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Santa Barbara, California

Santa Barbara Arts: Art Scene in Santa Barbara

Discounts
  • A $25 Stage Pass (sbstage.org) allows you to take advantage of weekly discounts on performance events such as concerts and readings.

Nestled snugly between Los Angeles and San Francisco, Santa Barbara’s warm, sunny climate and rich architectural tradition yield an abundance of cultural offerings. Classical music, theater and opera are all on display here, as are an abundance of traditional and folk art treasures, many of which reflect the area’s colorful Spanish-Mexican traditions.

Santa Barbara Arts Information

 

Art Museums

Santa Barbara Museum of Art

Santa Barbara Museum of Art

With a breadth of collections that rivals museums in much larger cities, the Santa Barbara Museum of Art even lays claim to owning more Monet paintings than any other museum on the West Coast. The 27,000-object collection and special exhibitions are housed in what used to be the Santa Barbara Post Office, built between 1914–32 and now expanded.

The museum’s collection …more…

Westmont Ridley-Tree Museum of Art

Westmont Ridley-Tree Museum of Art (Santa Barbara, CA)

The 2011-2012 season marked the grand opening of the Westmont Museum of Art, whose roots trace back to the Westmont Art Center and Reynolds Gallery, dedicated in 1985. With a new museum space and a fully catalogued collection, the Westmont Museum of Art seeks to educate students and the larger community about the power and value of the visual arts. ...more...

Theater

Ensemble Theatre Company

Ensemble Theatre Company

Now entering its 30th season, the Ensemble Theatre Company appeals to the tastes of the Santa Barbara elite with an elegant five show season of contemporary classics. Pulling talent and the occasional star name from Los Angeles, Ensemble Theatre thrives on small cast local premieres, while its second Storybook Stage offers lighthearted fare for the town’s little ones. A regular play reading series, pre-show martini …more…

PCPA Theaterfest

PCPA Theaterfest

Best known for the reputation of its outstanding accredited conservatory, which helped launch the careers of Broadway star Boyd Gaines and teen idol Zac Efron, PCPA also presents a well rounded season of plays and musicals on three unique colosseum style stages.

Larger summer productions play split runs at both the Marian Theatre at Allan Hancock College and the outdoor Festival Theatre in Solvang, while more …more…

Plaza Playhouse Theater

Plaza Playhouse Theater

Plaza Playhouse Theater Information

Public Transportation: Good (a short walk from buses 10 and 21X at Carpinteria Avenue/Elm Avenue; and a 2-minute walk from bus 36 at Linden Avenue/9th Street)
Handicapped Accessibility: Good
Performances/Programs: Schedule varies
Ticket Prices: Tickets prices vary widely
Subscriptions: Donor levels range from $200–$20,000+.

Classical Music

Music Academy of the West

Music Academy of the West

Charged with the mission to foster an environment of intensive mentorship for young musicians, Music Academy of the West welcomes around 140 Fellows into its program every summer as it has for over 60 years. The Academy also produces its annual festival in conjunction with the training offered through the school, featuring a fully-staged opera as well as masterclasses given by the faculty and performances …more…

Ojai_SummerFest_Classical

Ojai Music Festival (Ojai, CA)

(June 7 – 10, 2012) Held 35 miles southeast of Santa Barbara in Ventura County’s Ojai Valley every June, the Ojai Music Festival is a four-day celebration of adventurous classical music. Challenging, eclectic and engaging, the Ojai Music Festival began in 1947 and since then has brought the best in new music and the finest in exceptional interpretation of the classics to its idyllic California setting. The festival has made a tradition of inviting eminent composers, conductors and instrumentalists to serve as music directors, including John Adams, Lukas Foss, Esa-Pekka Salonen and Emanuel Ax. Symposiums at the festival feature scholars, composers and musicians, often discussing the works they perform during the festival. ...more...

Santa Barbara Symphony

Santa Barbara Symphony

An integral part of the burgeoning Santa Barbara arts scene, the Santa Barbara Symphony was founded in 1953 with the mission of bringing a world-class orchestra to the people of greater Santa Barbara. Today, the orchestras regular concerts and educational programs reach over 35,000 patrons annually. Programming tends to err on the side of caution with lots of the traditional …more…

Opera

Opera Santa Barbara

Opera Santa Barbara

Opera Santa Barbara was founded in 1994. The company was the focus of much attention for its 2009 world premiere production of Séance on a Wet Afternoon, the first opera by Stephen Schwartz, composer/lyricist of such musicals as Wicked, Godspell, and Pippin.

