Savannah Local Artists Market highlights local talent

Savannah Local Artists Market, or SLAM as it’s more commonly referred to, is a free once or twice a year event showingcasing some of the area’s best artistic talent. Taking place in a festival-type environment at the baseball field adjacent to the Salvation Army Community Center at 3000 Bee Road, everything about it is a reflection of the event’s creator, Charlie Elis.

“It’s probably Savannah’s most important, greatest outdoor [networking event],” he noted without hubris. “I’d say it’s a fun event for artists and people alike.”

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When I met the gregarious Ellis at The Sentient Bean to chat about this year’s iteration, which takes place Saturday from 10 am until 4 pm, he was wearing a hand-painted SLAM hat as well as a green “I’m a Slammer” t -shirt. As he approached the table I’d reserved for us, artist and co-organizer Deborah Sherron Miller at his side, he joked, “You have to give up your dignity,” handing Miller and I shirts of our own.

'Cityscape' by Deborah Sherron Miller

That’s Ellis in a nutshell: Funny, self-deprecating, unpretentious, and generous. And, perhaps more than anything, someone that wants to do whatever he can to help support our local art community.

“Artists who are just starting out, it’s hard for them to scrape up $100” for an entry fee, Miller explained. “Plus they have to buy a tent, they have to bring their own table, their own chairs.”

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“That’s what so great about this event,” she added. “They can bring an umbrella and put it up and have a table. It’s very open.”

'Red Sky' by Deborah Sherron Miller

Amazingly, there will be over 80 artists signed up to showcase their work this time around, and, while it’s certainly got it’s share of first-time exhibiters, many of the artists are art show veterans whose names you’ll most certainly recognize.

Tamara Garvey, whose whimsical ink drawings and paintings have been featured at group and solo exhibitions all over the city, regularly participates in art fairs both in Savannah and elsewhere, selling prints, cards, and bookmarks in addition to her original artworks. But SLAM, she says, is special.

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