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.

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.
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 pairs UCSB College students with young men from a minimum security detention facility to recreate Homer's "The Odyssey."
'Theater Heaven' Realized at the Pacific Conservatory of the Performing Arts
'Theater Heaven' Realized at the Pacific Conservatory of the Performing Arts
The Pacific Conservatory of the Performing Arts is a professional resident theater company and a two-year vocational program.
California Dreaming and the Car Painters of the SoCal Landscape
California Dreaming and the Car Painters of the SoCal Landscape
Rachel Rossner, curator of "California Dreaming: Plein-Air Painting from San Francisco to San Diego," shares observations about the beginnings of the plein-air landscape painting movement in California.
Morgan Maassen's Color of Creativity and Texture of Ambition
Morgan Maassen's Color of Creativity and Texture of Ambition
Photographer and Santa Barbara native Morgan Maassen's career in the surf editorial world is on a meteoric rise.
Parry Gripp: From Nerf Herder to Meme Master
Parry Gripp: From Nerf Herder to Meme Master
Santa Barbara musician Parry Gripp is the man behind some of the web's biggest memes.
Battlefields of Santa Barbara
Battlefields of Santa Barbara
How does modern war mark the California landscape? A single day's photographic record produced on the Southern California coast offers one compelling answer.
Artbound 2012: Best of Santa Barbara County
Artbound 2012: Best of Santa Barbara County
We selected the best articles of 2012 from Santa Barbara County.
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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