SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Dozens of art galleries are scattered throughout the streets of downtown Savannah. Some have ridden the wave of revitalization. Others, like Signature Gallery, have been mainstays for decades.
Kathy Miller and Sharon Saseen are the two remaining founding partners for Signature Gallery at the corner of Jefferson and W. St. Julian streets. They’re approaching 30 years in business in the heart of Savannah’s City Market.
“You have to love it,” Miller said. “I mean, we’re creating artwork here and talking to customers. We’re also sweeping the floors and everything else that comes with it.”
Miller, Saseen and five other founding partners decided to take a leap of faith when City Market was undergoing a major facelift in the early 1990s. The market directors approached Kathy with an opportunity.
“She said ‘What about that storage room on the corner of Jefferson and St. Julian?” Miller remembers. “If you know an architect, and he will draw it up, we will build it out for you. Well, that was just fantastic. My son was an architect living in New York right then.”
“This was a holding place if you can believe it, with all these beautiful windows,” Saseen said. “It was boarded up and it held furniture. I think someone was trying to start an antique shop or a used furniture store.”
They opened the gallery in August 1992 and signed a five-year lease with City Market.
“None of us had ever done anything like this before, never taken on a responsibility like that, so, it was both frightening and exhilarating,” Miller said.
They’ve watched the market grow up around them and know they made the right decision all those years ago.
“I think where we are is huge,” Miller said. “Location, location, you’ve heard that every time. We’re going to keep on just so we don’t lose the location if nothing else.”
“I’ve just been a great witness to this town,” Saseen said. “I’m just so excited to have been alive during this particular process in our city to see it blossom.”
For more about Signature Gallery and its partners, click here.