The SCAD Museum of Art is a contemporary art and design museum conceived and designed expressly to enrich the educational milieu of SCAD students and faculty, and to attract and delight visitors from around the world.
This landmark rehabilitation project, the largest in SCAD history, advances the university's award-winning legacy of adaptive reuse and urban revitalization. The $26 million expansion will add 65,000 square feet to the museum's existing facility and features many notable design elements, including a prominent new entrance marked by an 86-foot tall steel and glass lantern; a contradistinctive facade uniting original 19th-century Savannah gray brick with modern composite materials; a manicured courtyard and streetscape; outdoor lecture and performance spaces; and an events terrace and adjoining atrium. Inside, the expansion grants an increase in overall space to more than 82,000 square feet total, enabling the museum to present engaging exhibitions and installations from renowned and emerging artists, as well as showcase works from the university’s diverse permanent collection. Much of the museum's expansion and redesign has focused on art stewardship, as evidenced by dedicated areas for shipment, quarantine, framing and de-framing, curatorial supply storage and art conservation.
SCAD maintains a permanent collection of more than 4,500 artworks, many of which will appear on rotation at the newly expanded museum. The SCAD permanent collection includes:
Walter O. Evans Collection of African American Art, one of the most significant collections of African American art, spanning more than 150 years and featuring prized works by Bannister, Duncanson, Bearden, Hunt and many more;
Earle W. Newton Collection, consisting of rare books, antique maps, paintings and work by Hogarth, Van Dyck, Gainsborough, Reynolds and Romney;
Haute couture from Yves Saint Laurent, Chanel, Oscar de la Renta and Givenchy, among others;
Modern and contemporary works by Salvador Dalí, Nicholas Hlobo, Annie Leibovitz, Robert Mapplethorpe, Wangechi Mutu, Robert Rauschenberg, Andy Warhol and Carrie Mae Weems, and more.
Classrooms at the SCAD Museum of Art have begun hosting 72 classes each week. Class disciplines include art history, museum studies, graphic design, fashion, production design and many more. Purpose-built to support the academic and creative programs at SCAD, the museum's theater hosts a monthly schedule of film screenings, academic lectures and master classes with visiting artists and creative professionals.
The SCAD Museum of Art expansion continues the university’s legacy of innovative building adaptation and reuse. Since 1978, SCAD has revitalized more than 100 structures in Savannah and Atlanta, Georgia; Lacoste, France; and Hong Kong.
The existing museum was housed in an 1856 Greek Revival structure that was once home to the headquarters of the Central of Georgia Railway. This National Historic Landmark is the only surviving antebellum railroad complex in the country. The expansion breathes life into the ruins of the adjacent 1853 railway depot, which had once extended over 800 feet along Turner Boulevard’s southern frontage in Savannah. Originally conceived as a major trade post for Savannah, the railroad complex was occupied by Union troops at the close of the Civil War. In the early 20th century, the area surrounding much of the Central of Georgia Railroad buildings emerged as an important African American commercial district and cultural hub, and remained so through the mid 20th century. Despite its prime location and significant pedigree, the complex was beset by five decades of neglect, and by the late 20th century the depot and its precious Savannah gray brick lay in ruins. Yet a wealth of natural beauty and possibility remained, sparking SCAD's commitment to its students and to the Savannah community at large.
Following a groundbreaking ceremony in January 2010, SCAD architects, designers and craftsmen have integrated the building's history with its bright new future, analyzing and reproducing key original components, down to the chemical compounds of the 19th-century mortar. The ethos of the new SCAD Museum of Art is best articulated by its glittering atrium, an 86-foot tall steel and glass lantern featuring the first beacon that welcomes visitors and elegantly redefines the Savannah city skyline.
Visitors to the new museum will encounter a 12-foot-long horizontal touch pad in the building's atrium, delivering images and comprehensive information about the museum's artists, exhibitions and events, accommodating up to 40 users at one time.
Wherever possible, museum designers and architects used sustainable, renewable materials and employed the very best in energy-saving technologies. At present, the museum is outfitted with low-energy-consuming light fixtures, zoned climate control, exterior cooling towers, low-flow plumbing fixtures for water-use reduction and low-emissivity (low-E) glass on the south elevation. Landscape planning for the courtyard made use of xeriscape planning, porous paving materials and custom irrigation plans.
Salvaged bricks and original heart pine timbers appear throughout the museum, as well as a majority of original high ceilings that allow for optimal temperature regulation and provide a dramatic background for the display and experience of art.