Submit your art for Thread's holiday card


We're making a list of our favorite holiday-inspired art by our talented student body at Savannah College of Art and Design. Students, submit an original work that captures the festivity of the season to by 12 a.m. EST on December 22 for a chance to be featured in the blog's second annual holiday card. We thought this image (above) by recent alum Jade Stickle (B.F.A., motion media, 2014) would provide inspiration.

The following image types are acceptable: .jpg, .tif, .psd, .pdf, .ai, .eps. For the image size, the longest edge (height or width) must be at least 1920 pixels. Don't forget to include the title of the work, if any, your name and degree program.

We'll publish the card and selected work during the week of December 22. The prize? Bragging rights at your family feast and on your social channels. We look forward to seeing how you "make" merry.

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Congratulations, graduates! SCAD commencement in pictures.


Here's to the 413 new alumni from Savannah College of Art and Design who graduated in the university's 35th commencement ceremonies. We agree with Academy Award-winning screenwriter Geoffrey Fletcher's characterization of you as individuals and as a class: you are brilliant 'containers of gifts that you will share with the world.' Please keep us posted on all that you do.


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Shanghai Fashion Week through student eyes


Sixty-five students from Savannah College of Art and Design in Hong Kong recently traveled to Shanghai Fashion Week and Intertextile Shanghai Apparel Fabrics, the second largest fabric fair in the world. The field trip afforded students from SCAD’s fashion, fashion marketing and management, and luxury and fashion management programs in-depth exposure to Asia’s fashion capital and some of Shanghai’s best galleries and creative spaces, including "M50", a contemporary art district on par with New York’s SoHo and Beijing’s 798 Art Zone.

For Singapore-born Dawn Bey (B.F.A., fashion), the Shanghai trip provided first-hand knowledge of how Shanghai’s fashion industry operates, from design and manufacturing, to marketing and retail sales.

If you want to work in Shanghai one day, you have to see it and feel it yourself. Shanghai is where the market is, where the jobs are. - Dawn Bey

Dawn visited the fashion shows of Mainland designers Ye Weicheng and Elysee Yang Guanhua. Her courses at SCAD prepared her to notice both the overall concept and small details of the looks - like how a zipper was done - when models came down the runway. She was particularly interested in noticing new construction and new techniques for finishing garments. Most impressive to Dawn was Intertextile Shanghai Apparel Fabrics, where 3,500 fabric and accessory companies from 35 countries around the globe exhibited.

It’s not easy for young designers to gain access to the latest in garment making technology. Attending the shows in person enabled them to grasp the trends better. Selecting fabric samples to take home is another reason why designers-to-be look forward to attending shows.

Student Madeleine Ivey (B.F.A., photography; minor, fashion marketing and management) noticed that the stores she visited in Shanghai were full of inspiration pulled from the runway. Here’s an excerpt from her journal:

The M50 galleries were another amazing part of the trip and one of my favorites. Since I’m a photography major with a fashion marketing and management minor, the YSL exhibit was extremely relevant to me. The photographer featured, Pierre Boulat, made a huge impact in fashion photography, as he was the only photographer allowed to shoot YSL’s first show. This set the tone for his work for the next years of his life. He was also featured in Time and other fashion magazines. It was very cool to see his prints in real life! Although a bit difficult to understand, the Woolmark presentation got me thinking about wool in a whole other light. It was also fascinating to see the 'future of fashion' through just one company, and how they are utilizing their brand for the future. I loved the idea of putting wool into jeans and sportswear. I was blown away by how huge the fabric fair was…literally the size of an international airport! We were able to go to a lot of the stations and see different fabrics and accessories. It was overwhelming for sure! My favorite station was the innovative fabrics. I also thought it was incredible how many companies attended and how many options for clothing and zippers, etc. there were.

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Here's to a successful fall quarter


We’ve just wrapped up our first week of an already life-changing quarter. We wanted to recap everything that’s happened and mention a few of the things to look for in the coming months.

Last Friday New Bees from around the country converged in Atlanta, Hong Kong and Savannah to begin learning what life at college is all about. We've already seen jazz concerts, inspiring lectures and returning alumni discussing their involvement in Walt Disney Animation Studios.

