For more than 15 years in Savannah and Atlanta, SCAD has hosted Open Studio, a fine arts showcase where community members can purchase original art works, launching the careers of young artists and generating funds for SCAD tuition scholarships through the SCAD Student Relief Fund. Open Studios, which take place throughout the year at both U.S. locations of SCAD, also features the work of alumni and professors. Most of the proceeds go directly to the artists themselves, with a percentage being devoted by SCAD to the student fund, which provides tuition aid to students in need, especially needed during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Earlier this summer, from June 26-28, SCAD hosted a first for the university: a Virtual Open Studio event featuring more than 500 individual artists, making it the largest Open Studio in SCAD history. In any given year, Open Studio draws more than 3,000 potential buyers to campus. The virtual event drew more than 11,000, and more than 150 works of art by 66 artists were sold.
All art works were selected by a jury comprising SCAD professors and the university’s curatorial staff who manage the SCAD Permanent Collection. Selection began from a large group of thousands of entries, and submissions were narrowed down, based on a number of factors. This event also provides student artists with invaluable experience pricing their work, engaging prospective clients, and networking with collectors and gallerists from across the U.S.
SCAD Open Studio artists represent a broad array of creative disciplines, including printmakers, painters, photographers, and illustrators, such as Ashna Malik (B.F.A., painting, 2020), Anthony ‘Mojo’ Reed (B.F.A., sequential art, 2015), Bradley Collins (B.F.A., painting, 2020), Carla Contreras (M.F.A., painting, 2019), Conrad Maxwell Girod (B.F.A., photography, 2020), Elli Burris (M.F.A., printmaking), and Jaylyn Lassiter (M.F.A., painting).
“Though this is our first event designed to directly benefit the Student Relief Fund, donations to the fund are an annual focus during our faculty/staff giving campaign, annual fund appeal, and Giving Tuesday initiatives,” said Rachel Evans-Grant, director of SCAD Art Sales. “Now more than ever it is important to support and uplift the creative voices in our communities. SCAD’s first online Open Studio event will enable patrons around the world to shop original SCAD artwork from our talented emerging artists.”
“The benefits of a virtual Open Studio are obvious,” said Paula Wallace, SCAD founder and president. “In years past, the event was hyper-local, with most guests from within the community around our Savannah and Atlanta locations. This year, we have interest from collectors and SCAD friends all across the world. Everything is viewable and available for purchase online, whether you’re in Atlanta or Athens, Savannah or Seoul.”
“The jury process was very similar to past annual events,” said Evans-Grant, “allowing submissions from current students, alumni, and faculty. Offering the event virtually allowed us to reach a broader audience outside of our local communities, and we were able to support our artists at the same rate that we have in the past for the in-person events.”
Open Studio is closely affiliated with and managed by SCAD Art Sales, the university’s platform for selling and installing SCAD student, alumni, and professor art work in homes, hotels, and office buildings around the world. Learn more at www.scadartsales.com.
Moving forward, the university plans to create a hybrid Open Studio event, where collectors, gallerists, and community members can engage SCAD artists in person, at SCAD locations in Savannah and Atlanta, as well as online through the virtual portal.
“SCAD artists are international, and the technology allows the university to make Open Studio a truly global event,” said Wallace.
Evans-Grant added, “SCAD’s mission is to prepare talented students for creative professions through engaged teaching and learning in a positively oriented university environment, and this event advances that important work.”