A series of performance art events, to be presented free by the Santa Barbara Contemporary Arts Forum (CAF), has won a $15,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). “We are thrilled to have received funding from the NEA for our Forum Lounge series,” Miki Garcia, the CAF’s executive director, said in a written statement. The grant is all the more impressive considering that in times of economic recession-the current one brought a private funding dip of at least 6.4 percent in the last two years, as well as a drop in state funding-experimental art pieces are often the first to be cut.

The funding will allow the CAF to present unique performance art pieces free of charge. Heather Jeno Silva, who worked on the grant and is the series’ curator, said the grant was acquired because of the forum’s ability to expose a broad audience to more avant-garde art. The Forum Lounge series is meant to expand the public’s awareness of performance pieces-an underrated genre of visual art-as a legitimate art form. It will “gain exposure to a breadth of artists from around the country,” Silva said.

The Forum Lounge series is presented in partnership with the Downtown Organization’s First Thursday program. The ’09 line-up currently includes Jessica Findley’s Aeolian Ride, a participatory bicycling performance on October 1; Bruce McClure’s Projector Performances, a presentation using film projectors, loops, and guitar pedals, on November 5; and a performance piece by Julie Lequin based on her upcoming work, Top 30, on December 3. For more information, and to sign up to participate in Aeolian Ride, visit sbcaf.org.


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