Thompson Savannah features new art installation, curated by local gallerist Susan Laney | Visual Arts | Savannah News, Events, Restaurants, Music

Thompson Savannah features new art installation, curated by local gallerist Susan Laney | Visual Arts | Savannah News, Events, Restaurants, Music

Thompson Savannah is featuring a new art installation with hopes of connecting both locals and tourists to art and culture in the Hostess City. 

The new installation is a part of the Thompson brand’s “Culture Lives Here” campaign. 

The hotel has partnered with local gallerist Susan Laney, owner of Laney Contemporary, to bring 40-50 pieces of work by Atlanta-based Benjamin Jones to its lobby.  

Jones’ featured works include sculptures of rabbits made from multicolor pins and pom poms, a display of hundreds of toy animals from Jones’ childhood, drawings and more. Laney Contemporary says Jones has been creating art for over 25 years that shows his “innermost feelings and insecurities, while touching a familiar place in all of us.”

Matt Graham, General Manager of the Thompson Savannah, says the point of the “Culture Lives Here” campaign is not to feature Savannah-themed art in the hotel’s lobby, but to celebrate work found in local galleries or by local artists that will be attractive to Savannahians. He says when locals enjoy a hotel in town, it creates a better experience for tourists and ultimately benefits the entire community. 

“The best way to make a hotel great for visitors to Savannah is to make it relevant to locals in Savannah,” Graham said. “If we can position this hotel as having some relevance to what we find interesting, whether it’s established or up-and-coming, here, it lends a value to the community that guests feel when they visit.”

“If you come to the bar in the evening as a visitor, and the person to your left or to your right is someone from Savannah, it opens up the experience of visiting Savannah in a different way and connects you a little more to what’s happening in our town than a hotel may normally be able to do,” Graham added. 

Graham says finding art, both established and up-and-coming, to feature in the hotel was a fun task. 

“Savannah punches over its weight culturally,” he said. “I think there’s our history, the influence of SCAD, the people who choose to make this place their home. It’s not difficult to find things to celebrate. There’s a lot of things going on when you just go for a walk around town.”

Ultimately, Thompson Savannah landed on Laney Contemporary to put together the first “Culture Lives Here” installation. 

“Susan graduated from SCAD and has been in town most of the time since then,” Graham said. “I think she has a good eye and she’s a really fantastic person.” 

Laney has also put together a list of local “hot spots” for visitors of the hotel to check out. Graham says he’s excited about the idea of visitors looking at art curated by Laney, then being able to go visit her favorite spots around town, feeling even more connected to the community. 

“I hope they feel that they chose a hotel for their visit to town that allowed them to connect to Savannah in a more meaningful way,” he said. “I hope that they feel the same love and connection to the arts that we all feel here and that they come away with the idea that culture matters in this town. If our hotel can be a small part of that just by celebrating others, then I feel like we’re on the right track.”

Jones’ work will be on display at Thompson Savannah, located at 201 Port St., through January, and then a new installation will go in. 

You can follow Thompson Savannah on Instagram at @thompsonsavannahga and learn more about Laney Contempory at