Explore New Environments

This summer we completed renovations on Crites Hall, Norris Hall, Fahm Hall, Jen Library and the new Savannah Film Studios. Each building contains new technology and experiences to make learning and studying more engaging and fun.

Make sure to check out Crites Hall’s new bold look in everything from the lobby, hallways and theater; Norris Hall’s new touch screen displays that allow students and professors to interact with language in new ways; Fahm Hall’s new prototyping lab that brings ideas to life faster; and Jen Library’s updated technology from USB charging in your seat to faster computers.

Savannah Film Studios

The biggest update of all is the Savannah Film Studios. This new 22,000-square-foot facility houses three sound stages, green rooms, lighting grids, postproduction suites, a multi-purpose recording booth that facilitates ADR and foley recordings, screening rooms and production offices.

Things to check out

There are numerous events each quarter at SCAD. Three of the big ones this fall are Arianna Huffington’s lecture, the Savannah Film Festival and the National Preservation Conference.

Arianna Huffington, chair, president, and editor-in-chief of the Huffington Post Media Group is speaking Sept. 30 in Atlanta at SCADshow on the subject of creativity, design and innovation.

The week-long Savannah Film Festival begins Oct. 25 and features competition films, special screenings, workshops, panels and lectures by professionals from every aspect of the film industry and is open to all SCAD students.

The National Preservation Conference in November is an educational and networking event for preservationists and those dedicated to saving places. It offers engaging programming from lectures, field studies, workshops and more.

There's so much more happening this quarter, from Gallery Hops to Disney presentations and soccer games, so suit up like these guys and make the most of it!

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SecureCampus: a new level of safety


SCAD is adding another tool to our public safety strategy when we launch the SecureCampus network, a gunfire detection system. SecureCampus will cover a two-square-mile area in downtown Savannah, Georgia, with an array of sensors  — exterior and interior — that identifies the specific audio frequency created only by gunfire.

John Buckovich, director of security for the SCAD Department of Public Safety, says this new tool can give the entire SCAD community more certainty in their safety.

“Our goal everyday is to create a safe campus experience without losing the open environment that makes SCAD an innovative place to learn and grow. SecureCampus will be a great asset in helping us achieve that goal. While no system is foolproof, this gives my team, the Savannah Chatham Metropolitan Police Department and federal law enforcement agencies another tool to make SCAD Savannah safer.”

The sensors, which don’t have audio listening or recording capabilities, are sophisticated enough to pinpoint the exact location of gunfire (similar sounds like firecrackers or a backfiring truck don’t set the sensors off) and sends an immediate notification to first responders.

Buckovich added that, though the new layer of safety is impressive, it shouldn’t replace commonsense safety practices.

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‘Advocate yourself’: Dyer uses social media, tenaciousness to seek dreams


She was following her dream. She “worked her butt off for it.” Then she was told she didn’t make the cut.

When junior Lindsay Dyer (B.F.A. advertising) came to the Savannah College of Art and Design it was because it was one of the few schools that offered a bachelor’s degree in advertising and a collegiate equestrian program. But pursuing both didn’t come easy.

During her freshman year, she tried her best to get on SCAD's equestrian team. She worked out, she knew the sport, but her background was in jumping contests whereas many of SCAD’s competitions focus on poise and balance — called equitation.

"I didn’t make it,” she said hesitantly, recalling her first tryout.

Part of the rejection still stings, she says, but it served as fodder for motivation. She could have given up, but she decided “to be tenacious” instead.

“I put my head down and got focused,” she said. “I knew I had a ton to learn. So I started training more.”

Another year passed, another chance came and her hard work paid off. Dyer remembers vividly when she was notified last year that she made the team. She laughs and smiles when asked about it. As fresh as the sting of rejection sometimes feels, triumph feels fresher, she says.

“It was an amazing moment to make the cut,” she said.

Since then, things have only gotten better for the Kansas native. Dyer was recently selected as one of two brand ambassadors for Equine Couture, a fashion company that specializes in riding gear.

“It was my idea,” she added. “I just reached out to the company about it. They’ve never done this sort of thing before."

There's a shared lesson in trying out for the SCAD equestrian team and reaching out to Equine Couture, Dyer says.

