By Ashley Self
Revolutionary and cutting edge may be subjective terms. Today we might call Elon Musk revolutionary, while in the 1500s, it was Shakespeare and Galileo. Santa Barbara is home to a passionate advocate for the arts who wants to put the Shakespeare’s and the Galileo’s and the Musk’s of today in a room together where they can riff off each other and collaborate on projects that not only expand the mind, but benefit humanity.
That “room” is the Santa Barbara Center for Arts, Science and Technology (SBCAST), launched two years ago by local visionary artist, engineer, and inventor Alan Macy. SBCAST is a self-defined art incubator, inspired by and modeled after other similar ventures worldwide. The incubator, located in Santa Barbara’s artist’s corridor, is comprised of nine artist residences, several work studios and multiple shared spaces.
According to its founder, “The point of SBCAST is that it’s a watering hole—designed for chance encounters, and a rich environment for creative process.”
SBCAST draws parallels between art, science and technology in that they are all born of creative curiosity and all seek to demonstrate, comment on or affect humanity. Artists/scientists/integrators migrate through the center for short stays (one to three months) or extended stays (18 months).
Current and past residents include an Ayurvedic practitioner, a seamstress, a renowned street artist, a fabric dyer and a NASA scientist—and that’s just scratching the surface.
The word “incubate” only half defines what SBCAST is all about. The other half is community ambassadorship and educational outreach. In addition to its monthly First Thursday exhibitions, generously curated by international art community envoy Lynn M. Holley, SBCAST has hosted artisan-led workshops on Oaxacan dying, leather working and even electronic textiles and wearables, often in conjunction with other arts organizations like the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCASB). UCSB’s graduate program, Media Arts & Technology, rents a space and hosts student exhibitions there as well.
SBCAST is currently displaying the works of Czech artist Tom Pazderka, whose “work blends burning, drawing, construction/
deconstruction and painting to strange effect—a particular Czech fatalism mixed with American optimism.” The exhibit, “The End is the Beginning: Tom Pazderka,” will include a panel discussion on the condition of the immigrant in artistic representation at SBCAST. Like those of other featured artists, Pazderka’s moving works, featuring burned and painted wood panels, will echo the halls of SBCAST long after they have moved on. 513 Garden St., Santa Barbara, sbcast.org.
Originally published in the Winter 2019 issue of Santa Barbara Seasons Magazine.