The Brotherhood of Santa Barbara will be hosting its 2nd Annual African American Cultural Arts Festival & Awards Banquet at the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum this Saturday, February 14. The event, better known as The Mariner’s Ball, features daytime activities from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. as well as an evening Valentine’s Day Ball & Awards Banquet from 7 to 11:30 p.m.

Formed more than seven years ago, the Brotherhood of Santa Barbara rose out of the African-American community’s desire to convene and organize in an informal yet productive manner. “In the beginning, the only means of publicity and recruitment was through word-of-mouth,” explained Brotherhood’s president Bill Spencer. “There was no black ghetto in Santa Barbara, which was both a good and bad thing. It was good for the obvious reasons, but it also meant that there was not a centralized location for blacks to interact. The Brotherhood attempted to draw attention to the small yet important black contingent of Santa Barbara and provide a means of camaraderie and friendship amongst Santa Barbara’s African Americans.” As the Brotherhood grew and gained recognition, it filed for nonprofit status and has continued to cultivate an appreciation for its goals and purposes since.

The Mariner’s Ball, Spencer said, “is technically a fundraiser for the Brotherhood, but within the fundraising context is education.” The event will host performances of all kinds, including poetry readings, musical performances, speeches, and open discussions. (For a specific lineup of the day’s events, visit this Web site .) It is the hope of the Brotherhood that these offerings will provide a setting for all Santa Barbara residents to contribute and gain from different ideas and perspectives. “We are attempting to broaden our efforts in order to reach all groups within the community,” said Spencer.


The 2nd Annual African American Cultural Arts Festival & Awards Banquet, also known as The Mariner’s Ball, takes place on Saturday, February 14, from 11 a.m. until 11:30 p.m., with various events happening all day and a banquet at night. For more information, see this Web site .


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