“A creative community” is the best way to describe The Guild Hall. Whether you see yourself as creative or you just like to surround yourself with creative people and energy, the Guild Hall is designed to support avant-garde thinkers in Savannah.
The company had a soft opening in May and has continued to grow since then. The founders, Clegg Ivey and Jacob Heider, want the company to be a place where people can meet, hang out and develop new ideas. Ivey described it as “creative cross pollination.” He described The Guild Hall as “a black box where creative people go in and new creations come out.”
The name Guild Hall comes from its six guilds: Makers, Coders, Designers, Performers, Storytellers and Gamers. There are spaces designed for each guild.
Located on 615 Montgomery Street, The Guild Hall has three buildings within walking distance of each other. The Arena is the gamer space. There are several televisions to plug different gaming consoles into, including Playstation, Nintendo and Xbox. There are also board games and a place to buy gaming essentials like card decks and dice.
The Forge is the maker space. Inside this area are sewing kits, power tools and even a MakerBot 3D printer. People can make furniture, apparel for cosplay, plastic figures and much more. There is also a modular stage that can be adjusted for different performers. Performances include plays, musical bands and burlesque shows. Armstrong’s own Odd Lot group helped renovate the space.
The Atrium is the quietest building on the campus. It has meeting rooms, a computer lab with PC and Mac computers as well as drawing and designing rooms. Members can request software that they need to be downloaded on the computers. They can also use the drawing rooms for projects or reserve the room for a certain period. The meeting rooms can also be reserved for tournaments like Magic the Gathering and Pokemon.
The idea for The Guild Hall came out of the owners’ experiences with start up companies in the late 1990s and early 2000s. They wanted to recreate the creative energy and sense of community that start up founders experience as they try to form a company.
They were also inspired by their experience of going to Dragon Con for several years. Dragon Con is a convention held every year in Atlanta that brings science fiction and comic fans together, including celebrities like George Takei and Nichelle Nichols of the original Star Trek series. Ivey and Heider designed The Guild Hall to be a space where people could have that collective experience everyday.
The Guild Hall is actually a part of a larger plan to revitalize the West Broad area of Savannah. Dr. Walter Evans and his wife Linda, who own the property that The Guild Hall is on, have a ten year plan to redevelop the area around Martin Luther King Boulevard (formerly called West Broad Street).
Ivey and Heider are excited to be apart of that plan. They want The Guild Hall to show that people do not have to leave Savannah to collaborate with creative people and be economically successful in creative fields.
“Savannah is teeming with talent,” Ivey said. “[It] has one of the best communities of designers and creative people.”
“You don’t necessarily have to have the idea,” Heider said. He said idea generators who don’t know how to create something can meet with people looking for the opportunity to work on a project but might not have an idea.
The Guild Hall owners have already formed partnerships with The Creative Coast and the Technology Association of Georgia (TAG). They hope to work with universities in the city like Armstrong and SCAD to help the creative educational community and let people from different schools meet and interact. They are open to new ideas from the Savannah community about how to grow the company.
Anyone interested in visiting The Guild Hall can get day passes or become a member. Day passes are $2 and membership starts at $9.95 a month.