A lead gift of $10,000 from David Jacoby from the Jacoby Family Trust was a catalyst for funding contributions for the restoration of Herbert Bayer’s Chromatic Gate. In offering the gift, Jacoby stated, “Herbert Bayer fled Germany because Bauhaus art was declared ‘Degenerate Art’ by the Nazis. Now, I am delighted to help restore Bayer’s Chromatic Gate as a beautiful modern piece of art — and regard it as a personal win over past evil.”
Mercedes Eichholz, long-time friend of the artist Herbert Bayer, understands the need for public art to be maintained and responded with a match of $10,000. “I hope the Robert and Mercedes Eichholz Foundation’s matching funds will spur others to help restore this piece to its former beauty.”
Recent fund-raising efforts have been energized by the formation of a new dynamic team of co-chairs, Patty DeDominic and Gene Sinser and the formation of the Restore Our Rainbow (ROR) committee, in conjunction with The Arts Fund. DeDominic, an entrepreneur, strategic adviser, author, and supporter of women’s issues and Sinser, her husband, businessman and former gallery owner along with committee members, Barry and Jo Berkus, are setting a winning strategy for raising the rest of the funds to restore the Chromatic Gate. Efforts include a children’s campaign, business involvement, and public and private events.
The Chromatic Gate is located on Cabrillo Boulevard at Calle Puerto Vallarta. The 21 foot high 12-and-a-half ton rainbow was erected in 1991 by a committee of local art enthusiasts, headed by the late Paul Mills, retired Director of the SBMA, and was the design of Herbert Bayer, who was the most celebrated international artist ever to live in Santa Barbara. Bayer was the last living artist-master of the Bauhaus, the art school and movement from which much of modern architecture, design and art has evolved. This once striking and vibrant large-scale sculpture is now experiencing the severe environmental and corrosive assaults of life near the ocean. Extremely faded colors, peeling paint, and rusted areas are encroaching on the surfaces of this unique work of art. Repainting and rust repair is critical to the life of this painted steel artwork. The Arts Commission plans to raise a total of $50,000 which will restore the Chromatic Gate and create a maintenance fund to care for the sculpture for years to come.
Although at first, the installation of the Chromatic Gate was highly controversial, (as much modern art is) this sculpture has become a cultural touchstone in Santa Barbara; it is a popular photo location for visitors, and locals alike. It looms over and frames visitors on the field behind it; our local tour buses include it on their route and children embrace its lively presence adjacent to the beach.
Those interested in contributing to the restoration of Santa Barbara’s Rainbow, may send tax-deductible donations to: County Arts Commission, P.O. Box 2369, Santa Barbara, CA 93120. Checks should be made out to Santa Barbara County Arts Commission, and note on the lower left of your check: Restore Our Rainbow (ROR). You will receive a letter acknowledging your tax-deductible donation.
When restored, the Chromatic Gate is a sculpture that will continue to intrigue, delight, and promote the genius and vision of Herbert Bayer and encourage people to learn about the history of this great artist and his work. Suzanne Muchnic of the Los Angeles Times said, “This work may have been done in the last decade, but it comes from a time when people believed that art could help make the world new again.” Santa Barbara deserves this joyful world-class restored sculpture to help us all look at the world with fresh eyes.