Art Rise Savannah
Address: 1522 Bull Street Savannah, GA 31401
How is the project operated?
Art Rise Savannah is a certified non-profit arts organization in the state of Georgia. Our mission is to support the value of art and provide creative and financial opportunities to local artists. We do this by producing the First Friday Art March, the Savannah Art Informer, and Non-Fiction Gallery; as well as partner with other organizations to engage the community in as many ways as possible.
How long has it been in existence?
Art Rise Savannah (ARS) was established in 2013 to meet the needs of the local art community, which, at the time, lacked a leading arts organization dedicated to promoting and propelling the creative economy. ARS evolved out of Desotorow Gallery, Inc., a nonprofit gallery incorporated as a 501(c)(3) in April of 2008. Desotorow focused on offering a low-cost exhibition space to artists, operating as an artist co-op and music venue, hosting a range of programs and providing artists a space in which they could network and build an audience.
Management of the nonprofit changed hands shortly after Desotorow’s 501(c)(3) status was granted. New leadership expanded the mission to serve the needs of the greater Savannah community, and set goals to work directly with artists, local businesses, and community leaders to find, build, and create opportunities within the local arts economy.
To accomplish this mission, ARS established three program branches designed to engage the community with art in different ways: the First Friday Art March (a monthly event showcasing art in the businesses of the district), the Savannah Art Informer (an online arts blog), and FRESH Exhibitions (now Non-Fiction Gallery). This three-pronged approach appeals to a variety of people across demographics, consistently building the base of arts-aware locals, and drawing regional and national attention to Savannah’s arts and ever-stimulating arts economy.
What was your motivation?
In 2013 we saw a huge opportunity to provide accessible arts programming to the Greater Savannah area. At the time there was no one really doing what we wanted to do.
On a personal note, we greatly enjoy being highly involved in the arts community and bringing those individuals to the surface across the arts community here in Savannah.
Number of organizers/responsible persons of the project.
We have three core individuals responsible for contributing to and implementing our programs. This core staff helps in the coordination of our volunteer base. The Art March is our heaviest volunteer event, drawing in as many as 40 volunteers every month and simultaneously acts as an entry point for all other volunteer based events.
How are programs funded?
Programs are funded through a combination of membership fees, public funding from the city and state, sponsors, as well as fees for some of our programs. Much of our growth is currently focused on seeking out and maintaining sponsorships with local, regional, and national businesses; however we have not forgotten where we have come from, and continue to work closely with small business as well as individuals within the community to build up and maintain our small donor base as well. Diversification of funding streams is something we hold dear and see as a growing aspect of our organization.
Who is responsible for the programming?
Clinton Edminster, Executive Director
Kayla Goggin, Editor in Chief
Alexandra Chamberlain, Exhibitions Director
Together these three develop not only the programming but also the projects within our three main programs. We also actively work with different individuals in order to bring programming in. We like to have a mix of voices involved in developing our programming to better reflect the diversity of our community.
Number and average duration of exhibitions/events per year.
We coordinate 12 First Friday Art Marches every year. Each Art March features, on average, over 20 locations. Each Art March we develop programming for the Starland Arts Festival including but not limited to vendors, music, activities. Each Art March consistently brings out over 1,000 people.
Non-Fiction Gallery is host to at least 24 different visual arts exhibitions every year. These arts exhibitions are also host to a plethora of over events throughout the year and we utilize the gallery space to incorporate and facilitate as many artistic endeavors as possible. On average, gallery events attract between 100-300 visitors in any one night.
The Savannah Art Informer publishes between 10 and 15 articles each month, those articles consist of art critiques, art reviews, interviews, and more. On average, these articles reach between 600 and 1,000 people. That audience is continuously growing.
What kind of events are usually organized?
The events we organize are focused on the mission of providing accessible arts to the community. This is focused around arts accessibility, information, and space.
How is your programming determined?
We make programs we would like to attend. We create events that we would like to see be created.
Do you accept proposals/submissions?
Absolutely! Send one in!
We coordinate 3-4 juried shows a year through Non-Fiction Gallery. The Gallery also accepts proposals for weekly gallery rentals. We also have a continuously running call for writers through the Savannah Art Informer.
What is your artistic/curatorial approach?
We always strive for the utmost professionalism and all of our shows are curated to the highest quality in order to present the artists in their best light. We also strive to always be inclusive and make sure our shows are accessible but challenging to our audience.
What’s working? What’s not working?
We believe that what we are doing is working but every organization faces its challenges in matching growth with quality. As we transform ourselves from a small volunteer run organization, to a high-performance high-impact leader in the arts we find ourselves more and more looking for different ways to problem solve. Challenges in funding, staffing, volunteer attention, branding, etc. are bound to come up, but we are eager and excited to find solutions to all of these. So far, our problem solving methods have been successful.
What kind of role do you hope to play in your local art scene or community?
Art Rise is a bridger. We are always out there seeing, talking, doing, reviewing, and imagining with the rest of the arts community. In this capacity, we are not only bringing our own unique programming to the city, but also imagining the future of arts in Savannah.
What idea are you most excited about for the future?
Clinton is most excited about self-driving cars.
Kayla is most excited about her consciousness living forever inside of the eternal landscape of the Internet, for real.
Alexandra is most excited for continued growth in arts funding for the state of Georgia-we are not last anymore people!
(these answers may slightly reflect our individual personalities)
Images courtesy of Art Rise Savannah.