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4 Reasons Why Tybee Island Will Bring Out Your Inner Artist

For a quaint beach town, Tybee Island’s local art scene is exceptionally lively. There’s something offbeat and magnetically unpretentious about the work and culture that emerges from the island’s galleries. Cate Campbell, a local artist and member of the Tybee Art Cottage Co-Op, talked to us about what exactly makes Tybee’s art scene so special.

1. It’s from the heart.

“Art should be from the gut,” Campbell explains. Most artists on the barrier island are more concerned with creating something heartwarming than making a statement. Tybee Art Cottage’s neighboring gallery, Fish Art, is a perfect example of this. Its indoor-outdoor space is overflowing with eclectic art and vintage items. All of Fish Art’s pieces were created by Ralph Douglass Jones, and most of them have been created to look like –you guessed it– fish.

 

2. It’s memorable.

The art also plays a huge role in helping visitors remember their trip. “People come here and want something that reminds them of Tybee,” says Campbell, who had just sold an original painting of a mermaid to a visiting Dutch couple. Creating a piece of art for someone’s home means they’ll be looking at it every day. Artists like Campbell realize how sacred a task that is.

3. It’s independent.

Thanks to its rich culture and influence from the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), Savannah is famous for its artistic side. However, the Tybee art scene is its own world. Aside from the influence of nature and Southern culture, the neighboring communities are very distinct. “We’re allowed to be a little freer here on the island,” Campbell points out. Independence clearly shines through the work in her co-op’s gallery, comprised of mostly older artists who have found their artistic niche.  

4. It’s all about the beach.

Love for the ocean is what creates camaraderie among Tybee’s artists. “Everyone is here because they’re inspired by their surroundings,” says Campbell, sitting amongst countless coastal-themed paintings, photographs and sculptures in the Tybee Art Cottage. This mutual passion not only creates a unifying friendship among the artists; it also makes the galleries extremely friendly and welcoming to visitors. Next time you visit Tybee Island, pop in and have a look. But consider yourself warned: the artistic vibe is contagious!

 

Bryson Schmidt is Visit Tybee’s creative intern and a student at Savannah College of Art and Design. You can usually find him biking down Bull Street or playing in various rock bands in Savannah’s music scene.

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