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SCAD – The Savannah College of Art and Design

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Before moving to Savannah, we didn’t know much about the city. And although we weren’t expecting to find a Victorian-era scenario, with Southern belles strolling the streets and coquettishly dropping their handkerchiefs to attract the attention of menfolk, we also weren’t prepared to find the streets dominated by pink-haired girls and hipsters with ironic mustaches. In other words: we had no idea about the existence of SCAD.

I love ART

SCAD was only established in 1978, so it’s a relatively new entity in Savannah. But it has made its presence felt. The college has been instrumental in the purchase and restoration of innumerable buildings, doing more than its share to help re-beautify the city. With a sky-high tuition, and enrollment of over 10,000, SCAD is using its deep pockets for good rather than evil.

The college turns out some great talent, too, as a peek in at the SCAD Shop on Bull Street will confirm, where there is a wealth of innovative artwork. The shop could almost be a museum; we think it’s better than the Jepson Center, for example. And in 2011, the SCAD Museum of Art opened on Turner Boulevard. This museum has won a number of awards for both its architecture and exhibitions, and provides a place for students to study the work of accomplished artists.

SCAD boasts a strong foreign population, with students from over 100 countries, and has branches in France and Hong Kong. It’s hard not to appreciate the influence that this influx of artistic, mostly rich youth has had on Savannah. It’s become a city with cool restaurants, a hopping nightlife and a hip, urban vibe, in a historic and largely conservative region.

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January 26, 2011 at 7:32 pm Comments (3)

Madison Square

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Madison Square, on Bull Street between Chippewa and Monterey Square, is possibly the most monumental in Savannah. With a magnificent tribute to William Jasper as its centerpiece, Madison offers a wealth of things to see and do.

William Jasper

South Carolinian revolutionary hero Sgt. Jasper was mortally wounded during the Siege of Savannah. He had found fame during an earlier battle with the British, when he recovered a shot-down South Carolina flag and held it aloft in the midst of heavy fighting. The statue in Madison Square pays tribute to that event, and includes other scenes from his life.

Madison Sqaure’s southern flank is symbolically protected by defunct cannons from the Savannah armory. And a monument to the ill-fated 1779 siege, which cost both Jasper and Casimir Pulaski their lives, can be found in the square.

Around Madison, there’s enough to occupy an entire afternoon. You can visit the Green-Meldrim House, where General Sherman famously stayed during his sojourn in Savannah. With its cast-iron fence and extended covered porch, this National Historic Landmark from 1861 is a stunning example of the Gothic Revival style, and is connected to St. John’s Episcopal Church. According to legend, the ladies of the congregation, offended by the next-door presence of the enemy Yankee, rang the bells through the night, without pause. Sherman responded by having the bells removed.

Green Meldrin Garden

On the northwest corner of Madison is one of Savannah’s most famous residences: The Sorrel-Weed House. One of Savannah’s best examples of Greek Revival and Regency architecture, the house is the subject of numerous ghost stories.

Across Bull Street is of Savannah’s most unfortunate buildings: the Hilton DeSoto. An ugly, towering blight on the city’s skyline, the Hilton has loomed over the middle of Savannah since 1966, when it replaced the lovely red brick DeSoto hotel. Continuing clockwise around the square brings you to the most popular independent bookshop in Savannah, E. Shaver’s, where Jürgen and I stocked up on Savannah literature, during our first week in the city.

On the southeast corner of Madison is the SCAD shop, which is the perfect spot to hunt for unique gifts. And should you need a break while touring the houses and shops of Madison Square, you can stop in at the popular Gryphon Tea Room. With its high ceilings, cozy furniture and classy interior, this former pharmacy is a great place to relax tired feet.

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January 26, 2011 at 1:49 pm Comment (1)

Pulaski Square

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Laid out in 1837 and named in honor of the Polish revolutionary hero, Casimir Pulaski, who died during the Siege of Savannah, Pulaski Square is another of Barnard Street’s quiet, residential squares.

Hand Tree

Pulaski Square is devoid of monuments; there’s not even one honoring its namesake (Pulaski’s obelisk is in Monterey Square). But Pulaski does have the most impressive collection of Southern Live Oaks of all Savannah’s squares, making it an agreeable place to pass through, or relax for a spell.

Live Oaks, gorgeous residences, Spanish Moss. Let’s see, there’s something missing. Ah yes, SCAD of course! There’s not a corner of the city without the university’s sticky, paint-caked fingers all over it. The college put its stamp on Pulaski Square in 1995 by purchasing its most stately building, the red brick Pulaski House. Originally built in 1915 by the Jewish Educational Alliance, it’s now used as a girl’s dormitory.

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January 15, 2011 at 7:19 pm Comments (4)
SCAD - The Savannah College of Art and Design Before moving to Savannah, we didn't know much about the city. And although we weren't expecting to find a Victorian-era scenario, with Southern belles strolling the streets and coquettishly dropping their handkerchiefs to attract the attention of menfolk, we also weren't prepared to find the streets dominated by pink-haired girls and hipsters with ironic mustaches. In other words: we had no idea about the existence of SCAD.
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