Vanae Rivera will be one of the many bar napkin artists participating in the SBAC fundraiser Saturday March 20, 2010
Paul Wellman

Since forming back in 2007, the Santa Barbara Arts Collaborative (SBAC) has always aimed to do things a little differently. The organization is, in essence, a response to the changing economic climate in the arts; a nonprof that looks to fill the ever-growing void of arts funding in our community. Today, the collaborative includes a broad spectrum of artists, supporters, government officials, and business folk, and is providing substantial monetary funding to visual, literary, and performance artists and organizations throughout Santa Barbara. This Saturday, the SBAC invades Muddy Waters Café (508 E. Haley St.) for a fundraising event they’re calling the Bar Napkin Biennale. Open to artists and amateur doodlers alike, the all-day draw-a-thon and auction is easily one of the most creative fundraisers we’ve heard of. To get the skinny, check out reasons to attend below. And for more info, visit or call 966-9328.

1) Come One, Come All: Whether you’re a wizard with a paintbrush, or a master of the stick figure, the SBAC wants you. From noon to 4 p.m. on Saturday, participants are invited to come by, grab a napkin, and get to drawing. Then from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., the finished napkin masterpieces will be up for grabs. In between all the drawing and auction action, attendees are welcome to eat, drink, and mingle with their fellow artists and community members.

2) Place Your Bids: Profits from Saturday’s two-hour silent auction will benefit the SBAC’s direct-to-artists grants, which are given out annually to artists of all disciplines. “All the work will be put up for silent auction. There is no minimum bid for any of the napkins, and the sky’s the limit,” said SBAC Nathan Vonk. “We have invited some well-known artists, and it would be reasonable to imagine that the bidding for their napkins will be pretty active. But it might also be an opportunity to get a work by one of your favorite local artists that you couldn’t normally afford. It’s one of the great allures of any auction.”

3) Spread the Love: Vonk points out that the Bar Napkin Biennale isn’t just a fundraiser—it’s a way of uniting Santa Barbara’s many creative minds. “It’s the first of many events to foster ‘belly-to-belly’ communication and collaboration amongst the artists in Santa Barbara—a fun way to get together, support the artists in the community, and businesses that support the arts.”


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