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The purpose of the Arts Commission is to act as coordinator and catalyst, bringing government, artist and public together for the cultural benefit of all.


Formed in 1977, the Santa Barbara County Arts Commission is a 15 member County Commission appointed by the County Board of Supervisors, with three members from each of the five supervisorial districts who make recommendations to the Board on cultural arts policy. The Arts Commission serves as an umbrella for county arts projects, assists communities in raising funds for art programs and provides technical assistance and coordination to arts organizations, artists and local government. The Santa Barbara County Arts Commission is the regional cultural development agency, a State and Local Partner of the California Arts Council and manager of the County Percent for Art Program. The Arts Commission meets monthly on the second Wednesday of each month, at 1:30 p.m., at locations throughout the county. Department Spotlight Video

The County Arts Commission is involved with numerous city, county and state-wide initiatives on an ongoing basis. For a list of key arts commission projects for the 2009-2010 year, click here.

The Santa Barbara County Arts Commission strives--through its policies and diverse and varied programming--to foster life-long learning and engagement in the arts for people of all ages and cultural backgrounds in Santa Barbara County.

The Arts Commission is committed to employing the arts as a tool and catalyst for greater community engagement and resource to expand cross-cultural understanding.

In order to promote the County's rich and diverse cultural heritage, the Arts Commission has established a number of programs and developed strategic partnerships with diverse agencies and nonprofits with the goal to increase access to the arts and broaden diversity of arts offerings and activities in all communities.

Arts Commission programs and cultural events (with the exception of our Annual Arts Symposium) remain free to the public and handicap-accessible, meeting Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements. The Santa Barbara City cultural grants we administer require that funded programs and events meet ADA accessibility guidelines.

The Arts Commission strives to attract and seek out individuals for committee positions that are deeply connected to their communities so that our Commission and Committees reflect the cultural, artistic and geographical diversity of Santa Barbara County.

Sarah York Rubin, Executive Director
Maiza Hixson, Chief Curator
Hannah Rubalcava, Contracts/Grants Manager

1st District: Gerardo Ayala (Chair), Elyse Gonzales, Luis Moreno,
2nd District: Barbara Burger, Dug Uyesaka, Dante Sigismondi
3rd District: Catherine Boyer, K.C. Thompson, Karen Evangelista (Vice-Chair)
4th District: Brenda French, Vacant,Vacant
5th District: Doug Jenzen, Dennis Smitherman, Sergio Zepeda

Robert Adams, Chair
Nina Dunbar
Elizabeth Owen
Marylove Thralls
William Smithers
Nathan Vonk, Vice-Chair
Margie Yahyavi
Frank Hotchkiss (City Council Liaison)

Santa Barbara County Arts Commission Flowchart


Brunner, Phoebe - The Faithful Fields of GolBrunner, Phoebe - The Faithful Fields of Gold
Phoebe Brunner, The Faithful Fields of Gold

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California Arts Commission California State Art Lover's License plate supports the arts in California



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