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Jepson Center, Telfair Academy now free to locals on Saturdays and Sundays

From April 2-Aug. 28, Telfair Museums waives weekend admission fees for six-county region

SAVANNAH, GA (April 1, 2022) — Two of the most popular museums in Savannah, the Jepson Center for the Arts and the Telfair Academy, are now offering free admission to locals on weekends for a limited time.

On Saturdays and Sundays from April 2-Aug. 28, Telfair Museums is waiving admission fees at its two sites on Telfair Square to residents across a six-county region: Chatham, Bryan, Effingham, and Liberty (Georgia), and Beaufort and Jasper (South Carolina). Parking in downtown Savannah is free on Sundays.

The new offering is in celebration of the landmark exhibition The Art of William O. Golding: Hard Knocks, Hardships, and Lots of Experience, which opened April 1 at the Jepson Center. Golding, the African American son of a Reconstruction Georgia lawmaker, was tricked aboard a sailing vessel as a youth while playing on Savannah’s River Street in the 1880s. He spent nearly 50 years circling the globe on a variety of sailing and steam ships before returning to the U.S. Marine Hospital in Savannah, where he spent his final years illustrating his experiences from memory in fantastical, detailed scenes of the ports he claimed to have visited throughout his life, from China to the horn of South America. This original Telfair exhibition, the largest ever presented of Golding’s work and organized by senior curator Harry DeLorme, brings together more than 70 of his drawings for the first time.

“Golding’s story is both an exciting and poignant seagoing tale,” DeLorme said. “His life intersected with major events in world history, and he left his mark in drawings that are chock full of creative invention, personal symbolism, and sailor’s lore. His work reflects his pride of service as a Black seaman in the U.S. Navy during times of war, and he deserves a much larger place in the history of American art.”

The new free-admission program is the largest and longest ever offered in Telfair’s 136-year history, adding 44 free days in 2022. Beyond the Golding show, the program will extend access to more than a dozen other exhibitions at the Jepson Center and the Telfair Academy during the promotion period, with a distinctive emphasis on works by Black artmakers and artists with connections to Savannah.

“We wanted to do something special to commemorate this incredible exhibition and Golding’s life and work,” explained Ben Simons, Telfair’s executive director/CEO, “while at the same time celebrating our whole community being back together, out and about. The conversation quickly evolved from, ‘How can we make this one amazing exhibition free?’ to ‘How can we broaden access for thousands of people to join us in enjoying art and history again in person?’ It’s a huge personal priority of mine as director to expand accessibility for our community to all that Telfair offers, and a great testament to the passion of our board of directors, our funding partners, and our exceptional Telfair team. We’re just thrilled to be able to do this.”

The Jepson Center, opened in 2006, and the Telfair Academy, opened in 1886, together house much of the museum’s more than 7,600-work permanent collection, as well as all of Telfair’s revolving exhibitions throughout the year. Telfair’s third site, the Owens-Thomas House & Slave Quarters on Oglethorpe Square, is not included in the free-admission promotion due to the historic landmark’s ticketing and capacity limits, though it remains available for touring through museum membership or standard admission, which is $22.

The Jepson Center and the Telfair Academy are open daily from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Investment in the new free-admission program is provided by the City of Savannah, the Georgia Council for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts, and other funding partners. For more information, visit

Telfair Museums Free-Admission Program

When: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays, April 2-Aug. 28

Where: Jepson Center and Telfair Academy, on Telfair Square in downtown Savannah

What: Free museum admission for locals; parking is free in Savannah on Sundays

Who: All residents of Chatham, Bryan, Effingham, and Liberty (Georgia), and Beaufort and Jasper (South Carolina) counties

Included Exhibitions

The Art of William O. Golding: Hard Knocks, Hardships, and Lots of Experience
April 1-Aug. 28 / Jepson Center
The first large museum survey of the work of William O. Golding (1874-1943), an African American seaman and artist, tricked aboard a ship as a boy on River Street, who recorded a half-century of maritime experience in more than one hundred vibrant drawings

Contemporary Spotlight: New Acquisitions from the Brandywine Workshop
Through May 1 / Jepson Center
Recently acquired lithographs by Black artmakers, including Faith Ringgold, Deborah Willis, Emma Amos, Selma Burke, Sonya Clark, Gwendolyn Knight, Samella Lewis, Janet Taylor Pickett, Howardena Pindell, Alison Saar, Betye Saar, and Lorna Williams

Bruce Davidson: Face to Face
Through May 1 / Jepson Center
A survey of the expansive career of American photographer Bruce Davidson (b. 1933), distinguished by his empathetic approach and sustained interaction with his subjects, which have made him a key figure in the history of American photography

Complex Uncertainties: Artists in Postwar America
Through May 1 / Jepson Center
An evolving exhibition grounded by works in Telfair’s modern and contemporary collection

Terra Incognita: Prints by Tissot
Through July 11 / Jepson Center
Works on paper by the 19th-century French artist James Jacques-Joseph Tissot (1836-1902), a painter known for his lush depictions of the upper-class and its social dramas
Chul-Hyun Ahn: Beyond
Through Aug. 7 / Jepson Center
A solo exhibition by Baltimore-based artist Chul-Hyun Ahn (Korean, b. 1971) whose light boxes made from LEDs, one-way mirrors, and sculptural materials create the suggestion of infinite space

Beyond: Light, Color, and Illusion
Through Aug. 7 / Jepson Center
Installations by artists exploring light, space, and illusion in videos and installations, including artist Ryan Buyssens’ kaleidoscopic motorized light sculpture, Aidan Lincoln Fowler’s video infinity mirror, and interactive video and video sculpture by Savannah-based and international artists.

Through Aug. 22 / Jepson Center
A sweeping group exhibition of more than 40 works from the museum’s permanent collection by artists with Savannah connections, including photography, watercolor, mixed media, encaustic, acrylic, charcoal, graphite, ink, oil paint, sculpture, and digital art

#art912 N/um
Opens April 29 / Jepson Center
A site-specific installation by Savannah- and New York City-based artist Tafy LaPlanche

BLOW UP: Inflatable Contemporary Art
Opens May 27 / Jepson Center
Large-scale inflatable sculptures conceived by nine cutting-edge artists and art collectives from around the world, overwhelming the Jepson Center galleries with a mix of playful and provocative themes, using captivating and sometimes disorienting colors, and ultimately challenging the boundaries of art

Opens July 22 / Jepson Center
A companion exhibition to CONVERGENCE that features works in Telfair’s permanent collection by artists with ties to the Southeast, including Nellie Mae Rowe, Rudolph Valentino Bostic, and Larry Connaster

Gothic Soul: Charles Meryon
Opens Aug. 19 / Jepson Center
This exhibition traces the tumultuous life and intriguing work of 19th-century French etcher Charles Meryon, from depictions of the South Pacific inspired by his time as a sailor in the Navy to his iconic prints of Paris during the Gothic Revival

Before Midnight: Bonaventure and the Bird Girl
Ongoing / Telfair Academy
Sylvia Shaw Judson’s iconic sculpture Bird Girl within the context of the history and art of Bonaventure Cemetery

About Telfair Museums:

Opened in 1886, Telfair Museums is the oldest public art museum in the South and features a world-class art collection in the heart of Savannah’s National Historic Landmark District. The museum encompasses three sites: the Jepson Center for the Arts, the Owens-Thomas House & Slave Quarters, and the Telfair Academy. For more information visit

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PO Box 10081
Savannah, GA 31412
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