Grace Fisher’s Inclusive Arts Clubhouse Brings First Event to Santa Barbara
Valentine's ‘FUNraiser’ for April's Love Soldiers Takes Place on February 11 in New La Cumbre Plaza Venue
A sneak peek at the new Grace Fisher Inclusive Arts Clubhouse in La Cumbre Plaza provides a glimpse into yet another new way that this inspiring young woman is determined to be a positive force in our community. Creating a physical headquarters to offer an inclusive space for children with disabilities to express themselves through art, music, and dance has been a long time goal for the now 24-year-old musician, artist, activist, and entrepreneur.
At age 17, in 2014, as a senior at Santa Barbara High, Fisher was paralyzed from the neck down from a virus that spread to her spine. A gifted musician who was headed to the Berklee College of Music in Boston, Fisher is also a gifted multitasker. She graduated from UCSB College of Creative Studies’ music composition program in 2022 at the same time she created the Grace Fisher Foundation to bring the arts to kids of all abilities. Soon those kids will have a “clubhouse” of their very own.
With plans for an artful tree sculpture in one corner and a vibrant creation station in another, the large, light-filled, open plan is beginning to morph into Fisher’s vision.
“I want it to be magical,” she said, as she outlined a layout for the space that will include areas for dance classes, art projects (both scheduled classes and drop-in pop-up projects), gallery walls, quiet areas to chill out, and a retail component that includes Grace Fisher’s art as well as items from the Never Give Up Shop shop.nevergiveup.org) with the Gwendolyn Strong Foundation. In addition to classes and activities for elementary-school-age kids through young adults, Fisher also plans to offer respite and supportive services for caregivers at the Clubhouse.
“I grew up with Club Disney. That is my inspiration,” said Fisher of the new space, which she’s been fundraising for with her annual concerts. She also received a grant to kickstart the project from Tom Moyer and the Marilyn Moyer Trust. “When you come through the doors, I want it to feel inviting and magical and just like a special place,” said Fisher. “Like you’re entering a different world.”
The first preview event at the Inclusive Arts Clubhouse is a Valentine’s Day–themed “FUNdraiser” for Fisher’s longtime family friend April Medina-Watson, who was recently diagnosed with ALS. “One of the things that she used to enjoy before her diagnosis was that she would put together bouquets of flowers to bring to people that are newly diagnosed with something or have a loss, and their family and stuff,” said Fisher. “So instead of ALS, they’re calling it April’s Love Soldiers.”
This “Spread the Love” event takes place on Saturday, February 11 from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Community members are invited to come make Valentine’s Day cards and enjoy food, drinks, live music, and Fisher’s new space. Suggested donation is $50 and proceeds will go to support Medina-Watson’s need for night nursing support. April’s Love Soldiers are working with the Santa Barbara–based “Gals Give Back” to collect donations here.
Grace Fisher Inclusive Arts Clubhouse is located in La Cumbre Plaza, 121 South Hope Avenue (catty-corner from Williams-Sonoma). For more information, visit gracefisherfoundation.org.
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