It’s been more than a decade since Tybee Island has had its own art festival, and one group has been working to fix that. This summer, board members of the Tybee Arts Association been discussing the need for one such event and the wheels were set in motion.
On Saturday, the island is launching its first “Tour de Art,” which will highlight works and wares from over 60 area artists.
The group is hoping to make it a monthly event, with the next “Tour de Art” scheduled for Dec. 17. The festival will be hosted in more than a dozen galleries, shops, bars, and restaurants on the island’s North End, bringing business and attention to a range of local owners and creatives.
“We wanted it to have a pop-up market type of feel and to keep the event on the North End as there are no other North End specific events,” shared Charissa Murray, board member of Tybee Festival Association and co-chair of Tour de Art.
“Since it would be a tour of the North End shops, galleries, bars, and restaurants we thought it would be fun to call it Tour de Art.”
After bringing up the idea at the art association board meeting, Murray and Tour de Art co-chair Kelly Jones say the outpouring of response from the community has been special, as many local shops jumped on board.
Tour de Art has since received sponsorship support from Tybee Island favorites including Hucapoos, Tybean Art & Coffee, Inferno, Tybee Cottage Art Gallery, Seaside Sisters, Chamaco’s, TIM’s Bikes, Beachgear and Disc Golf, Irritable Pelican Gallery, Sea Wolf, Cockspur Grill, Sundae Cafe, High Tide Surf Shop, Salt Island, and more.
“The support from the community has really allowed this event to shine,” Jones added.
For Murray and Jones, launching this unique event is a project close to their heart. Both are local artists and participate in many other local art markets. The pair have worked on most events on Tybee Island in some sort of capacity for years, bringing their connections and passion to the festival’s creation and launch.
“We hope people get to enjoy all of the best things the area has to offer, all in one place,” Murray explained.
“This area has such an abundance of amazing local art, combined that with all the great restaurants and businesses on Tybee and there really is something for everyone, all in a family-friendly setting,” she said.
Tour de Art has enlisted more than 60 area artists and craftsmen for the first tour, featuring everything from stained glass and paintings, to cosmetics, pottery, jewelry, photography, fiber arts, sustainable goods, recycled art and more.
The group is hoping to add even more local artists to participate in the Dec. 17 event.
Many of the local businesses will be offering their own specials and surprises. The Pie Society food truck will be at The Shoppes at 1207, while Sea Wolf and Cockspur Grill will be hosting live music.
Chamaco’s and Sundae cafe will have specials for the day, while TIMS bikes (also an art stop) will be offering 15% off bike rentals so visitors can ride to all of the event stops.
Breezy Riders will be offering a $5 all-day pass on their bus, with stops at each of the locations so people can make it to every event stop with ease, organizers shared.
And as the festival grows, the Tour de Art group hopes to grow its mission too, with plans for future proceeds to help fund children’s scholarships and programs through the Tybee Arts Association.
It’s all aimed at highlighting the special community of artists and businesses that make Tybee Island so unique, sharing their talents with visitors and locals alike, Jones added.
“Maybe a visitor will find a piece of art or jewelry that they fall in love with or maybe they discover a new favorite restaurant or business that they haven’t tried before?” she said.
For more information about Tour de Art, visit tybeetourdeart.com.
IF YOU GO
WHAT: Tour de Art
WHEN: Saturday at 12 to 5 p.m.
WHERE: Tybee Island’s North End, U.S. Highway 80
INFO: Visit www.tybeetourdeart.com