SAVANNAH, GA – DECEMBER 28, 2023 – As 2023 ends, The Savannah African Art Museum is proud to celebrate the variety of community partnerships and initiatives the year has brought them. From museum-led workshops and events to collaborative efforts with local organizations and businesses, the museum looks forward to continuing these relationships and cultivating new ones in 2024.
The Museum rang in 2023 with their exhibit “Between Two Worlds: Connecting the Realms of the Seen and Unseen”, which centered around the intricate interweaving of cross-cultural belief systems to shed light on traditional cultural practices throughout continental Africa. The exhibition, created by SCAD graduate and Savannah African Art Museum intern Apollo Hamwey in collaboration with curators Billie Stultz and Edwin Johnson, Ph.D., allowed visitors to explore and consider the deep-rooted connections between the seen and unseen that link ancestors, communities, and cultures.
In addition to their exhibitions, The Museum also hosted a year-long workshop series titled “Honoring and Celebrating”. This three-part series centered around honoring & celebrating ancestors, family traditions, trailblazers, earth, and harvest time. The series included a wide variety of topics, including honoring families, celebrating trailblazers, highlighting harvest traditions and rituals, which segued into the final workshop, the African American Celebration, Kwanzaa which was created from the African Harvest Celebration, “First Fruits.”
In February, The Museum collaborated with local museums and organizations for the Savannah Black Heritage Festival, including a screening of the documentary “The Language You Cry In,” followed by an interview and Q&A with Griffin Lotson, a Gullah Geechee Historian and Commissioner Vice-Chair of the National Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Commission, led by Savannah African Art Museum’s, Education and Community Outreach Liaison, Lisa Jackson. The Museum also presented its “Tracing Your Roots: Tips & Resources” workshop in collaboration with the Bull Street Library – Kaye Kole Genealogy & Local History Room where Librarian Linda Bridges guided attendees through what resources are available at the library for Genealogy research, how one can get started on their search, and how to organize one’s findings.
In May the Museum was honored to participate in the 220th Igbo Landing Commemoration at St Simons Island, GA at the request of The Gullah Geechee Heritage Commission Vice-Chair. As the weather got warmer the Museum celebrated with wonderful free events, including a free outdoor jazz concert titled “African Rhythms to American Treasures: Celebrating the African Roots Of Jazz” featuring world-renowned jazz trombonist Teddy Adams and his sextet of talented local artists. Attendees enjoyed self-guided tours of the West African exhibit of the museum, delicious refreshments from Savannah’s Sweet Spice food truck, and incredible live music. The Museum also held its third annual Juneteenth Celebration in June, which reflected on and honored the past while celebrating the future. This event featured tours of the museum’s West African Collection of African Art, The Gullah Geechee Ring Shouters, The Deep Slam Team, Storytelling by J’Miah Nabawi, Zumba with Mai, oral presentation & liturgical Dance by the Youth of St Paul CME Church, history sharing, Resource & Info Tables of local service organizations serving the community, taste of traditional African food, and African & African centered art & items for sale.
This fall, The Museum partnered with the local school district and other educational organizations to bring African art and history into classrooms. The Museum proudly participated in the inaugural district wide STEAM conference on October 14, showcasing their workshops and programs to STEAM/STEM curriculum teachers across the district. The Museum then hosted Savannah Arts Academy drawing class students for a day of touring, photographing, & sketching inspiration, and collaborated with the Chatham County Public School System (SCCPSS) – District Visual Arts Specialist for a special Museum Tour & Presentation for art teachers K-12 on November 7. This county-wide presentation allowed public school art teachers to learn more about the museum’s collection, as well as resources available to their classes in person and on-line. Collaborations stretched beyond the county over a 3-week period in November when they welcomed 140 7th Grade students of Snelson-Golden Middle School, Hinesville, GA for tours & discussion as part of their Georgia Standards curriculum study of Africa and its history.
“We are so encouraged by the wonderful community here in Savannah and beyond, and the partnerships we have cultivated throughout the year,” said Lisa Jackson, Education and Community Outreach Liaison. “We hope to continue building lasting relationships into the new year and look forward to future collaborations and initiatives.”
Savannah African Art Museum remains dedicated to introducing all audiences to African art and culture. Its mission is to provide engaging experiences that educate and start conversations about the power, diversity, and spirituality of African art.
Savannah African Art Museum is available for collaboration with local organizations and encourages those interested to reach out regarding possible opportunities. To learn more about Savannah African Art Museum, upcoming workshops, and the museum’s newest collections, please visit www.savannahafricanartmuseum.org and follow The Museum on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Twitter at @SavannahAfricanArtMuseum.
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