First Thursday is this Thursday. Visit downtown Santa Barbara for an evening filled with FREE art, culture, music and fun! The August 4th eventwill include more than 30 cultural art venues eager to show off exciting new exhibits, welcoming artist receptions, intriguing demonstrations and energetic live music.
Santa Barbara’s richest tradition, Fiesta, is woven into this month’s 1st Thursday programming as venues showcase artwork that embodies the unique spirit of the festival and this year’s theme, Celebrate Santa Barbara! Kick off the annual festivities at Pierre Lafond Wine Bistro with a Fiesta art exhibit and live Spanish guitar performed by Carlos Gonzales. Make your way to Au Bon Climat Tasting Room to view recent Santa Barbara cityscapes by local plein air artist Chris Potter and watch him in action as he paints an original piece on site for your viewing pleasure. A mix of horses and people make up A Celebration of the Elegant and Festive Old Spanish Days by Birgitte Aarestrup on view at CASA Magazine. Aarestrup’s work reveals behind the scenes images of the popular and historic Old Spanish Days fiesta parade and will be accompanied by live music. Plum Goods is proud to feature a collection of assemblage pieces from artist Rod Lathim, a fifth generation Santa Barbaran. His evocative work reflects his love of story-telling and his life-long passion for the visual arts. The excitement of Fiesta continues at Bella Rosa Galleries with Pali X Mano, an exhibition that includes small whimsical figurative abstracts influenced by surrealist artist Jean Miro and small non-figurative art-plays influenced by Jackson Pollock. The exhibition will be accompanied by live Flamenco guitar performed by Travis Loughridge. Artamo Gallery will display an exhibit aptly named Fiesta that features the work of Mexican-American artist Agustin Castillo. Presented are his latest, very lively abstract compositions in bold, Fiesta-like colors. Make your way to the Architectural Foundation Gallery for a solo exhibition by renowned regional artist Rafael Perea de la Cabada entitled Spaces We Touch/ Espacios Que Tocamos. This exhibit presents a new series of works on paper and will include a festive reception with the artist. Finally, head up to the Santa Barbara Frame Shop and Gallery to preview the works of the Santa Barbara Studio Artists Tour, a collection of art by more than 40 local area artists. While 1st Thursday offers extraordinary exhibits and paintings indoors, be sure to check out the performance art and live music outdoors. The Linda Vega Dance Studio will take over Paseo Nuevo Center Court with ¡Flamenco! Santa Barbara, the first flamenco company comprised solely of young dancers directed by Vega. Vega has contributed toward shaping the course of Spanish dance in Santa Barbara by presenting innovative music, costumes and choreographies. Guitarist Shaun Sanders will delight patrons on the patio at 900 State Street with his musical style based on the tradition of the Spanish guitar while Casa Dolores leads a Paper Flower Creation Station, just in time for the Fiesta celebrations, at the corner of Anapamu and State Streets. All of these attractions and many more are FREE during 1st Thursday on August 4th. For more information and a complete listing of the specific programming at each gallery as well as all public performances and interactive exhibits, go to www.santabarbaradowntown.com. –Ashleigh Davis, Santa Barbara Downtown Organization