On Thursday, May 17, “The Spotlight” exhibition featuring the Free Spirits Trio will open at the Ships at the Sea Maritime Museum.

The exhibition is the final thesis project for Business Design and Arts Leadership graduate student, Sabrina Shankar.“I wanted to create a higher-end event that you wouldn’t ordinarily get as a college student while also giving the Savannah community something to do on a Thursday night,” Shankar said.

Shankar said that most business design majors partner with a SCAD artist to produce a gallery show so partnering with a musical group is “something a little different.” Shankar finished her undergraduate studies at SCAD with a B.F.A. in production design so she is naturally drawn to larger-scale events.

The focus of the exhibition will be the musical performance group, “Free Spirits.” The trio is comprised of twin sisters Aiman and Sholpan, first chair violinists from the Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra of Kazakhstan. They toured the world playing music and eventually met percussionist and Georgia-native Butch at a night club in Savannah and decided to form a group founded on the eclectic combination of violin and drums. The group performs music from nearly every genre, nationality and time period.

Shankar met the group a little over a month ago and has been in constant communication ever since. “I saw them at an open house one day and I told them that they sounded great and asked if they wanted to partner,” Shankar said. “They are still in the beginning stages of their work so we are able to form a partnership where I’m able to develop their branding as a start-up and they are playing for free for me. It’s cool because we are both growing together.”

In addition to the performance, Shankar has constructed sculptural elements for the gallery space including laser-cut, hand-painted, four-foot tall electric violins. “I lit them from the inside so in the daytime you can see the paintings in them and then when it gets darker, you can see their silhouettes,” Shankar said.

Shankar first discovered the Ships of the Sea Maritime Museum as a part of Super Museum Sunday. “I just pitched a couple people who worked at the space that I was a student and didn’t really have money but was looking for someone to sponsor an event,” Shankar said. They asked her for a design proposal to send on to their director and, a week later, Shankar received a call agreeing to the exhibition. “It was actually the only place I had reached out to so I was incredibly lucky because the space is gorgeous,” Shankar said. “It’s a great opportunity too because its rarely open to the public for free.”

Shankar has turned to several local businesses to help put together the final pieces for the show, including the food to be served. “I think what I’ve learned the most from this project is that people are really open to helping,” Shankar said. “I don’t think many people often ask for help with things because they don’t want to get in the way or cause a problem but just calling someone on the phone makes a huge impact.”

“The Spotlight” will take place from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Ships of the Sea Maritime Museum on Thursday, May 17, and is free to the public.