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.

Wielding The Sword and Skull: The Art of Vernon Courtlandt Johnson
Vernon Courtlandt Johnson's drawings of skulls and dragons epitomize skateboarding subculture's particular mix of athletics, aesthetics and attitude.
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.
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.
Unexpected Bliss: A Pop-Up Show Explodes to Life in Santa Barbara
Unexpected Bliss: A Pop-Up Show Explodes to Life in Santa Barbara
"Standard Deviation" is a pop-up show organized by a bunch of mildly mad creative-types to commandeer a massive retail space front and center on Santa Barbara's main drag in the middle of the city's busiest tourist week of the year.
Music Academy of the West: Santa Barbara's Ultimate Band Camp
Music Academy of the West: Santa Barbara's Ultimate Band Camp
Travel to Santa Barbara to experience the world-renowned Music Academy of the West, which celebrates its 65th anniversary this summer, offering approximately 150 master classes open to the public and putting talented musicians through their paces.
The Legal Street Art of Santa Barbara
The Legal Street Art of Santa Barbara
A.M.A.S.S (Artists Making a Street Scene) has been bringing a bit of edge and creative culture to Santa Barbara's most distinctly tourist-serving part of town since 2009.
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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