The SCAD Museum of Art invites visitors to travel through history on February 6 for Super Museum Sunday with free SCAD tours.
The tour celebrates Black History Month and highlights SCAD’s commitment to preserving local black history and the university’s enduring fellowship with community leaders.
“I’m excited when people have the opportunity to engage and learn more about their history,” said Darrell Naylor-Johnson, senior director of library services at SCAD and one of the tour guides.
Naylor-Johnson has been part of the SCAD family for over 30 years. First as a student and then as an employee. He has observed first hand the changes and impact SCAD has had on the preservation and history behind the rescued buildings.
“Since the 1980s, SCAD President and Founder Paula Wallace has worked with community leaders like former Mayor Edna Jackson, pioneering African-American art collector Dr. Walter Evans, and the late WW Law and the Dr. Abigail Jordan,” Naylor-Johnson said.
“Together, they collaborated to save buildings – including some of Savannah’s first schools for black children and the Georgia Central Railroad Depot that was built by slaves – and install historical markers, create monuments and produce films to tell important stories for generations to come.”
From important civil rights sites to major contemporary restoration initiatives, each stop on the tour brings together visionary voices from Savannah’s African American past, present, and future.
The bus tours will pass by many important black historical buildings and markers and make a few stops – at the SCAD Museum of Art, Arnold Hall and the Jen Library to showcase significant moments in Savannah’s black history that SCAD has contributed to preserve and honor.
One of the buildings on the tour is the Beach Institute, founded in 1865 during Reconstruction as the first official school for African Americans in Savannah.
The building had been abandoned, and in 1988 the prominent Savannahian WW act asked SCAD president and founder Paula Wallace to save the Beach Institute.
SCAD won the tender for the purchase of the building and restored it. Today, the original historic building houses the Beach Institute African American Cultural Center.
“Law understood the importance of community and this school. Keeping it and being part of the community underscores the significance of the building and the importance of the work displayed there,” said Naylor-Johnson.
Other parts of the tour include SCAD’s role in the design and sculpting of the African American Monument in Savannah, the story of Virginia Jackson Kiah, and more.
“It’s the continuous telling of a story. Once the building is preserved, people talk about it and want to know more. I see people doing this more to understand the depth and richness of the city’s history,” Naylor-Johnson said.
Tours also include special performances by current performing arts students and American Idol winner Candice Glover (playwriting BFA) and a screening in the SCAD MOA Theater of the SCAD-produced documentary “A Thousand Miles and Counting” , which explores the historic journey of William and Ellen Craft as they traveled the country, including the site where the museum now stands, in search of freedom from slavery.
The free two-hour tours will take place at 11 a.m., 1 p.m., and 3 p.m., beginning and ending at the SCAD Museum of Art located at 106 Turner Blvd. Tickets are available on eventbrite.com – just search for SCAD Tours