SCAD40


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SCAD Founder Paula Wallace dared to dream of a world-class art school in her hometown. Forty years later, that dream has transformed the city of Savannah.

Founded on a dream and funded by the resale price of a used Volkswagen Beetle, SCAD has grown from humble beginnings into a global powerhouse of the art world.

For anyone who has ever doubted the power of a dream — even a dream so outlandish that most folks would just laugh it off — Paula Wallace would like a word.

Wallace’s impossible dream turned 40 last year, and as the celebration of its first four decades winds down, Savannah College of Art and Design — better known simply as SCAD — is reflecting on its past while trying to stay one step ahead of tomorrow.

Since Wallace, then an elementary school art teacher, went all-in on her dream to create an art school in then-struggling downtown Savannah — and convinced her parents, Paul and May Poetter, to do the same — SCAD has grown into a global powerhouse in the creative world.

“SCAD invented higher education for the creative professions by boldly declaring, ‘No starving artists!’”

A POWERFUL STORY

From SCAD’s unlikely origins to its position as a leader in producing top-flight talent across multiple creative fields, it’s all detailed in the recently opened SCADstory — an immersive 4D experience created by a group of SCAD alumni, including former Disney Imagineers.

Located in Poetter Hall — in the former Savannah Volunteer Guard Armory where the university got its start 40 years ago — SCADstory features an animated version of Wallace giving the abbreviated version of the school’s origin story and meteoric rise. The presentation is moving, equal parts inspirational and whimsical, and serves as an excellent primer on the university that reshaped Savannah’s historic district for visiting tourists, prospective students, or anyone in between.

As the animated Wallace tells visitors to SCADstory, downtown Savannah was mostly forgotten and dotted with dilapidated buildings in the late-1970s, but she was determined in her vision to transform the historic district into SCAD’s living, breathing campus. Beginning with the initial purchase of the Savannah Volunteer Guard Armory, the university has rehabilitated more than 50 historic structures in Savannah and is credited with playing a major role in the city’s rebirth.

SCAD and the modern version of Savannah have grown up together, both mimicking the real-life metaphors Wallace often invokes when sharing her story and in her memoir, “The Bee and the Acorn.” The bee, which is SCAD’s mascot, defies logic by flying and works with its peers to create something greater than it could alone. The acorn seems insignificant until it blossoms into a mighty oak.

It’s easy to see why Wallace favors those metaphors when describing SCAD’s growth from offering one program to 71 students in 1979 to enrolling nearly 15,000 students in more than 100 degree programs in 2019.

“SCAD invented higher education for the creative professions by boldly declaring, ‘No starving artists!,’” Wallace says. “Forty years later, SCAD is the preeminent source of knowledge in every discipline we teach.”

These SCAD students won Walt Disney Imagineering’s 28th Imaginations Design Competition. They are, from left, Ezekiel Waters, Carolyn Teves, Nicholas Hammond and Remi Jeffrey-Coker. [photo by Gary Krueger]

A POWERFUL DRAW

One of the most climactic moments during the SCADstory experience (spoiler alert!) comes when the room darkens and a storm blows in. As thunder rumbles through the room and lightning flashes all around, the animated Wallace recounts the arrival of Hurricane David, just weeks before SCAD was set to open, and wonders aloud whether anyone will show up.

They did. And they haven’t stopped coming.

Since that first enrollment class of 71 students, SCAD has produced more than 35,000 alumni at four campuses worldwide — in Savannah, Atlanta, Hong Kong, and Lacoste, France — as well as through e-learning.

Students come from all over the globe — but the draw can be just as powerful for creative types growing up in SCAD’s sizable footprint. Senior Zeke Waters, who will graduate as the valedictorian of SCAD Savannah’s 2019 class, is from the textile hotbed of Calhoun, Georgia, and grew up hearing about SCAD and seeing the large sign marking the university’s Atlanta campus.

From a young age, Waters declared his intention to attend SCAD, but when it came time to actually research potential colleges, he was taken by the idea all over again.

“When I started doing more research to apply for schools, I started seeing the alumni and the type of work that was being done out of SCAD,” Waters said. “I kind of instantly knew that these people were creating industry-leading work, and that was exactly what I wanted to do. I wanted to create work that was thought-provoking, as well as just really cool, for lack of a better term.”

Oh, SCAD does cool.

Subscribe now to the print edition for the full article.