"You’ve got to be tenacious and stick your neck out. You’ve got to advocate yourself and go for it. With Equine Couture, I saw a need, I sent an email and now I’m a brand ambassador.”

When Dyer contacted the company, she pitched the idea that she would promote their brand using her Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts. Dyer says many companies are looking for a way to break through the noise of competing ads by finding brand ambassadors — real humans who love a product enough to market it organically.

“Equine Couture loved the idea,” she said. “Over the years, I noticed other brands creating ambassadors. So I approached them with the concept that I would endorse them through social media. They gave me free clothes to do it! It’s a great trade off.”

It helps that Equine Couture fashion is something Dyer knows well.

“I’ve been wearing the brand ever since I’ve been riding,” she said. “Their clothes are comfortable. They fit me so well, which makes me more able to focus on my riding.”


Since officially becoming an ambassador last month, Dyer has been getting 20 to 30 new followers on her social media pages a day, thanks in part to Equine Couture’s own marketing. When she started her Instagram account had roughly 400 followers. Now it's reached more than 1200.

“It really is a perfect trade off,” she said. “They get great marketing and I get the experience. It’s been a great learning opportunity."

Dyer is currently gearing up for the Tournament of Champions Preseason Classic, which kicks of college-level equestrian competitions for the 2014-2015 season. That contest is set for Saturday, Sept. 20, in the Baltimore suburb of Towson, Maryland. Meanwhile, the first Intercollegiate Horse Show Association (IHSA) competition is set for Saturday, Sept. 27, in Tallahassee, Florida.

“Riding has always been my priority, ever since I was 7 and my parents got me riding lessons," she said. "They thought I was being a crazy kid, that it was something I’d grow out of at some point. Now, it’s something I can do in my adult life. It’s been fantastic to be able to continue that passion while still studying what I love with advertising. It’s really amazing how it just worked out at SCAD.”

Which wasn’t the initial plan, Dyer added.

“I never saw myself as an art school kind of person,” she said. “I was even touring another university when I thought ‘this is way too traditional for me.’ I needed a strong art and advertising program. When I learned I could get that, along with having a chance to pursue equestrian competitions, I knew SCAD was for me. I couldn’t find that combination anywhere else.”

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To help save the endangered, SCAD alumni unite at Elephant Parade in Hong Kong

Tags: Events

Illegal ivory poaching and vast deforestation has plunged the population of Asian elephants to dangerous lows. Roughly 50,000 of their kind are left in the world, according to several international conservation reports. The outlook on their long-term survival is grim, with the International Union for the Conservation of Nature placing them on the endangered Red List and some predicting the species will be extinct in the wild as soon as 2050.

But several conservationists and artists are responding to these bleak statistics with hope during the Elephant Parade exhibition. The traveling art gallery is raising awareness by featuring galleries of life-sized baby elephant replicas designed by an array of artists. The parade is currently in Hong Kong and features the work of SCAD alumni Kevin Lee Jr. (B.F.A., sound design, 2013), Michael-Birch Pierce (M.F.A., fibers, 2012) and April Rivers (B.F.A., fibers, 2011).

Their artwork, along with several other contributions, are featured at the Pacific Place shopping center in Central Hong Kong, the Cityplaza complex near Tai Koo Station and Citygate Outlets on the northernmost part of Lantau Island near the Hong Kong International Airport. The exhibition ends on Tuesday, Sept. 9.

Twenty percent of the Elephant Parade's net profit — along with 100 percent of money earned from auctioning off handpicked statues — goes to the Asian Elephant Foundation, according to the event organizers. The nonprofit foundation's board members, in turn, distributes the funding to projects that aim to stave off extinction. Some past projects include funding nature reserves where the elephants can live unthreatened, as well as educational programs taught worldwide.

Each elephant statue took on the artists' different styles. Lee used strips of colorful LED lights, Pierce turned to his admiration for "the tacky and gaudy," while Rivers left the statue in its natural white state, enhancing it with fibers and bones while "retaining something pure."

When Pierce set off to create his elephant replica he said he wanted to create something that harkened back to a time when Eastern culture revered elephants, dressing them with beautiful ornaments.

