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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

Gothic Soul: Charles Meryon

Jepson Center
Discover the life and work of Charles Meryon (1821–1868), a French artist whose fantastic and sinister prints of Paris helped launch an etching revival in the nineteenth century across Europe. The exhibition presents a sweeping view of Meryon’s oeuvre, from his etchings of the South Pacific, inspired by his travels as an officer in the French Navy, to now-iconic views of Paris and its Gothic landmarks.

Feels Like Freedom: Phillip J. Hampton

Jepson Center
Feels like Freedom: Phillip J. Hampton, the first large-scale museum retrospective of American painter Phillip J. Hampton (1922¬–2016), an artist long overdue for continued research and recognition. The exhibition traces Hampton’s incredible and innovative artistic production from illustrative realism to abstract experimentation. Beginning with his social realist drawings and paintings created in Savannah, viewers will be captivated by the artist’s creative evolution toward the freedom and self-discovery he found in abstraction. His innovative spirit will be showcased and celebrated through his use of experimental mediums including string gridwork, acrylic emulsions, and shaped canvases.

Elegies: Still Lifes in Contemporary Art

Jepson Center
Elegies: Still Lifes in Contemporary Art is a group exhibition bringing together an international collection of artists who have disrupted or extended the traditional presentation of still lifes. The artists have appropriated the genre in order to create works within a framework of Black diasporic identities, histories, and collective experiences. Their works are expressed through various mediums, including painting, photography, sculpture, printmaking, performance, and installation.

#art912 CONVERGENCE

Jepson Center
CONVERGENCE is an #art912 survey exhibition that brings together more than 40 works from Telfair Museums’ permanent collection from recent or current Savannah-based artists.

Telfair Children’s Art Museum – Opening at the Jepson Center in 2023

 

The Telfair Children’s Art Museum will address a significant need identified through our strategic planning process to provide an updated museum experience that offers our members, visitors, and our local school communities transformative learning experiences for all ages and styles of learning using modern technologies, immersive environments, and low-tech and hands-on activities. The new Children’s Art Museum will also serve as a major attraction for the thousands of visitors to our area, and for local families and school children seeking educational experiences that address the needs and expectations of contemporary audiences.

#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

There are no upcoming events at this time. Please check back soon!