SBYouthArts.com, the newest project through Arts Education at the Granada, is giving social networking new life for Santa Barbara’s many young creatives.
The three-month-old website, which looks and feels almost identical to Facebook, is free and open to anyone in junior high through college interested in everything from gaming to painting to spoken word. With an up-to-date calendar of arts activities that range from professional productions to workshops, and a steady stream of production reviews posted by students, the website has already attracted nearly a hundred followers.
“Before the site was even up, it was the most up-to-date theater site in Santa Barbara,” said Jordan Lemmond, a member of the teen editorial staff. He and fewer than a dozen other teens are the administrators of the website. They’re led and mentored by Laura Inks, the Granada’s director of education, who conceived the SB Youth Arts website this last summer.
At the editorial meetings twice a month, the group tosses around new ideas for fundraisers and meet-and-greets to get members to interact with others who use the site. Right now, they’re working on getting tickets to review The Mystery of Irma Vep at the Ensemble Theater. The biggest struggle is driving traffic to the website, but the staff is confident that if they can just get people to log on, they’ll be hooked.
“What a lot of people have been saying to me is that the site looks really professional,” said Allison Lewis, who won the Santa Barbara Teen Idol competition earlier this year. She’s glad the website gives groups of people who otherwise might not interact—singers and spoken word artists, dancers and jazz musicians—one authoritative place for all their arts information.
“Right now I think the site’s about to go somewhere big,” said Lemmond, grinning at the rest of their staff. In the meantime, it’s back to the computer for these teens.