    (The East) adorned elephants with crazy gold fabrics, big metal headdresses. They were regal and reverend. They were precious.

Pierce searched for materials in the markets of Sham Shui Po. Despite what he called a "sensory overload of overstimulation," he managed to focus long enough to find what he needed in stores filled to the brim with beads and crystals.

As a self-professed animal lover and conservationist, Pierce is happy to know that his artwork's wide exposure to bustling Hong Kong will help tell the story about the potential extinction of Asian elephants. Art is sometimes the only digestible way for people to see an environmental crisis through the blur of their busy lives, he added.

"It's not always easy trying to convince someone to change their minds when they have no intention of changing their minds in the first place," he said. "I think that creating these elephants in this way is a really great way to draw attention to the problem. Everyone can connect to art."

For Rivers, the experience in Hong Kong was "eye opening."

"It was extremely inspiring," she said. "It's amazing to just be in Sham Shui Po. To take in the smells, the colors, the sounds and the textures."

Rivers worked closely with Lee in a shared studio and was nearby Peirce's workspace. The whirlwind trip, along with a tight deadline, made "war buddies" out of the three, she said. Having their different paths converge in Hong Kong — Lee from California, Pierce from Virginia and Rivers from Texas — turned colleagues into friends.

"The three of us got very close," she said. "We all brought different strengths. Kevin had a very mechanical brain, which complimented my love of girly things like fibers and soft materials. Peirce brought the glitter and glam. It was a good mix and we learned a lot from each other. I miss them."

Her new friendships speak to the collaborative nature SCAD fosters, Rivers added.

People often choose to go to the college near their hometown because it's close by, but sometimes they end up staying in one place. On the other hand, SCAD is such a hodgepodge of people. It has campuses everywhere. There's no way you could get these kinds of experiences anywhere else.

Taking part in Elephant Parade also allowed the alumni to pass on some experience to SCAD Hong Kong students who helped workshop the statues. Pierce said he especially enjoyed letting the students have "free range" on a large portion of his replica.

"Working with the students at Hong Kong was great," he said. "I think that it's very important to show that there’s actually a career to be had after graduation, using the skills they're learning at SCAD. I was worried I would have to work with 19-year-old kids who didn't necessarily have the experience they needed for this kind of project. But these students are driven. They're talented."

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SCAD alumna Heidi Elnora turns bridal fashion skills into TLC show


Heidi's Build-a-Bride collection landed her in Nordstrom bridal suites and drew brides from as far away as Dubai to her shop in Alabama.

The collection is the inspiration behind the name of Bride by Design — her new 30-minute pilot, set to air Friday, July 25, at 10 p.m. The episode will focus on her helping two brides, including former Miss Tennessee.

I spoke with her about this success before the July 25 premiere.

Sophie Paulette wedding dress by Heidi Elnora

Thread: Tell me about the show.

Heidi: It shows the backstory of all it takes to get a dress made — from the sampling, to picking out the fabric, to making the muslin. It’s a lot of the SCAD background that I have and going through those classes of what you have to do to be a designer. It gives the viewer that point of view. It also gives the brides point of view, "It’s such a big day, it’s such a big moment, it’s such an important dress. I’m trusting this girl to do this. Can she pull it off?"

In the initial episode I help two brides. One a true couture gown that we started from scratch — selecting the fabric, doing the muslins, creating the pattern so she never sees her actual dress until the day that she takes it home. It’s a little nerve wracking but she trusts me. The second one is something that I’ve been doing for 8 years. I trademarked it as Build-a-Bride. I always dreamed about being a designer and growing up in Alabama it wasn’t one of the top job opportunities. I want everyone even if they don’t have that opportunity to be a designer and have that creative platform. The bride can basically build her own dress.

T: How did you make it from Carter's to your own thing?

H: I wasn’t your typical 22 year old. I would work at Carter’s during the day and at night I would sew women’s ready-to-wear. I was a nerd. All my friends were at parties and meeting boys and I was sewing in my basement. I didn’t care because I knew that when I was 30 I wanted to have my own company.

After I got kicked off Project Runway I came back to Carter’s and I was kind of bummed out. Then I got hit by a drunk driver. My mom brought me home to Alabama and once I was here I met this boy, fell in love and six months later I put in my notice at Carter's and moved to Alabama to be with him.

