Art Rise Savannah celebrates 30th Art March

Jordan Broam

Art Rise Savannah celebrated its 30th First Friday Art March Oct. 3 with 15 venues for art galleries and vendors.  The First Friday Art March is a thriving monthly event that provides college students, tourists and experienced art critics alike a taste of Savannah arts and small businesses free of charge.

From the first step on the free Old Town Savannah Trolley Tour to the gentle winding down of the night, visitors are surrounded by the sights, sounds and tastes of Savannah-based art.

The key to plugging into the full experience is catching a ride on the trolley and getting acquainted with Ms. Marcia, the Savannah concierge.

Marcia eloquently showcases an outfit from Gypsy Girl Vintage, a consignment store located in the center of the Indie Arts Market on DeSoto Avenue.

While traveling between destinations, The Seaboard Stompers create an old-time stringband atmosphere with their violin, banjo and guitar in the backseats of the trolley.

One of the 15 galleries was Non-Fiction, owned by two SCAD alumni, who opened up their “Veiled Horizons” show, featuring paintings by William Ruler and Cheralynn Johnson, for the event.

Other participating businesses and galleries include The Grand Bohemian Gallery, The Foundery Coffee Pub, Black Orchid Tattoo, and Foxy Loxy.

Lauren Flotte, the president of the Board of Directors of Art Rise Savannah, described the Art March as volunteer based, aiming to include all of the venues and the artists. She explained that galleries and businesses are responsible for finding their own artists. She also urged all artists in Savannah to showcase their art and get involved with their community.

Flotte said, “The Art March gives people who are not involved [in the community] a taste of its energy,” Flotte hopes the outreach for all locally-based artists and spectators will promote a more creative community.

The heart and soul of the event is the Indie Arts Market located on DeSoto Avenue.  Live music, food and vendors line the marketplace to provide a fun-loving atmosphere for those involved and people simply passing through.

Clinton Edminster, the executive director of Art Rise Savannah, believes that Savannah is lacking the well-established artistic community people expect, but he is excited to be a part of the community in the making.

Edminster acknowledged that “Armstrong is a crowd we haven’t tapped into yet,” but with the “marketplace thriving well,” the after-party at the Dollhouse and the live reporting of 106.1, he hopes to appeal to the uptown crowd as well.

Jesse Aguirre, a Graphics Design major at Armstrong enjoyed conversations with artist William Ruler and others about their paintings and galleries. “I had a great time, honestly,” Aguirre said. He is looking for ways to include Armstrong students in upcoming events as well as simply bring their attention to Art Rise Savannah.

The next First Friday Art March will take place the night before the Rock-n-Roll marathon, Nov. 7 from 6-9 p.m.  Maps of the event will be available at the galleries and online at