Savannah has five art museums, displaying a variety of works by local, national and international artists.
The Telfair Academy and the Jepson Center are both operated by Telfair Museums; a single admission charge allows entry to both (plus Telfair Museums’ other property, the Owens-Thomas House). The Telfair Academy houses the Museums’ collection of traditional art, whereas the Jepson Center displays contemporary works.
The SCAD Museum of Art, operated by the Savannah College of Art and Design, also focuses largely on modern and contemporary works.
Two museums focus on works by African and African-American artists: the Beach Institute, whose collection is centered around the works of local folk artist Ulysses Davis; and the recently opened (and free to visit) Savannah African Art Museum, which displays a large collection of art from the African continent.
Savannah is one of the southeast’s biggest centers for emerging and established artists, reflected in its many dozens of galleries. Most of the city’s art galleries are located within the downtown Historic District (particularly the areas around City Market and Bull Street), with a few more south of Forsyth Park and in the Starland District.
Art walks – semi-structured group visits to a number of galleries and other art- (or food-) related establishments over a single evening – can be a fun way to see the city whilst viewing its art, and also provide an opportunity to meet artists and see them at work. Savannah has two art walks, the occasional Art March Parade & Festival hosted by rotating neighborhoods and the monthly Second Saturday Art Walk, downtown.
222 Bull Street
Just barely missing out on the title of the oldest continuously-operating theater in the United States, the Savannah Theatre (the original building unfortunately destroyed by fire) remains a popular space for plays and musicals in the heart of Savannah’s downtown. A small museum explores the history of this keystone of the city’s entertainment district.
32 Abercorn Street
When Arthur Lucas built this historic movie theater, in 1921, it was one of the most splendid entertainment venues in Savannah, constructed to provide for the growing popularity of the new “moving pictures.” Recently redeveloped and reopened, it now shows films, concerts and other performances. Tours of the theater itself and its history are also available.
216 East Broughton Street
A block south of the Lucas Theatre for the Arts is the Trustees Theater. Another historic Savannah theater, this one was built in 1946, at which time it boasted one of the largest movie screens in the South. SCAD bought the theater in the late 20th century, undertaking major renovations and reopening the premises in 1998. Today, the Trustees Theater is a venue for classic cinema screenings, music and other performances.
301 West Oglethorpe Avenue
One of Savannah’s biggest event spaces is the comparatively modern Civic Center, located to the west of the Historic District. The Civic Center hosts many of the city’s larger events, from major concerts and conventions to exhibitions, theater, ballet, comedy shows and music.
980 Industry Drive
The Savannah Reportory Theatre is a professional theater company that puts on several plays each year, performed in the PLAYShop, a former industrial building west of the Historic District.
3219 College Street
The Collective Face Theatre Ensemble performs several classic or contemporary plays per year at the Kennedy Theatre at Savannah State University.
1200 West Bay Street
Mid-size, mixed-genre concert venue west of the Historic District.
Savannah’s major event calendar begins with the tourist season, in March, with two large music festivals. The Savannah Stopover, held in early to mid March, features dozens of bands and artists, playing concerts across several Historic District locations. After St Patrick’s Day is the Savannah Music Festival, Georgia’s largest music festival, scheduled for late March or early April. Over 100 artists perform during the more than two-weeks-long festival, in locations across the city.
Savannah’s hot, humid summers account for a lull in major arts events for the city during these months, but fall brings another wave of festivals. The Savannah Jazz Festival, usually held in late September, is a week of jazz music, with daytime and evening concerts held across the city, some in outdoor locations such as Forsyth Park.
Savannah’s biggest cinematic festival is the week-long Savannah Film Festival, organized by the Savannah College of Art and Design and held in late October or early November each year.
Savannah’s annual Black Heritage Festival is in February, with history, performance and other arts events held across the city to coincide with Black History Month. Also in February is the Savannah Book Festival, with author talks, book signings and other literary events held in several Historic District locations.