The Board of Directors of the Santa Barbara Center for the Performing Arts joins the many voices expressing deep sadness at the passing of one of Santa Barbara’s greatest citizens, Michael Towbes. His dedication to making the Granada Theatre a very special gift to the citizens of Santa Barbara provided the impetus for engaging the entire community in bringing the restoration project to fruition. We are proud to be one of the many institutions throughout the central coast to have benefitted from his philanthropic support, his always thoughtful advice, his actively engaged participation as a board member, and his generosity of spirit.

“On behalf of the board of the Santa Barbara Center for Performing Arts, I want to express our deepest gratitude for this humble man of generosity, integrity and leadership.” said Dan Burnham, chair of the SBCPA Board of Directors. “He led the restoration of the Granada Theatre with a singular focus on the end result — creating a performance arts center worthy of the aspirations of the Santa Barbara community — and he did so without bluster or ego. We send our love and condolences to his precious wife, Anne, and to all of the Towbes family.”

Sarah Schlinger Chrisman, chair of the SBCPA board during a majority of the Granada Theatre restoration project commented, “Michael will be sorely missed by our community. He was my mentor and my friend who taught me wonderful lessons about being an engaged philanthropist, dedicated to improving the lives of all in our town. He will never be forgotten by those of us who worked closely with him on the restoration of the Granada Theatre and the uplifting effect of his generosity will be felt for decades to come by every institution and individual who was touched by his life.”

“Michael Towbes made the SBCPA and the Granada Theatre possible.” said Craig Springer, president and CEO of the SBCPA. “His unwavering belief in the power of the performing arts to move people, and the value of that engagement with all people in our community, are now part of our organization’s DNA. We will strive to always work in a manner that pays homage to his memory and to the principles he held dear. He will be greatly missed by us all.”


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