Thursday, February 22, 2024

SCAD sends artful ripples from Georgia, to Hollywood and the world

Bruce Keller poses in one of the many intriguing spaces in the SCAD Museum of Art, where
constantly changing exhibitions feature established and emerging artists from around the world.


An installation by Patrick Dougherty is part of the landscape
at the SCAD Museum of Art. Its weaving and bending of
sticks is in a way a metaphor for the museum's intent.
SCAD IS A WELL known acronym in Savannah.

Everyone recognizes Savannah College of Art and Design, because it is internationally famous. Art students from Iceland come here.  So do budding artists from Peru, Japan, Italy and many other countries. Multiple Oscar winners studied in SCAD's creative halls.
Christene "Cookie" Meyers examines
an interactive, playful piece using
oranges to challenge the visitor.
You can't walk a block in Savannah without seeing some SCAD reference, because the enterprise is  museum, school and community presence. With an emphasis on art and design, it has more programs than any other university in the country.
This piece focuses on the lovely museum, which challenges the mind, bends notions and knocks stereotypes into the stratosphere.

WE FOUND during two visits an intriguing array of exhibitions, all designed to challenge the mind and refigure our ways of considering the old-fashioned meaning of "museum."
Take for instance, the work of Patrick Dougherty. I first saw one of his graceful nature inspired installations in my native Montana at the Tippet Rise Art Center, a magical indoor-outdoor forum for art, music and nature.
We were delighted to discover another of his installations in Savannah. "Making the Birds Proud," which -- like the Montana piece --  uses vernacular building techniques and tree saplings to create a welcoming, site-specific sculptural building that twists, towers, bends, coils, and soars. "Walk right in, have a look," it seems to say.
At both Tippet Rise and the SCAD Museum of Art, Dougherty mixes his carpentry skills with his love for nature.  Other exhibits do this, too, in unique ways.  "Challenge" is the byword at the SCAD museum, where art, craftsmanship, and design open doors to the imagination and power of art, often encouraging participation from museum guests.
This Erwin Wurm photo challenges the viewer
to reconsider many things: style, fashion,
balance, always with a sly sense of humor.  
SCAD's buildings encompass
a sweeping architectural range.


WE STOPPED AT many works which invite touching and imagining in playful yet challenging ways.
Just as Dougherty bends and weaves twigs and sticks into tangible shapes, SCAD Museum of Art weaves and bends the imagination, encouraging excellence and high standards. Among SCAD students, guest artists and lecturers are "audacious artists and fashion phenoms," Academy Award winners, Grammy Award recipients and Pulitzer Prize winners, all dedicated to SCAD's mission of exploring the arts in thoughtful, novel ways. 

for instance, invites viewers to acknowledge ways in which fashion influences culture.  Students find new ways to view and create, whether the medium be photographs or jewelry, music, film, television or furniture -- almost everything the human experience encompasses.
SCAD pushes the envelope, whether
in its classes and projects and in the
provocative exhibits at its museum.

Consider Erwin  Wurm, our favorite guest artist.  His amusing and thought provoking pieces push the envelope, eliciting smiles even laughter. In one piece, a perfectly dressed, high-fashion male model balances artfully barefoot atop a horse -- reins in one hand, briefcase in the other.
Among other varied and ever changing SCAD museum exhibits is one by Korean born artist Cindy Ji Hye Kim.  Her "Silhouettes in Lune" is an intriguing installation of paintings, sculptures, and a striking hand-drawn mural. 
The open, airy exhibition spaces at SCAD's
museum encourage taking time to reflect.
NEARBY ATLANTA is considered by many the Hollywood of the South, and that is due in great part to  SCAD. Its role in Georgia's growing film and television industry can't be over emphasized, because it is partly generated by an enthusiastic group of students and alumni from  SCAD.
SCAD's influence reaches
around Savannah, including a
fun "Beach" retreat visited
recently by Keller & Cookie. 

Founded 45 years ago, SCAD has spent decades guiding and grooming students for Hollywood. The school proudly reports 43 SCAD grads from seven disciplines contributed to 11 Emmy-nominated shows, including "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel," "Ted Lasso" and "Succession." SCAD's film alumni have also produced many Oscar winning and Oscar nominated films including "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever" and "Avatar: The Way of Water."

Grace Delaney and Robert May weave a magical chemistry
as two lonely Irish seniors who form a meaningful friendship.
 Humor and pathos merge in this artful production, directed by
 Christopher Williams at Scripps Ranch Theatre, through Feb. 25.
BEST BET:  If there's a way you can beam yourself to San Diego, an absolute "must see" production is "Chapatti," on the boards at Scripps Ranch Theatre through Feb. 25.  Two terrific actors artfully deliver the lyrical script by Christian O'Reilly. The play tackles serious subjects -- including death and suicide.  But, in typical Irish form, its story unfolds with a perfect blend of humor and pathos. It's one of the top productions we've seen of hundreds in this talented corner of California.  "Chapatti" is both the name of Dan's dog and a popular Indian flatbread.  Betty is a lonely cat lover, who helps bring Dan back to the world of the living. The sensitive production captures the complex dynamic of loneliness and the human need for companionship on a charming, compact set. Broadway quality all the way.  

Tony DeSare headlines
with the Desert Symphony
Thursday, Feb. 29.
A musical oasis in the desert! Come with us to Palm Desert, where 35 years ago a group of culture loving music fans organized a symphony orchestra.  Through the years, Desert Symphony has grown to produce a five-part season of popular
Daniel Emmet, Pia Toscano
promise an evening of fun at
Desert Symphony's March 7gala.

performances featuring some of America's best known performers, from Andy Williams and Jose Feliciano to the March 7 hit duo, Daniel Emmet and Pia Toscano, who rose to fame in "America's Got Talent" and headline the Symphony's gala. There's still time to book tickets to the Feb. 29 concert by Tony DeSare, noted singer-songwriter, known for his wide-ranging repertoire of Frank Sinatra favorites, with a bit of Billy Joel and Elton John in the mix. Remember  to explore, learn and live, and catch us weekly for a unique spin on music, travel, nature, performance, family, the arts and more. For tickets: or 760 773-5988. 




  1. Our daughter scored a coveted SCAD scholarship years ago and is a successful set designer. Great place.

  2. Our daughter scored a SCAD scholarship and became a successful set designer. Proud of her and this wonderful school.

  3. We follow the exhibitions and enjoy a couple times a year.

  4. We Georgians are very proud of SCAD. Appreciate the story and fun photos.

  5. Enjoyed the SCAD piece! Excited to see the Desert Symphony piece. We are charter subscribers.

  6. So cool you saw another Patrick Dougherty installation. We love his Tippet Rise house.

  7. So happy to see your artful photos of this terrific museum. And the Patrick Dougherty installation is indeed incredible. Wurm's photos brilliant, too. Great piece.