Nathan Snyder’s “Our World Breaking Open,” 2008
Courtesy Photo

There’s no better way to get peoples honest opinions of your artwork than by plopping it onto a corner of State Street, where thousands of passersby will peer at it every day. Such is the promise of the State of the Art Gallery 2018 exhibit, in which the Santa Barbara County Office of Arts & Culture curates eight sculptures to be anchored onto the sidewalk from March to May 2018.

Past iterations have exploded into full-blown civic controversy — 2006’s “W” by Colin Gray angered McDonald’s, and one year people complained about a sculpture that looked like “dinosaur poop” — but most are admired and accepted into the visual backdrop of downtown for their short lifespan. The best part is that the call is open to all professional artists and/or artist teams who are 18 or older and work or reside in Santa Barbara County.

“There will continue to be very valid and very divergent opinions and approaches, which is inherent in and the beauty of a process that is ultimately a civic collaboration between local government, artists, organizations, and the public,” said Sarah York Rubin, executive director of the Office of Arts & Culture. “We hope to inspire conversation and dialogue and that the sculptures will be a draw to downtown Santa Barbara.”

There are parameters, of course. “Work needs to be appropriate for an outdoor location and able to accommodate pedestrian foot traffic,” explained the call-for-artists press release. The work needn’t be new, and artists can submit multiple sculptures, of which more than one may be selected. The chosen few will receive a $750 honorarium per installation, and the Office of Arts & Culture, with the help of Santa Barbara Beautiful, will transport, install, and maintain the art.

The original meeting scheduled for December 13 was postponed due to the Thomas Fire and is now happening on Tuesday, January 9, 2018, 5-6 p.m., at the Community Arts Workshop (631 Garden St.). The deadline for proposals is now Monday, January 15. See


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