The Santa Barbara Beautiful Awards
by Virginia Hayes
It’s always nice to get a pat on the back for a job well done.
Santa Barbara Beautiful has been doing that for more than 40 years
at its annual awards ceremonies. This year the list of recipients
was long and august. There are a number of categories to recognize
significant improvements at properties ranging from single-family
residences, both large and small, to commercial buildings and
signs, historic restoration projects, and significant architectural
features and public art. In addition to these awards, there are
some special awards honoring excellence in other aspects that serve
to enhance the community.
The Business in Art Award was given this year to Barry Berkus
for his support of the arts. The Barry Berkus and Family Art
Collection has been donated to the County of Santa Barbara in
memory of Gail Berkus and contains more than 70 contemporary pieces
produced by local artists during the last 25 years.
Looking Good Santa Barbara is a program run by the City of Santa
Barbara Environmental Services that provides graffiti removal and
targets litter through neighborhood recycling efforts. This year it
was awarded the Jacaranda Award for Community Service to honor the
work of more than 500 volunteers who help to keep Santa Barbara
The Heritage Oak Award for Lifetime Achievement singled out
Michael Towbes for his years of work to improve Santa Barbara.
Towbes has received many awards for his philanthropy and
fundraising efforts, but this one is no less deserved. His latest
accomplishments include being the major donor to the new cactus
garden at Lotusland (where he served on the board of trustees for a
number of years) and he is now involved in the restoration of the
Lotusland was also honored this year with the President’s Award
for maintaining the stunning gardens of the late Madame Ganna
Walska and opening them to the public. Lotusland is proud to
preserve the gardens through sustainable horticultural techniques
that enhance the diversity of natural ecosystems without the use of
Speaking of Lotusland, there are still a few weeks left in the
tour season for this remarkable garden. Call 969-9990 (from 9 a.m.
to noon) for a reservation to take a regular tour or attend the
very special Twilight Tour on Saturday, October 28.