I thought, “Heidi, you need to make your dream a reality. There’s a reason why you’re back home in Alabama.” What could I create that someone would love and cherish and say this is a piece of art — this is part of my heart? And I thought, a wedding dress.

T: How did you find the resources?

H: I went to a nonprofit agency and got a loan to start my company in November 2006. There is no guide on how to become a successful design house. I never had investors, which is huge. I wanted to do it on my own. It has not always been easy, but this is who I am meant to be.

T: What's the importance of a balance between local and global?

H: I began locally, but it got to a point when Nordstrom picked up the line that we just could not meet demand. What’s most important at the end of the day to me is customer service and quality. I wanted to make sure every dress that came out is perfection. We did have to begin sourcing overseas, but with Build-a-Bride every little trim is handmade in Alabama. We’re selling more dresses which means we can hire more people locally to help me run the company. It’s just growing and growing and growing. I am helping our local economy which is very important to me.

T: You are in boutiques worldwide?

H: I'm in 26 stores, 14 of those are Nordstrom. They have 18 bridal suites and I’m in 14 of those. I just got picked up by a store in London, my first international store. I’ve had brides fly in from as far as Dubai.

T: How have you attracted customers from around the world and landed in big retailers?

H: We have a good reputation because I’m meticulous about taking care of my brides. That’s what’s most important in the industry. We don’t do a lot of advertising. The trend is more of a grass roots approach. It doesn’t have to be giant ads and billboards. People want to connect with the brand more and that’s what we’re focusing on.

T: What gave you an idea for Build-a-Bride? To customize your offerings like that?

H: Every bride would come into the store and want a sweetheart neckline, fit-and-flare, low V-back chapel length train. If I heard it one time, I heard it 50 billion times. I said, "I’m just going to make this one dress — the name of that dress is the Coco Marie — and it's our number one selling dress of all time. People would come in and say, "I want lace, I want this." I just started building little trims. Since it was such a phenomenon I’ve added more silhouettes and more trims. Now a bride can come in with these 14 silhouettes and try on every imaginable style and look of a dress within 14 dresses. You don’t have to travel all over the world and try on different looks. You can put on one or two dresses and figure it out.

T: Is there a trend toward customization?

H: Brides are more focused on do-it-yourself and being independent and their weddings are more that way. They want to create their own looks. That’s why Pinterest is huge in the bridal market. Girls are getting inspired and they want to be unique. That’s why Build-a-Bride is special. You can have 100 girls in the same silhouette and they would look night and day. It’s huge right now.

T: What skills did SCAD arm you with?

H: It’s truly an art-focused school for the career that you want. Pattern making. Illustration. Sewing. Learning how to sew an invisible zipper correctly. There are so many young designers that go to college for fashion that don’t know how to sew an invisible zipper or how to do a French seam. The couture techniques SCAD taught me are amazing.

T: Can you share some advice for young designers?

  1. Pray often. It is extremely important to seek council and advice from people that you trust and have your best interest at heart.

  2. Constantly ask questions. No question is ever a bad question. Soak up as much knowledge as humanly possible.

  3. Don't give up. Anything worth having is worth fighting for. It isn't always easy. If it was easy everyone would do it.

  4. Keep true to yourself and your beliefs. That is what makes you and your company unique. Don't worry about what everyone else is doing.

  5. There are no true guidelines on how to be successful at something that you start from scratch. Oftentimes you have to just put on your big boy/girl pants and make it happen!

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Updated SCAD Savannah Alert: Hurricane Arthur


Updated July 3: Arthur is now a Category 1 hurricane positioned east of Savannah, Georgia. The nearest significant impact to land is expected to occur in Charleston, South Carolina, which is beginning to feel the effects of Arthur’s outer bands. Models calculate landfall on July 4 near North Carolina's Outer Banks, however, tropical storm warnings are currently in place 20 miles off the coast of Savannah, and marine warnings and rip current warnings will remain in place at least until tonight. Beachgoers should use extreme caution due to the potential for rip currents. SCAD will continue to monitor conditions and issue updates accordingly.

Continue to monitor your email, cell phones, Twitter and the blog for more information.

