The arts are alive in Santa Barbara, as visitors discover in countless ways. Both emerging and established artists showcase their work in galleries extending from Santa Barbara’s downtown through The Funk Zone, and to the boulevards of Montecito and Summerland. The institutions of higher education — colleges, community colleges, and the university — also do their part, with dedicated spaces for regular exhibitions. Provocative and traditional artworks, collectible and museum-quality items…there’s something for every taste and, if you’re planning to bring something home, for every pocketbook.
All the arts are represented. Photography, painting, sculpture, architecture and video, along with folk, decorative, and outsider art draw aficionados to opening receptions, as well as to pop-ups and long-running shows.
Once a month, downtown galleries, museums and other venues stay open late and encourage visitors to stroll State Street on 1st Thursday art walks. Along with unveiling new exhibits and displays, receptions offer the opportunity to linger over wine and hors d’oeuvres and talk to artists about their work, while live music performances abound on street corners and in storefronts.
Similarly, The Funk Zone — which has a large contingent of artists working in its industrial buildings — holds monthly art walks and open studios. Joining the gallery-goers makes for a particularly lively way to explore the hip neighborhood.
Artists in other parts of the city also get into the act several other times of year, with open studio tours, accessible by car, for art-lovers.
As for handcrafted goods, the Santa Barbara Arts & Crafts Show is a weekly open-air tradition that stretches for blocks and blocks along ocean-facing Cabrillo Boulevard, starting at Stearns Wharf, every Sunday.