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Early drawing of the Jepson Center from the building's architect, Moshe Safdie
Early drawing of the Jepson Center from the building's architect, Moshe Safdie

Jepson Center: History and Harmony

 

After a century of collecting, exhibiting, and educating Savannah and its visitors about art, history, and architecture, Telfair Museums’ Director and Board of Trustees identified the need for a new, larger facility. Their primary objectives were to increase the capacity for traveling exhibitions, continue an emphasis on education and community involvement, and increase archival storage for a growing collection. The museums’ Board of Directors envisioned a building representative of its time but also open, welcoming, and inviting. They also understood that, in a National Historic Landmark District, it would be challenging to express these ideals in architecture.

Five internationally recognized architectural firms presented their ideas to the trustees in 1998. The trustees unanimously chose Moshe Safdie and Associates. Safdie offered an outstanding international track record of responsible, compelling designs in historic settings, and he excited them with his passion about the possibilities of the new project. Safdie also offered a clear and stimulating vision of a building that would harmonize with its surroundings and welcome the community.

What nobody envisioned was a two-year controversy surrounding the proposed project as the design team made its case before Savannah’s Historic Review Board. Only the passion and dedication of countless individuals enabled the grand vision for the Jepson Center to endure, providing Savannah with a truly iconic structure that, in the words of Safdie, is “vital, contemporary, appropriate to the expression of art to come … and a building you cannot conceive of anywhere else but Savannah.”

Exhibitions

Earth Angel

Jepson Center
It’s hard to miss the large, shiny sculpture soaring over your head when you enter the Jepson Center’s atrium. Titled Earth Angel, the reflective butterfly is a site-specific installation by the collaborative Los Angeles-based duo FriendsWithYou, aka artists Samuel Borkson and Arturo Sandoval III.

Retreating

Jepson Center
The eighth annual Boxed In/Break Out features a series of photo collages by Polish American artist, designer, and professor Wioleta Kaminska. Viewers encounter the work as six large-scale, digitally manipulated photographs of merged Icelandic landscapes.

Frank Stewart's Nexus: An American Photographer’s Journey, 1960s to the Present

Jepson Center
Frank Stewart’s Nexus is the first major museum exhibition of photographer Frank Stewart’s work and centers on his sensitive and spontaneous approach to portraying world cultures and Black life in many forms—including music, art, travel, food, and dance. Organized into thematic groupings, the retrospective traces his explorations of life on the road and the trajectory of his stylistic journey, bringing together a comprehensive visual autobiography through over 100 black-and-white and color images.

Of a Feather: Birds in Art

Jepson Center
This exhibition explores the ways in which birds have captured artists’ imaginations, highlighting works of fine and decorative arts from Telfair’s permanent collection.

Telfair Children’s Art Museum – Now Open

The Jepson Center is now home to an engaging and immersive children’s art museum. With museum admission, visitors can Explore Impressionism in this state-of-the-art, multi-level play space.

Learn More

#art912

#art912 is an initiative dedicated to raising the visibility and promoting the vitality of artists living and working in Savannah through exhibition opportunities, public programs, and outreach.

Exhibition Opportunities

Boxed In/Break Out Artists are invited to submit proposals for a public art installation in the windows of the Jepson Center that face Barnard Street.

#art912 on Social Media

Telfair Museums encourages anyone who is making art, looking at art, or talking about art in Savannah to use #art912 on any social media platform to talk about art or artists in Savannah.

Upcoming #art912 Events

#art912 Boxed In/Break Out Artist Talk 2024

May 23 at 6pm7pm Jepson Center
In conversation with curator of modern and contemporary art Erin Dunn, artist Abby Edwards will share insights about her artistic practice and inspiration for Dirt and Stardust.

#art912: Of One Mind Artist Talk

July 18 at 6pm7pm Jepson Center
Join us for a special conversation between the artists behind the #art912 exhibition Of One Mind, Autumn Gary and Alexis Javier. Gary and Javier will exhibit an original sculptural installation around the theme of “oneness,” the timeless connections between humans’ worldly myths from ancient times to the present and our symbiotic relationship with all aspects of the cosmos.
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Telfair Museums
PO Box 10081
Savannah, GA 31412
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912.790.8800
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