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Greatest Chefs 2019

Chefs are invisible artists. They keep us salivating, our minds fixated on the last time we ate at our favorite restaurant, and when the next time we plan on going. Nominate your favorite chef now!

Greatest Pets 2019

Man's Best Friend can be South's Greatest Pet with the right amount of love. Enter your pet and get those votes! Limited to southeast Georgia and the Lowcountry. Voting begins June 10 and ends July 1.
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Events Calendar

  • Summer Sea Camp

    May 27, 2019
    9:30 AM - 4:00 PM @ Tybee Island Marine Science Center

    Kids 6 to 11 years old * Morning and/or Afternoon Modules * After Care * Curbside Drop-off/Pick-up   Summer FUN for the kids…designed to fit...

  • Summer Reading Program

    Jun 01, 2019
    10:00 AM - 5:15 PM @ Live Oak Public Libraries

    Reach for the stars with Summer Reading Program at Live Oak Public Libraries! Explore "A Universe of Stories" from June 1 through July 31...

  • "The Prints of Dame Laura Knight" Exhibition at Telfair Museums

    Jan 19, 2019
    10:00 AM - 5:00 PM @ Telfair Museums' Jepson Center

    Telfair Museums exhibits nine prints by Dame Laura Knight (British, 1877-1970), together for the first time since they were acquired by the museum...

  • SS Savannah (1819-2019)

    May 23, 2019
    10:00 AM - 5:00 PM @ Ships of the Sea Museum

    2019 marks the 200th anniversary of the SS Savannah's groundbreaking trans-Atlantic crossing.  In recognition of this monumental achievement,...

  • Ready. Set. Summer. at Bluemercury!

    May 13, 2019
    10:00 AM - 8:00 PM @ Bluemercury

    Summer is quickly approaching – stop into your local neighborhood beauty store Bluemercury for all the essentials you need to refresh your...

  • "Keita Takahashi: Zooming Out" Exhibition at Telfair Musuems

    Jan 24, 2019
    10:00 AM - 5:00 PM @ Jepson Center

    Telfair Museums hosts the first museum survey of the work of visionary videogame designer Keita Takahashi (Japanese, b. 1975). Takahashi is noted...

  • Cocktail Classes in Congress Street Up

    Jun 17, 2019
    6:00 PM - 7:30 PM @ Congress Street Up

    This 1.5 hour long experience takes place in Congress Street Up, in the 1920’s style speakeasy inside the American Prohibition Museum. Using...

  • French Moderns: Monet to Matisse, 1850-1950

    Jun 15, 2019
    All Day @ Consumer Museum of Art and Garden

    The biggest names in French art such as, Paul Cézanne, Edgar Degas, Henri Matisse, Claude Monet, and Pierre-Auguste Renoir will be showcased...

  • Coastal Heritage Society Summer Camps

    Jun 03, 2019
    All Day @ Tricentennial Park

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  • Tacos for a Cause

    Jun 18, 2019
    11:00 AM - 10:00 PM @ Bull Street Tacos

    Every Tuesday Bull Street Taco presents Taco’s for a Cause supporting a different charity every Month! All day long (11am-10pm)

  • Tiggy Needs A Kidney

    Jun 21, 2019
    6:00 PM - 10:00 PM @ Hogan's Marina

    Join us for a fun event at Hogan's Marina to raise awareness and funds for Tiggy's kidney transplant.  The event will take place from...

  • Friday Concert Series

    May 03, 2019
    7:00 PM - 12:00 AM @ Historic Courthouse, Downtown Blairsville on the S

    Come enjoy live music every Friday Night from the first Friday of May through the end of October. The Historic Union County Court House will host...

  • Collin's Barefoot Comedy Club w/Tommy Ryman

    Jun 21, 2019
    8:00 PM - 10:00 PM @ Tybee Post Theater

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  • Movie NIght in the Courtyard at Foxy Loxy

    Jun 21, 2019
    8:00 PM - 10:00 PM @ Foxy Loxy Cafe

    Join Foxy Loxy Cafe the third Friday of every month for movie night!

  • WhasSUP Yogis? Stand Up Paddleboard Yoga with Biza Mabry

    Jun 22, 2019
    11:00 AM - 12:15 PM @ Wymberly Dock, Isle of Hope

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  • Shagging at the Rock

    Jun 22, 2019
    12:00 PM - 8:00 PM @ The Blowing Rock Attraction

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  • WhasSUP Yogis? Stand Up Paddleboard Yoga with Biza Mabry

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  • SCAD Cinema Circle: Do the Right Thing

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Scenes of the South

JCB Mudfest 2019

JCB doesn't it again with the JCB Mudfest. This year’s race excited and challenged with 5 miles or 5 kilometers of mud and obstacles. As always, some of the favorites like the JCB lake and tire field will be back in all their glory with a few new shake-ups to kept it interesting.

