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Left to Right: 1) Pianos on State artists Irene Ramirez and Stephen Harper at the Community Arts Workshop during Pianos on State 2020. 2) A session of the Drift, part of the Cor Art Classes program. 3) David Shelton Studios working on the east side of the Summer Solstice Gate on Ortega St, Photo credit Nell Campbell.


“I didn’t realize how much I needed this.” 

That’s what one of the participants in Pianos on State told me a few weeks ago, as she stood at the Community Arts Workshop (CAW) surrounded by fellow Santa Barbarans making art and music. I’ve heard similar sentiments many times this year. It’s the thing we’ve all been telling ourselves as we’ve lost art gatherings, concerts, comedy nights, theater, choir rehearsals, and so much more.

The arts play this vital purpose, don’t they? They help us feel human. And as human beings we are often so adaptive, so adamant in arising to the occasion, that in a year in which we worked over email instead of in-person, made do with less, called our family members instead of hugging them, we could catch ourselves losing track of the things that give us joy.

Which is why I’m so grateful for the work the Arts Collaborative was able to do to keep that joy alive. Through outdoor and online Cor Art Classes, through Pianos on State, through adapting the CAW for COVID-safe videography and photography uses, by working with company-in-residence Santa Barbara Centre for Aerial Dance to empower their continuing and transformed use this year, through the inspiring interviewees of Ask Me Anything

We learned. We adapted. We built. (As of March, the CAW now has beautiful, functional doors and windows on all its rooms, and the first half of the Shelton Ortega Street Gate is now complete!) We found some ways to help.

And art does help, in ways subtle and profound. According to participants in the Cor Art Classes, “When I saw ... the classes they felt necessary, somehow.“ “It was life-changing… just having something to wake up every day and look forward to.” 

Much good work remains before us. The completion of renovations to the CAW and the empowering of many more users in the years to come. The development of the Cor Art Classes into an ongoing public service. The return of Pianos on State next year to State Street and the return of the Ready to Hang art show. And so much more challenging, satisfying work as the Arts Collaborative works to sustain and grow the arts in Santa Barbara.

Will you help us in this work? The contributions of our donors have empowered us to adapt and grow in a difficult year, and your donations will enable us to step in to 2021 afresh, to further renovate the CAW, to do much good work.

Casey Caldwell
Managing Director

Donate to Support the Work of the Arts Collaborative
The Campaign for the Community Arts Workshop
If you would like to designate your donation more specifically, or learn about naming opportunities, feel free to contact us at or 805-324-7443.
Left to Right: 1) A session of Photography in the Cor Art Classes program. 2) A video shoot with local videographer Andrew Quinn. 3) The Ask Me Anything video interview series. 4) A socially-distanced Santa Barbara Centre for Aerial Dance class. 5) The CAW's North Building with newly completed doors.
Copyright © 2020 Santa Barbara Arts Collaborative, All rights reserved.

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