Every Sunday, more than 150 artists line up on Cabrillo Boulevard to sell their paintings, photographs, ceramics, and countless other wares to both tourists and residents who pass by. It’s easy for those of us who live here to take the Santa Barbara Arts & Crafts Show for granted, but the weekly affair — which celebrates its 50th anniversary this month with a Spencer the Gardener concert on Sunday, May 17, 1-3 p.m. — is uniquely responsible for fostering countless homegrown artists and providing an outlet to turn one’s passion into a profit.
“Having a chance to talk to people and see what they like or don’t like about your product is invaluable,” said leather smith Steve Junak, who’s been selling at the beach for 44 of the 50 years, since 1971. “That’s an amazing opportunity for a beginning artist or craftsperson.” He also enjoys meeting people from all over the world and the camaraderie of being around other artists who have become lifelong friends. “It’s tied in really well with how Adult Ed teaches people how to have a little paying hobby,” he said. “It’s really a neat thing.”