Savannah Local Artists Market Showcases Local Talent
The Savannah Local Artists Market, or SLAM as it’s more commonly known, is a free once or twice a year event showcasing some of the area’s best artistic talent. Taking place in a festival-like environment on the baseball diamond adjacent to the Salvation Army Community Center at 3000 Bee Road, it’s all about event creator Charlie Elis.
“This is probably the largest and largest outdoor site in Savannah [networking event]“, he noted without pride. “I would say it’s a fun event for artists and people.”
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When I caught up with the gregarious Ellis at The Sentient Bean to discuss this year’s iteration, which takes place Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., he was wearing a hand-painted SLAM hat along with an “I’m a Slammer” green. -shirt. As he approached the table I had reserved for us, artist and co-organizer Deborah Sherron Miller at his side, he joked, “You have to give up your dignity,” handing Miller and me our own shirts.
It’s Ellis in a few words: funny, self-deprecating, unpretentious and generous. And, perhaps more than anything, someone who wants to do whatever they can to help support our local arts community.
“Artists who are just starting out, it’s hard for them to earn $100” for an entry fee, Miller explained. “Besides, they have to buy a tent, they have to bring their own table, their own chairs.”
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“That’s what’s so great about this event,” she added. “They can bring an umbrella and put it up and have a table. It’s very open. »
Surprisingly, there will be over 80 artists registered to showcase their work this time around, and while there will certainly be its fair share of new exhibitors, many of the artists are art exhibition veterans whom you will most certainly recognize. the names.
Tamara Garvey, whose whimsical ink drawings and paintings have been featured in group and solo shows across the city, regularly attends art fairs in Savannah and elsewhere, selling prints, cards and bookmarks. in addition to his original artwork. But SLAM, she says, is special.
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“Charlie cultivated a great vibe” with the event, she said. “It’s very easy and relaxing for us artists to come in here and do our set-up and tear-down, and it’s the perfect size where buyers have a lot of art to see but not so much that they can’t locate a specific artist they picked up or return to a favorite before leaving.
“In addition, parking is easy for buyers. This stuff is very important! There’s a lot to do in Savannah, so event planners need to simplify the logistics or people will just go to town to do other things.
Like Garvey, jeweler Jessica Anderson of Epiphany Bead and Jewelry Studio is well established, having participated in countless art fairs. As an artist who makes a living as a full-time creator, the sales that come from attending events like these are essential to her survival.
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But beyond the dollars and cents, it also lets her get to know her fellow creators.
“Participating in local art shows like SLAM gives me the opportunity to connect with the community as well as network with other local artists,” Anderson said. “It also encourages cross-promotion, which helps promote all of the artists on the show.”
“I am also honored to be able to participate in a show with so many other very talented local artists. To me, that speaks volumes about the quality of this particular show.
The Epiphany Bead and Jewelry Studio booth will showcase a wide variety of Anderson’s creations on display at SLAM, including items using gemstones, brass and sterling silver, as well as pieces incorporating less common components like bone and deer antler.
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“Creating and selling my art is my way of supporting myself and my family, but more importantly, I get to share my creations with the world,” she said. “It brings me so much pride and joy every time someone likes what I’ve made enough to buy it for themselves or as a gift for a friend or family member.”
Painter Paul Downs will be making his second appearance at SLAM, having appeared at last fall’s event. He will bring original paintings on canvas and paper, in acrylic, oil and watercolor, as well as smaller bookmark-sized pieces and a range of prints. The variety of his offering, he says, is what sets him apart from other artists who will be on display at the event.
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“I go from abstract oil landscapes to realistic watercolor animal portraits quite easily,” he said. “This range of work means that visitors to my booth will see cartoon animals, abstract paintings, realistic renderings and much more in between.”
“What I hope to take away from the event is that my work becomes part of people’s daily lives,” he continued. “Whether it’s a small copy of my work, a watercolor bookmark they put in the book they’re reading, an original piece of art, or they ask me to create a personalized work of art.”
Diversity of styles and media is at the heart of SLAM, and Garvey’s clever inks, Anderson’s handmade jewelry, and Downs’ paintings are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what visitors can expect.
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“I love walking around and looking at other people’s art,” said Miller, who will exhibit his signature found-object cityscapes alongside a series of endangered animal constructions. “It’s just amazing what people do, where the inspiration comes from.”
As well as being the spiritual figurehead of the event, Ellis will also be showcasing his creations, primarily fish he has assembled from driftwood, as well as a number of benches and sofas he has created. “The benches are there for people to use for one thing, but I put a price on them,” he laughed.
“We want to make sure the artists who come to SLAM sell,” Miller said. “The goal is for artists to make money.”
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Additionally, the event will offer a community canvas where people can add their brand, a rotating schedule of live musical acts, and food trucks so attendees can grab lunch while they shop. They will also collect old clothes to donate to the Salvation Army and ask visitors and performers to drop off their used items at the front door.
But the essence of SLAM is art, and Ellis hopes visitors will find a new piece or two to add to their collection.
“[Everybody] probably has an empty spot on his walls at home,” he said. “And hopefully they find something here to take home to eliminate that empty space.”
Art off the Air is a complement to the radio show “Art on the Air” hosted by Rob Hessler and Gretchen Hilmers. The column can also be found at savannahnow.com/entertainment.
The show airs Wednesdays from 3-4 p.m. on WRUU 107.5 FM Savannah and on WRUU.org.