As a toiler in the visual arts, it was hard not to notice the breakdown of categories in the Independent’s “Best of the Arts 2011.”. Of the 45 total picks, what is usually considered the visual arts managed one (Penelope Gottlieb — an excellent choice, by the way). I realize these matters are subjective, but is it really possible that no one at the paper saw, or, if they did, were sufficiently unimpressed not to remember or find notable the work of Philip Argent, Keith Puccinelli, Nicole Strasburg, Nell Campbell, or Pam Schiffer to name just some of the artists whose work graced our galleries this year? Nothing at Channing Peake, CAF, the Arts Fund, the SB Museum of Art, or the various other galleries in town? Not even the Charles Garabedian retrospective which Christopher Knight of the LA Times chose as one of the 10 best California museum shows of the year?

Nothing in the arts “deserves” support if the work doesn’t justify it. The visual arts in Santa Barbara amply justify it.


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