Modern… Savannah?

Impression of Savannah Photo: James Leasure

Long considered one of America’s most charming (and most haunted!) city, Savannah might not be the first (or second, or third) place you think of when “modern” springs to mind, but if you take a longer look at this historic Georgia town on Georgia’s Atlantic coast, you’ll find a thriving art, design and, dining scene flourishing alongside the beautiful historical squares and architecture that has drawn visitors from around the world for decades.

Anchored by antebellum southern architecture that survived the Civil War intact, Savannah’s modern revival is spurred by two huge influences – the world-renowned Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) and the Telfair Museums Jepson Center for the Arts designed by world-renowned architect Moshe Safdie. 

Opened in 2006, The Jepson Center houses an incredible collection of modern works by artists like Roy Lichtenstein, Jeff Koons, Robert Rauchenberg and more, and is also home to the now-iconic “Bird Girl” statue from the cover of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil – known simply as “the book” to local

Jepson Center for the Arts  Photos:James Leasure

Unfortunately time didn’t permit us to take the guided architectural tour, but you can listen to some of the clips online if an in-person visit isn’t in the cards right now.

Hand in hand with the art and design scene is an up-and-coming dining scene.  Again, while one might not think of contemporary dining first, it’s there if you look.  As visitors, we weren’t sure where to begin, so we tracked down a local SCAD student and asked her for suggestions and she pointed us to Atlantic. Housed in a revitalized gas station a short drive away from the Historic District, Atlantic bills itself a “a neighborhood eatery,” but don’t let the modesty fool you – the atmosphere was perfect, the food delicious, and the vibe utterly contemporary.   

The Bar at Atlantic  Photo:James Leasure

Savannah has been, and probably always will be, known primarily for her history, but if you find yourself there for a few days, there’s a surprising amount of interest for the modern enthusiast, especially if art is high on your list!

What other cities have surprising modern communities that might not be obvious at first?  Let us know so we can share with our readers!   

Savannah Waterfront  Photo:James Leasure

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