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.

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.
John Divola and the Photography of Modern Ruin
John Divola and the Photography of Modern Ruin
The multi-venue exhibition "As Far As I Could Get" features the vacant, dilapidated homes of John Divola's photographic work.
The Odyssey Project: Transforming Lives of Incarcerated Youth Through Theater
The Odyssey Project: Transforming Lives of Incarcerated Youth Through Theater
The Odyssey Project pairs UCSB College students with young men from a minimum security detention facility to recreate Homer's "The Odyssey."
Santa Barbara's Chromatic Gate Restored
Santa Barbara's Chromatic Gate Restored
Santa Barbara celebrates the restoration of the large rainbow-colored sculpture dedicated to the artists of the town.
California Dreams: Edwin Deakin's Mission Paintings
California Dreams: Edwin Deakin's Mission Paintings
Edwin Deakin created beautifully harmonious and understated studies of the missions of California in the final years of the 19th century.
Excavating the 'Ten Commandments' in the Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes
Excavating the 'Ten Commandments' in the Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes
For 90 years, the Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes have concealed a secret: the remains of a massive movie set and tent city constructed for one of Hollywood's most influential filmmakers.
Barbara Parmet's Fine Art Photojournalism
Barbara Parmet's Fine Art Photojournalism
In her photographic work, Barbara Parmet addresses the degree to which witnessing remains the fundamental constitutive human act.
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


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

icon, Multi-Disciplinary discipline


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

icon, Music discipline


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

icon, Performance discipline


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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