Art Association Gallery. Photo by Amanda Surowitz.

The SAA offers more than unique pieces to add to your art collection. They also host workshops by nationally known instructors, high school art competitions and Children’s Holiday Playshops at the Oglethorpe Mall. They even organize an annual Plein Air Paint Out event, with demonstrations and competitions for prizes. The 2018 Plein Air Paint Out is set for March 23-25.

“I think the biggest reason to come in here is we have a very wide variety of art,” Eckstrand explained. “I would recommend people come in here without any preconceptions. Just come in, look around and see what’s inside.”

The Savannah Art Association Gallery is located at 232 Bull street on Chippewa Square. Gallery hours are 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday-Saturday; noon-5 p.m. on Sunday. For more information, call (912) 232-7731 or visit savannahartassociation.com.