A museum al fresco, Art Along the Creek is a celebration of the arts with paintings and music under the oaks and sycamore trees along Mission Creek. Only a block away from the Old Mission and running the same dates as the I Madonnari festival, Art Along the Creek is a great reason to wander in nature and enjoy the arts under the canopy of the sky.
More than 200 works will be on display—and for sale–from nearly 100 members of Southern California Artists Painting for the Environment (SCAPE) during the three-day event. Participating artists hail from all corners of Santa Barbara County—and a few from Ventura County, too—and their work includes portraits and figurative art, still life and florals, and contemporary, surreal, and abstract art as well.
Each year Art Along the Creek features a guest artist; this year’s is Marcia Burtt.
“Honoring Marcia Burtt was an easy choice for the board,” said Leigh Sparks, board member and co-chair of the event with artist John Rindlaub. Sparks stated, “Marcia was a key founding member of SCAPE in 2002 and has continued to be a steadfast supporter in our mission of uniting all artists in mutual support of each other and preserving our local environment. Marcia Burtt’s solid artistic endeavors and light filled iconic images of our California coastline and rural landscapes celebrate what is so important in saving our environment.” Burtt won last year’s Beneficiary’s Choice for her work titled, “Late Sun.” This year the postcard for the show is one of her paintings as well, titled “Spring Sky.”
“It’s a thrill to walk near the creek and see hundreds of new paintings focused on our area,” Burtt said, “ Art Along the Creek is an exhibition of work to protect the environment that is actually held in a lovely environmental context. Folks returning to their cars from I Madonnari hear the music and stop by the creekside to see the paintings.”
When asked what she enjoys most about painting, the talented Burtt answered, “ Painting is one area of life where I make my own rules; no one else can decide when the painting is finished and whether it tells the story I want it to. It’s very satisfying as well to treat each painting as a kind of puzzle–how to say everything I want to about a huge subject, on a small rectangular canvas.” Her advice to aspiring artists is, “Paint for love—don’t worry about the rules or how anyone else does it. Paint, paint, paint.”
In its fifth year, Art Along the Creek is fundraiser for Phoenix of Santa Barbara, a 40-year-old non-profit that “provides a range of mental health recovery-oriented services, with the goal of helping individuals and families cope and thrive in the face of a variety of psychiatric and substance abuse conditions,” according to its website. Forty percent of each purchase at Art Along the Creek will go to Phoenix of Santa Barbara, specifically to its creek habitat restoration project called “Saving Land, Saving Lives.”
All are welcome to attend the reception and award ceremony on Sunday, May 27, 2-4 p.m. Awards are given in six categories: Beneficiary’s Choice; Landscape; Portrait/Figure/Still Life; Abstract/Surreal/Contemporary; Urban Landscape/ Architectural; and the People’s Choice. (Jurist for this year’s show is professional artist and renowned art instructor Rick Stich who will make his choices as the artists arrive on Saturday morning, so that when it opens at 2 p.m. all award ribbons will be in place.)
Art Along the Creek takes place Saturday, May 26, 2-6 p.m.; Sunday, May 27, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. (reception 2-4 p.m.); and Monday, May 28, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. , 37 Mountain Drive (at Mission Canyon Road). Free.