Ships of the Sea Maritime Museum's 200th Anniversary!

This past Wednesday, May 22, we celebrated with Ships of the Sea Maritime Museum for for the 200th anniversary of the SS Savannah's historic trans-Atlantic crossing — the WORLD'S FIRST oceanic voyage under steam! On this year's Maritime Day, Ships of the Sea celebrated the Savannah's 200th anniversary with a commemorative ceremony provided by the PROPELLER CLUB, where Robert Morris unveiled two eight-foot paintings. The evening also included an amazing performance by the Parris Island MARINE BAND, complimentary hors d'oeuvres and celebratory beverages!

Brews For A Cause at Top Deck

This past Tuesday, May 21 we celebrated another successful Brews for a Cause at Top Deck Bar! We joined up with Southern Eagle and a great group of like minded people to benefit Two Hundred Club of the Coastal Empire in their efforts to provide financial assistance to the surviving families of local law enforcement officers and firefighters who lose their lives in the line of duty. It was another memorable night in the South filled with great people and even greater crafted beer! This month's Featured Craft Beer: Island Coastal Lager Sponsors: Island Coastal Lager, Two Hundred Club of the Coastal Empire, Southern Eagle, South Magazine

SCAD Fashion Show 2019

It's the celebrated return of SCAD's spring fashion shows, touting the Savannah debut of the latest collections by top senior and graduate students. Live for the runway and off-duty looks over this four-day campaign as you get to know the next big names.

Nine Line Foundation Dinner

On Friday, May 17, Nine Line hosted their Foundation Dinner that included special guests WWE Superstars Mark Calaway aka The Undertaker, Dustin Rhodes aka Goldust, John “Tig” Tiegen, hero of Benghazi portrayed in the movie “13 Hours,” Chad Prather, comedian and social media celebrity, and Graham Allen, social media celebrity. Guests mingled with the superstars and bid on auction items to raise money for the foundation. Matt Lyda put on a stellar performance as the MC of the event and kept the crowd entertained and bidding.

6th Annual Nine Line Run for the Wounded

The Nine Line Foundation and Nine Line Apparel celebrate Armed Forces Day for their 6th Annual 5K/10K Run for the Wounded in Savannah, Georgia. Proceeds from the race go directly towards their newest initiative: building a transitional community, a Veterans Village, for homeless veterans right here in Savannah, Georgia. With both 5K and 10K options available, this twilight run turned out to be another great success.

Nine Line Foundation Dinner

On Friday, May 17, Nine Line hosted their Foundation Dinner that included special guests WWE Superstars Mark Calaway Aka: the Undertaker, Dustin Rhodes aka: Goldust, John Tiegen "Tig" hero of Benghazi portrayed in the movie "13 Hours", Chad Prather, Comedian and Social Media Celebrity, and Graham Allen, Social Media Celebrity. Guests mingled with the superstars and bid on auction items to raise money for the foundation. Matt Lyda put on a stellar performance as the MC of the event and kept the crowd entertained and bidding.

SCAD40 Block Party

SCAD celebrated their 40th anniversary with a grand block party. Fellow alumni reconnected with university faculty and staff. ShopSCAD had live artist demonstrations, live music at the Gryphon, keepsakes and SCAD40 merchandise to purchase at the Art’s Café, SCAD food trucks with tasty treats and much more.

Kessler Collection’s Armstrong-Kessler Mansion Ribbon Cutting Ceremony

Local hotelier Richard Kessler and his company The Kessler Collection officially cut the ribbon on his newly restored home in Savannah, the Armstrong-Kessler Mansion. This iconic home celebrates its 100th birthday this year, and his been meticulously restored to its former grandeur as one of the foremost examples of Italian Renaissance architecture and design in America. Congratulations to Richard Kessler and The Kessler Collection!

The Clyde

The Clyde Venue is Savannah’s newest, most modern, wedding venue located in the Historic Landmark District. The space has been completely renovated, and a work in progress for more than a year. The venue is 5,200 square feet and includes a grande room, large marble bar, catering prep area, and restrooms. It’s located at 223 Martin Luther King Boulevard.