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."
The New Noise of Santa Barbara
The New Noise of Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara's annual New Noise Music Festival and Conference aims to grab a chunk of the music festival circuit from bigger acts like Coachella and South By Southwest.
Erotic Whimsy and the High Art of Letting Go: Life with Fred Gowland
Erotic Whimsy and the High Art of Letting Go: Life with Fred Gowland
A prolific painter and collected internationally, 72 year-old Fred Gowland is on a mission these days to explode everything he has ever learned about art.
The Dancing Brush: The Calligraphic Abstractions of Seyburn Zorthian
The Dancing Brush: The Calligraphic Abstractions of Seyburn Zorthian
Seyburn Zorthian draws inspiration from Japanese Culture to create calligraphic abstractions that are dynamic visualizations of the energy created when cultures collide.
Santa Barbara's Funk Zone Plays Itself
Santa Barbara's Funk Zone Plays Itself
"Focus on the Funk Zone," the one day public event that occurred on October 6, offered the city's artists multiple spaces in a burgeoning neighborhood to make and display their work.
Mario Ybarra, Jr. The Tío Collection
Mario Ybarra, Jr. The Tío Collection
Mario Ybarra, Jr. exhibits his work The Tío Collection riffing on childhood memories rather than high-culture aesthetics, and filling the gallery space with artifacts that Ybarra discovered in the homes of his uncles.
Art from Office Supplies? The Émigré Experience of Peter Meller
Art from Office Supplies? The Émigré Experience of Peter Meller
Artist Peter Meller represents a fascinating and nearly lost chapter in the epic story of the European intelligentsia who moved to Southern California to escape Nazism and World War II.
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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