Santa Barbara Museum of Arts' Nights

Nearly six years after their inception, the Santa Barbara Museum of Arts’ Nights are still arguably some of the hottest and most highly anticipated events of the summer. Lucky for us, then, that the 2009 season is starting things off early-and upping the metaphorical ante-next Thursday, April 16. With a newly revamped schedule (Nights will be held bi-monthly through August, rather than monthly through September), additional, exclusive events (Nights Atelier kicks off Saturday, June 27), and an opening night that’s based around Yinka Shonibare’s dazzling exhibit, A Flying Machine for Every Man, Woman and Child and Other Astonishing Works, 2009 already is looking to be bigger and better than ever. For a rundown of what’s to come this month, check out our reasons to attend below. And for tickets and event info, call 884-6414 or visit

1) Music to Our Ears: April’s season-opening event has plenty to offer art enthusiasts of all walks, including music fans. In addition to Shonibare’s work, the evening will include collaborative arrangements from a contemporary string quartet lead by Jim Connelly, alongside Steve and Lindsay Campbell on accompanying African drums. Also on board is French Tunisian hip-hop artist, who’ll be spitting rhymes in five languages in conjunction with Shonibare’s The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters works.

2) Getting Crafty: Perhaps surprisingly, some of the most crowded spots in the museum during Nights are around the ever-changing craft tables. Throughout the season, attendees are invited to try their hand at themed creative projects, and this month the offerings are plentiful. The Parlour Play Portrait Studio invites guests to dress and strut like Victorian Gothic punks, while the Un Ballo Mask and Bronte Sisters Choker tables will provide space and materials for Nights-goers to create their own wearable art.

3) It’s All About the Atmosphere: While schedules, exhibits, and cocktail menus come and go, one thing about Nights will always stay the same-the ambiance. Surrounded by some of the finest and most engaging artwork Santa Barbara has to offer, guests are invited into a sprawling and multifaceted event that still manages to feel intimate and exclusive. Around every bend in the hallway, you’ll find live music, interactive crafts, performances, and amazing art. It’s an experience rarely offered up to the public, and one you will no doubt remember for years to come.


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