April 20 is an indulgent day for many Santa Barbarans, and if you don’t know what I mean, just turn to the plume of smoke hovering over Isla Vista and take a whiff. Whatever your feelings about that particular brand of celebration-I won’t offer an opinion here-most would agree a typical 4/20 is about the least productive day our town sees, albeit a windfall for the food delivery sector.
Ironically enough, the occasion’s celebrants tend to be the people most preoccupied with social ills and those most vocally in favor of community action. The obvious question is this: How, oh how, can their ambitious philosophies be reconciled with the dizzying lethargy of the coming week? The answer, dear friends, is at SOhO on Friday night, where roots/reggae sensation Soul Majestic plays a succulent 4/20 show to benefit Art From Scrap, a nonprofit organization that has been enriching Santa Barbara for more than 17 years.
The key word here is community, and the story behind this show is an example of what we Santa Barbarans should strive for. Art From Scrap is an organization that promotes and fosters environmental education. The business is known to the public primarily through its downtown store, which offers an endless assortment of odd and eclectic reclaimed objects for any art project you could conceive. Upstairs, there is an art studio that draws enthusiastic artists of all ages, “Though,” confessed Director Cay Sanchez, “little kids are the most fun to watch.”
Additionally, Art From Scrap works extensively with Santa Barbara schools, bringing materials into the classroom and community for the benefit of children and hosting an ever-expanding array of environmentally insightful, educational workshops. Art From Scrap interacts with around 12,000 students every year, and if you’re a parent or an educator, you’ve probably benefited from its services. “They have such amazing things in their store; things that spark imagination, that are accessible to everyone,” said Laura Macker, a sixth-grade teacher. “The outreach they do in the schools is irreplaceable, especially now as we’re coming to understand the scope of our environmental impact.”
The problem, so often the case with nonprofits, is money. Art From Scrap, which recently left the comfort of an umbrella organization for more autonomous control, is in a constant struggle to fund its many programs, and these next few months could dictate its future in Santa Barbara.
Enter LoaTree, a little known, unquestionably unique company, and the reason this show is taking place. LoaTree is trying something new, blending a business model with social consciousness to offer naturally inspiring products, services, and events aimed at building community and enriching lives. Explains cofounder David Fortson, “We [the founders] were doing things in our daily lives: woodworking, jewelry, art. We put a vision around that, and a commitment to offer up to the world that which we expect in return.” Of course, that community-based talk is cheap these days, and often hollow, which makes this 4/20 show all the more impressive. Without being asked, without any prompting whatsoever, LoaTree approached Art From Scrap with an idea and a commitment. It proposed an out-of-this-world benefit concert coupled with a silent auction to raise money to keep Art From Scrap alive and thriving. Said Fortson, “LoaTree has a responsibility to help those doing right with the community.”
Pairing with Caribbean rhythm-heavy Soul Majestic was the obvious choice for the event. The musicians, who formed the group in the late ’90s and are based on the Central Coast, combine socially conscious lyrics with an infectious stage energy that perfectly matches the vibe emanating from Art From Scrap and LoaTree. Add it all up and you’ve got yourself a killer show for a killer cause.
Soul Majestic takes the stage this Friday, April 20, at SOhO at 9 p.m.; call 962-7776 for tickets. The silent auction is currently in full swing at Art From Scrap (302 E. Cota St.) and will continue at SOhO the night of the show. To learn more about Art From Scrap, visit ArtFromScrap.org.
For more about LoaTree, visit LoaTree.com.