Posted July 2: Please be advised that there's a chance the Georgia coast could experience the effects of Tropical Storm Arthur overnight Wednesday, July 2 into Thursday, July 3. Although this storm is currently not a major threat to Chatham County or SCAD Savannah operations, slight variations of the storm track could change the weekend forecast.

Current prediction models show the storm moving toward the Carolinas over the Fourth of July weekend. This system could create dangerous rip currents along the Atlantic coast. Additional updates regarding this evolving weather system will be distributed as necessary.

Continue to monitor your email, cell phones, Twitter and the blog for more information.

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The future of preservation: Will a new generation take up the cause?


Growing up, I regularly thumbed through family photo albums. This ritual of navigating the worn, yellowing pages of images, as if I were traversing history, was eye opening. The photos contextualized my place in that history. So I panic when I think that my daughter may not experience that same sense of belonging because these physical signposts do not exist for her to explore, at least not in a form that she can touch or feel, except to swipe at them on the screens of the devices behind which they’re trapped.

Photos of my great grandfather and grandmother from our family tree.

This angst I have over not being a better steward of our young family’s growing photo collection makes me a preservationist. That’s what a group of students from Savannah College of Art and Design helped me to understand. The last people you might associate with being champions for the old and non-digital, all younger than me, recently gathered to present their plan for engaging new generations in the pursuit of preservation. Their solution, a historic preservation patch for Girl Scouts, is a collaboration between SCAD’s historic preservation department, the National Trust for Historic Preservation and the Girl Scouts of Historic Georgia.

A prototype of the patch designed and created by SCAD students.

One of the first things the scouts needed to learn, they realized, is what exactly historic preservation is. It’s a good question, actually, for adults and kids, one that promotes an awareness of our surroundings and the laying down of our devices in order to delve into community. As the SCAD students, ages 21 and up, teach in their guide for leaders and scouts, historic preservation goes beyond saving buildings to include protecting artifacts, culture and, yes, even family history and photos. Though Savannah, where the students are pursuing their degrees, is an epicenter of historic districts and preservation, their guide is intentionally broad enough to relate to any city in the U.S.

SCAD historic preservation students partnered with graphic design, dramatic writing, fibers and sequential art students to create the guide. To earn a patch, scouts must fulfill seven activities that fall under different categories of preservation, like personal history.

Any tool that promotes historic preservation to the next generation must be conducive to mass appeal, lest the fervor for ‘saving places’ dies with the present generation. One indicator that doesn’t bode well for the future of preservation, for example, is the average age of those who read Preservation Magazine: 61.

The apparent apathy toward historic preservation among young people is something that keeps preservationists like SCAD professor Connie Pinkerton, who led the students in the creation of the Girl Scout patch, talking.

Connie, a former Girl Scout whose daughter is also a Girl Scout, notes that her millennial generation students must carry the torch or, more appropriately, an LED light in support of historic preservation. A quick survey of her students about what could possibly have sparked their interest in historic preservation as an area of study is a case study for hope.

Savannah’s storied, historic buildings, many of them rehabilitated by SCAD, drew Bethany Emenhiser (M.F.A., historic preservation) to historic preservation. “People made things with their hands and those things and places are still standing. But today, even in our high-tech world, homes are being blown over by tornados,” she said of her admiration for preservation.

“Going green and sustainability are so in, but preservation was the first sustainability.”

That observation is astute for a student whose peers, by contrast, spend hours upon hours in a building near hers using the latest in 3D printing technologies.

Likewise, Jake Eichorn (B.F.A., historic preservation) became interested in preservation when studying at SCAD opened his eyes to the treasures of historic Savannah.  The 21-year-old, who will spend his summer helping a professor rehab a Victorian, gets starry-eyed talking about property record chains and a future career fixing up and flipping historic homes. For Jake, breaking down the fundamentals of historic preservation into a form that ten and 11-year-olds can understand was a rewarding challenge, just as the pursuit of the historic preservation patch will no doubt be also.

I’m glad my daughter, armed with our family photo album, will have the option to pursue this patch if she so chooses.

The historic preservation patch will be unveiled at the 2014 National Preservation Conference (Nov. 11-14) at SCAD Savannah.

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