It’s no new news that the arts are facing challenging times. As funding dries up and budgets are slashed, artists and arts organizations have to get even more creative about how they work. The good news is that nobody has to go it alone. This Friday, April 16, the Santa Barbara County Arts Commission holds its 5th Annual Arts Symposium. Whether you’re an independent artist, a funder, a programmer, an advocate, an administrator, or just a fan, this is your chance to check in on the health of the arts in Santa Barbara. The cost for the symposium is $25 at the door—a small price to pay for ensuring the future of the arts in Santa Barbara. To learn more about the symposium or the Direct-to-Artist grants, visit sbartscommission.org or sbartscollaborative.org. Below, you’ll find three reasons to come on down to the Cabrillo Arts Pavilion (1118 E. Cabrillo Blvd.) and check it out for yourself.
1) Hear some success stories: Despite tough times, there’s plenty of good news in the arts this year. The symposium is a chance to celebrate the success of the S.B. Arts Collaborative (SBAC), a grassroots organization that has grown to more than 900 members during the past year. SBAC Chair Rod Hare will speak about the organization’s role in supporting artists across disciplines, from encouraging cooperation in programming and funding to leveraging social media as a tool for visibility, connection, and promotion of the arts. Another cause for rejoicing: the flourishing of the Hutton Foundation’s Arts & Culture Center, where a number of performing arts nonprofits now share an administrative home on upper State Street.
2) Connect and contribute: Much is changing on the arts scene, but one thing remains constant: knowing people can get you far—and networking is key. If you’re involved in the arts in Santa Barbara, you won’t want to miss a chance to rub shoulders with the movers and shakers. Aside from keynote speeches, there will be social hours and breakout sessions where you’ll get to schmooze and make connections, as well as learn from leaders in the arts and add your voice to the dialogue. Topics of afternoon sessions include Teaching Philanthropy, Expanding Access to the Arts, and Creating New Revenue Streams and Funding Models. Come be part of the discussion.
3) Check out the grant winners: What makes this year’s symposium particularly exciting is the announcement of the recipients of SBAC’s first Direct-to-Artists grants. The organization has received applications from all disciplines—performing arts, literary arts, film and new media, visual arts—and will be awarding grants of up to $1,200 to individuals whose projects they believe will make a difference in the community.