Local artists add color to Starland District

Local News

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) — The Starland District in downtown Savannah is getting an upgrade.

Eight local artists are installing murals on the east and south walls of Starland Dairy on 41st and Bull Street.

The Starland Mural Project is an initiative to support the funding, creation, and conservation of murals in the district. It’s supported by the Starlandia Foundation — the non-profit charitable arm of Starlandia Supply.

The foundation supports artistic programming that positively impacts youth, artists and the community.

“The Starland Mural Project is inspired by the idea that art should be for everyone,” says Clinton Edminster, the owner of Starlandia Supply. “Murals are a way for our communities to declare our stories, the ones we’re making right now.”

“It’s our little way of sharing who we are and who we want to be,” Edminster added. “We think this project will inspire others to see a blank wall as a space to tell a story and to encourage a new way for artists to work and thrive in our city.”

The eight artists began their murals in early October following approval from the Historic Sites and Monuments Commission (HSMC).

The murals will decorate the district for a year until Starland Dairy is renovated. The exterior of the building is going to be returned to its original form — circa 1935.

The murals will be on display until the restoration goes into full swing.

News 3 spoke with three of the artists participating in the project. Meet them below.

José Ray

Coming from the midwest, José arrived in Savannah late 2007 to attend the Savannah College of Art and Design. While studying Painting and Illustration, he became involved in the local art and music scene by following interests that helped to round out his education and work style. Since graduating, José chose to stay in Savannah where he now works as a multi-disciplinary artist. You can see his work on public walls, galleries, bookshelves of your local bookstore, and even in the DJ booth downtown. He has another mural on 40th and Drayton, a few around Savannah and along the east coast.

Kevin Bongang

Kevin Bongang was born in Cameroon, West Africa and raised in Savannah, Georgia. He majored in illustration at Savannah College of Art and Design, where he was able to hone his signature style using bold colors, swirling lines, and imagery that’s cohesive and unique. He’s collaborated with businesses like Jamba Juice, Coca Cola, Bonnaroo Music Festival, Comcast, MailChimp and more.

Jon Witzky

Jon Witzky is an artist living and working in Savannah, Georgia. He grew up in Columbus, Ohio where he spent the majority of his time hanging out in record stores and bars. At some point, he decided he wanted to pursue art-making as a full-time gig, so he went back to school. In 2014, he received a BFA from Ohio State University. In 2018, he received his MFA from Southern Illinois University Carbondale. Jon is currently teaching art at Georgia Southern University. He recently curated a pop-up video exhibition at the Expose Art House in Montgomery, Alabama, and had his first solo show in Savannah at Sulfur Studios this summer. Jon has been working as an artist professionally for about twenty years and usually creates large-scale paintings on canvas. But for this project, he’ll be trying his hand at mural art for the first time.

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