The little town that could…is getting a new Arts Center!
Carpinteria will soon have a sparkling new arts center in the heart of downtown (855 Linden Ave., Carpinteria).
At press time, $2.8 million of the $3.1 million needed had already been raised to create the new facility to celebrate the arts. Monthly themed exhibitions of all styles and mediums reward regional talent, young and old. Creative classes and activities are diverse: parent or grandparent/child workshops, African drumming, Chinese calligraphy and jewelry making. Bella Artes students, a volunteer arts program that teaches culturally relevant art to mostly Latino families living in three People’s Self-Help Housing developments in town, proudly exhibit at the Center.
For the expansion, the nonprofit purchased the Cajun Kitchen restaurant, conveniently located next door, which is being revitalized and will unveil Charles LoBue Gallery, named for the nonagenarian ̧uber-volunteer and donor who has gleefully watched the center blossom over the decades.
Everyone wants to help. Dave Mendro of Neumann Mendro Andrulaitis Architects (their offices are across the street) created the final design pro bono—same for courtyard landscaping by noted landscape designer (think Lotusland) Eric Nagelmann. Matching grants, like a generous one from Lynda Fairly, add to the giving spirit.
The spacious outdoor courtyard on Linden Avenue hosts everything from yarn bombing to colorful murals created by teens under the guidance of local artist John Wullbrandt. The venue also hosts openings, First Friday celebrations, arts and crafts sales, live music, camps and workshops and even a class on writing and illustrating children’s books.
The new design leaves the community courtyard and its colorful overhead sails intact. This means that, considering our sunny weather, the arts in Carp will continue to be enjoyed and celebrated outside—and remain visible to passersby who might just happen to weave into the outdoor embrace of this community gem. Donations of any size are gratefully accepted and often matched.
It seems that Mayberry by the Sea is well on its way.
This story was originally published in the Winter 2017-18 issue of Santa Barbara Seasons Magazine.