Santa Barbara
The geographic similarities between Santa Barbara county and Andalucia, Spain are uncanny. It is no surprise that Felipe de Neve and his band of missionaries and soldiers built the mother-of-all missions overlooking the ocean, in 1786. Here in Santa Barbara, the Californio culture was strong, marrying Spanish, Mexican and Indio traditions into one. But when the Mexican-American war broke in 1846, things began to change.

Perhaps in an unintended shift of cultural power, newly arrived anglo residents and artists - including Helen Hunt Jackson and her novel Ramona - portrayed a romantic bygone era of adobe missions, consigning early Hispanic culture to the past.

The Spanish remains of Santa Barbara however, and the local residents that still walk down its cobblestone streets, remind us of a not so distant past where California and the West were ruled by others.

Today, the Hamptons of Los Angeles are coming to terms with a shared common cultural history, with new experimental art venues such as the Santa Barbara Art Forum and the Santa Barbara Museum exploring ways in which artists and cultural producers are viewing the future.

Highlights
High & Dry: Interpreting the California Desert Landscape With Patricia Chidlaw
Unbeknownst to each other, L.A. photographer Osceola Refetoff and Santa Barbara realist painter Patricia Chidlaw were interpreting the same landscapes over the last five years.
Poetry in Action: Julie B. Montgomery's Zen Paintings
Carpinteria-based artist Julie Montgomery's landscape paintings retain the compositional integrity one ordinarily associates with pure abstraction.
The San Patricios: Jose Cruz González Unearths America's Past
Jose Cruz González's latest play, "The San Patricios," tells the little known story of immigrants from the U.S. who fought on the side of Mexico during the Mexican-American War.
High & Dry: Interpreting the California Desert Landscape With Patricia Chidlaw
High & Dry: Interpreting the California Desert Landscape With Patricia Chidlaw
Unbeknownst to each other, L.A. photographer Osceola Refetoff and Santa Barbara realist painter Patricia Chidlaw were interpreting the same landscapes over the last five years.
Poetry in Action: Julie B. Montgomery's Zen Paintings
Poetry in Action: Julie B. Montgomery's Zen Paintings
Carpinteria-based artist Julie Montgomery's landscape paintings retain the compositional integrity one ordinarily associates with pure abstraction.
The San Patricios: Jose Cruz González Unearths America's Past
The San Patricios: Jose Cruz González Unearths America's Past
Jose Cruz González's latest play, "The San Patricios," tells the little known story of immigrants from the U.S. who fought on the side of Mexico during the Mexican-American War.
The Knife of the Artist: Painter Chris Baker and the Art of Imitation
The Knife of the Artist: Painter Chris Baker and the Art of Imitation
Chris Baker transcribes large versions of classic paintings, employing a palette knife on a painting's wet surface to "activate" the image.
The Video Sculptures of Peter Sarkisian
The Video Sculptures of Peter Sarkisian
The exhibition "Sarkisian & Sarkisian" features multimedia sculptures that tie together the work of Peter Sarkisian with that of his father, painter Paul Sarkisian.
Blurry Boundaries: New Architecture Exhibitions Survey Cross-Disciplinary Practices
Blurry Boundaries: New Architecture Exhibitions Survey Cross-Disciplinary Practices
Three exhibitions on view right now across the southland celebrate experimental design, while making it accessible to a broad audience.
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section header: disciplines
icon, Architecture/ Design discipline

Architecture/ Design

California becomes an international export by redefining the concept of city and home.

icon, Community Arts discipline

Community Arts

Through workshops, education and placed based projects, art is the connective tissue of a community.

icon, Cultural Politics discipline

Cultural Politics

Funding bubbles, cultural deserts and the politics of access to the arts in the 21st century.

icon, Film & Media Arts discipline

Film & Media Arts

At the shadow of the entertainment industry, video artists and underground filmmakers take a stand.

icon, Literature discipline

Literature

Noir, sunshine and dystopia create a multi-ethnic narrative that is read, watched and admired around the globe.

icon, Multi-Disciplinary discipline

Multi-Disciplinary

Multi-hyphenate works that combine disciplines, remix dogmas, and reinvent the wheel.

icon, Music discipline

Music

A dialogue between cultures, the music of our state serves up the California dream like no other artform.

icon, Performance discipline

Performance

Staging the drama of California through dance, music and theater.

icon, Visual Arts discipline

Visual Arts

Breaking away from the European and New York vanguard, California reinvents the art world.


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