It is unfortunately a common refrain for classrooms across California: Arts funding is being slashed leaving children with few creative outlets, barely any artistic inspiration, and a life centered solely on reading, writing, and ‘rithmetic. Luckily for Santa Barbara, there’s a nonprofit organization whose directive is to give scholarships to “artists of all ages” as a means of “preserving Santa Barbara’s cultural heritage.” This is the John E. Profant Foundation for the Arts, and it’s accepting applications for the next round of scholarships until May 31.

The foundation is named after Santa Barbara’s influential Profant family, which came to town in the 1920s and immediately began supporting the arts community, specifically the Music Academy of the West and the Community Arts Music Association. John Edward Profant, born in 1928, went to Santa Barbara High and then built his wealth as an engineer at Northrop Aircraft Company in Manhattan Beach. He met his wife, Lyn, during Fiesta at El Paseo in 1950, and made it his goal to return to Santa Barbara and support the arts community upon retirement. But he died in 1994 before returning, so Lyn carried on his dream by launching the foundation. Since 2001, it has given out nearly $150,000 to aspiring artists.

This year, the scholarships being offered, which range from $500 to $2,000, are for people involved in music, dance, visual art, drama, and literature. There is no age limit, though many of the artists tend to be younger. The money must be used to support basic living expenses, arts-related tuition, and resources required to complete the proposed project.

Those who are accepted will be notified in August and then receive their scholarships in September during a ceremony in the Mural Room of the County Courthouse. The culmination of the awards occurs the following August during Fiesta, when Profant scholarship awardees in music and dance perform during the finale.

To apply, go to or call 681-8284. See for more details.


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