Arts Fund Fundraising in the Funk Zone

Text & photos by Shannon Kelley

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.

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

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

Where will your peeps be? Email


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