Friday, February 18, 2011


Santa Barbara Museum of Art
Abundant sunshine, palm trees, boardwalk, sand, boats...these are not the only attributes of Santa Barbara.  Along the many side streets off Santa Barbara's main avenue, State Street, are several art galleries and a very well curated museum, the Santa Barbara Museum of Art.   The Santa Barbara Museum of Art (SBMA) is fairly young  by museum standards.  It was established in 1941 with expansions in 1942, 1963, 1985, 1998, 1991, and lastly in 2006.    Though the SBMA houses nearly 30,000 pieces of artwork, from antiquities to contemporary works, the strength of its collection is in 19th and 20th century arts.  Beyond an extensive collection of artwork on paper held in its Works on Paper Center, the SBMA also houses a comprehensive collection of drawings including works of artists such as Corot, Degas, and Morisot.  The SBMA has an extensive collection of Monet rivaling other West Coast museums and an antiquities collection only second to the J. Paul Getty Museum.   You can view several of the works of the SBMA collections at 

Outside of  the museum venue,  contemporary artists find support through the Santa Barbara Art Association  which has been supporting approximately 500 artists for over 50 years. Many of these artists' works are shown at  the artists coop Gallery 113 in the Arcada and the Faulkner Gallery located within the town's library.  There is a visual and performing artwalk, First Thursday, held each month featuring art openings, wine tastings, symphony performances, and on street live music.  You can find more about the downtown activities in Santa Barbara, including First Thursday, at

Similar to our findings in Palm Springs, there is evidence that Santa Barbara has been affected by the economic downturn of the past couple of years.  Several major storefronts sit vacant. There remains, however, anchor stores and galleries that continue to thrive within the heart of Santa Barbara which are worthy of visiting if you are in the area.  You can print a list of galleries under information on the downtown link for First Thursday.

After a pleasant and relaxing morning in Santa Barbara, A. Paul & I left the sunshine and clear skies of Santa Barbara and headed towards Cambria via Santa Ynez Valley's Danish town of Solvang.  During our drive, we encountered winding hills through horse and cattle ranches, mist hugged  hills forging spring green grass,  to, finally, gray rolling waves along the central coast outside of Cambria.  Though A. Paul & I will explore Cambria's art scene, I will also be visiting with family members that I have not seen for quite awhile so my next blog will most likely be a couple of days from now.  Until then, I will leave you with our scenic drive from ocean through rolling hills and back to ocean once again.

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