Sunday Afternoon Peeps

Arts Fund Fundraising in the Funk Zone

Text & photos by Shannon Kelley Gould

This weekend offered no shortage of things to do in Santa Barbara: there was The Brew House’s Oktoberfest, Carp’s Avocado Festival, and a truly stellar lineup of live music. So by the time Sunday afternoon rolled around, I was ready for a dose of mellow mingling, which I found at the Arts Fund’s “Wish You Were Here: Along the Orient Express” fundraiser. The annual event features a silent auction of works from 60 local artists; in years past, said works were always postcard-sized, hence the “Wish You Were Here” name, but this year, the powers that be decided to kick those pieces up a notch, to 8-by-10 inch size, which made them all the more tempting.

While its precise address eluded me, I knew the AF’s gallery was located in the Funk Zone and figured I’d know it when I saw it. (And besides, cruising aimlessly around the tourist-free Funk Zone isn’t a half-bad way to spend a sunny early fall afternoon.) Sure enough, I spotted the inviting scene right away — the bright yellow canopies on the corner of Yanonali and Santa Barbara streets were a dead giveaway. I checked in, collecting my passport and a glass of Jaffurs Viognier, and made my way through the entryway.

Checking out the outdoor collection of non-art items up for silent auction (a trip to San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, among them), I found myself chatting with Claudia Chapman, president of the Arts Fund’s board of directors. She apologized for not getting up to greet me, saying she’d just had surgery. “Me too!” I exclaimed. And so began the requisite trading of surgical stories. “What’d you do?” she asked. “Too much running on a knee that tended toward dislocation. You?” “Too many years wearing high heels,” she replied. So apparently I have that to look forward to, as well. Swell.

Mildly dejected, I headed inside to cheer myself with some perusing. Though I refrained from bidding on anything, several pieces caught my eye — Deborah Ferguson’s “Evening in Spain” in particular. I chatted with artists, volunteers, art lovers, and the occasional Angry Poodle lover, and was eventually led back outside, beckoned by the scents of Metropulos’s amazing array of exotic eats.

And, much to my delight, the Parisian caramelized-onion pissaladiere tasted every bit as amazing as it looked. It was a perfect Santa Barbara Sunday, and standing there (standing — that’s progress!), I realized I wasn’t wishing to be anywhere but here.

Where will your peeps be? Email

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