Sarah and Roger Chrisman, known throughout the Central Coast for their philanthropy and undying support of local artistry, firmly believe in the uniting powers of art and culture. Last month, the Chrismans bolstered this sentiment by bestowing a visionary gift of $1 million unto the Santa Barbara Center for the Performing Arts (SBCPA), which owns and operates the historic Granada Theatre.
With this endowment, the Chrismans will fund a permanent Executive Directorship for The Granada, making it possible for the SBCPA to not only ensure the best leadership possible for the theatre but to also strengthen partnerships within the local performing arts community.
Sarah has been the SBCPA’s board president since 2009 and, as a founding board member, has served the organization in various roles for more than a decade. She also has a place on the Board of Opera Santa Barbara, and works as the chief financial officer of the Warren and Katharine Schlinger Foundation, an L.A.-based nonprofit. Roger, who has served as director and commodore of Santa Barbara Yacht Club, also worked for several years as treasurer of the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum, where he still serves as a director. Both he and Sarah are the sole trustees of the Schlinger Chrisman Foundation.
“Sarah and Roger are both true visionaries,” says Kristi Newton, director of development for The Granada, in a written statement. “Their gift will help ensure the long-term sustainability and vitality of The Granada Theatre for the benefit of current and future generations.”
In addition to their million-dollar donation, the Chrismans have also helped acquire the Granada’s new Digital Cinema. This state-of-the-art digital projection system and 4K film experience is the first of its kind on California’s Central Coast, and will begin programming in the fall. Thanks to Sarah and Roger Chrisman, The Granada Theatre’s reputation as a centerpiece of Santa Barbara’s lively performing arts community will continue to flourish in the coming years.