A favorite destination for opera lovers in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties, OSB has recently presented such diverse works as Bizet’s Carmen, Mozart’s The Magic Flute, and Gilbert and …more…

Jazz

Santa Barbara Jazz Society

Santa Barbara Jazz Society

Founded in 1995, the Santa Barbara Jazz Society is dedicated to promoting and producing jazz performances throughout Santa Barbara.  It also serves as a database for all things jazz-related in the area, and its newsletter, Jazzette, provides in-depth information on the local scene to society members.  The Society is also dedicated to nurturing emerging jazz talent in the Santa …more…

Dance

State Street Ballet

State Street Ballet

State Street Ballet (SSB) is known for its grand productions. They aim to awe and entertain and while they draw primarily from familiar storylines, the narratives are always augmented with modern twists and lavish décor. Cinderella’s carriage undergoes a digital transformation and the Nutcracker is transported to Hollywood. SSB’s original full-length version of The Jungle Book has become a crowd favorite with its dazzling …more…

Venues

Campbell Hall

Campbell Hall, Univ. of California

One of several on-campus homes for UCSB’s Arts & Lectures series, Campbell Hall is a big, round building just off Mesa Road with a standard proscenium stage and seating for 860. The offerings are generally rather eclectic, ranging from world music to political lectures to poetry readings; during the 2011-12 season, the Campbell is even hosting Cinematic Titanic, which is the new comedic undertaking from the guys who brought us …more…

The Grenada

The Grenada

Opened in 1924, the Granada has been the centerpiece of Santa Barbara’s downtown district for over eight decades.  The building still holds the distinction of being the city’s tallest building (though under ten stories high), and withstood a devastating earthquake just a year after its opening.  Most recently, the Granada underwent a lengthy and large-scale renovation, costing over $60 …more…

Art Museums

Santa Barbara Museum of Art

Santa Barbara Museum of Art

With a breadth of collections that rivals museums in much larger cities, the Santa Barbara Museum of Art even lays claim to owning more Monet paintings than any other museum on the West Coast. The 27,000-object collection and special exhibitions are housed in what used to be the Santa Barbara Post Office, built between 1914–32 and now expanded.

The museum’s collection …more…

Westmont Ridley-Tree Museum of Art

Westmont Ridley-Tree Museum of Art (Santa Barbara, CA)

The 2011-2012 season marked the grand opening of the Westmont Museum of Art, whose roots trace back to the Westmont Art Center and Reynolds Gallery, dedicated in 1985. With a new museum space and a fully catalogued collection, the Westmont Museum of Art seeks to educate students and the larger community about the power and value of the visual arts. ...more...

Theater

Ensemble Theatre Company

Ensemble Theatre Company

Now entering its 30th season, the Ensemble Theatre Company appeals to the tastes of the Santa Barbara elite with an elegant five show season of contemporary classics. Pulling talent and the occasional star name from Los Angeles, Ensemble Theatre thrives on small cast local premieres, while its second Storybook Stage offers lighthearted fare for the town’s little ones. A regular play reading series, pre-show martini …more…

PCPA Theaterfest

PCPA Theaterfest

Best known for the reputation of its outstanding accredited conservatory, which helped launch the careers of Broadway star Boyd Gaines and teen idol Zac Efron, PCPA also presents a well rounded season of plays and musicals on three unique colosseum style stages.

Larger summer productions play split runs at both the Marian Theatre at Allan Hancock College and the outdoor Festival Theatre in Solvang, while more …more…

Plaza Playhouse Theater

Plaza Playhouse Theater

Plaza Playhouse Theater Information

Public Transportation: Good (a short walk from buses 10 and 21X at Carpinteria Avenue/Elm Avenue; and a 2-minute walk from bus 36 at Linden Avenue/9th Street)
Handicapped Accessibility: Good
Performances/Programs: Schedule varies
Ticket Prices: Tickets prices vary widely
Subscriptions: Donor levels range from $200–$20,000+.

Classical Music

Music Academy of the West

Music Academy of the West

Charged with the mission to foster an environment of intensive mentorship for young musicians, Music Academy of the West welcomes around 140 Fellows into its program every summer as it has for over 60 years. The Academy also produces its annual festival in conjunction with the training offered through the school, featuring a fully-staged opera as well as masterclasses given by the faculty and performances …more…

Ojai_SummerFest_Classical

Ojai Music Festival (Ojai, CA)

(June 7 – 10, 2012) Held 35 miles southeast of Santa Barbara in Ventura County’s Ojai Valley every June, the Ojai Music Festival is a four-day celebration of adventurous classical music. Challenging, eclectic and engaging, the Ojai Music Festival began in 1947 and since then has brought the best in new music and the finest in exceptional interpretation of the classics to its idyllic California setting. The festival has made a tradition of inviting eminent composers, conductors and instrumentalists to serve as music directors, including John Adams, Lukas Foss, Esa-Pekka Salonen and Emanuel Ax. Symposiums at the festival feature scholars, composers and musicians, often discussing the works they perform during the festival. ...more...

Santa Barbara Symphony

Santa Barbara Symphony

An integral part of the burgeoning Santa Barbara arts scene, the Santa Barbara Symphony was founded in 1953 with the mission of bringing a world-class orchestra to the people of greater Santa Barbara. Today, the orchestras regular concerts and educational programs reach over 35,000 patrons annually. Programming tends to err on the side of caution with lots of the traditional …more…

Opera

Opera Santa Barbara

Opera Santa Barbara

Opera Santa Barbara was founded in 1994. The company was the focus of much attention for its 2009 world premiere production of Séance on a Wet Afternoon, the first opera by Stephen Schwartz, composer/lyricist of such musicals as Wicked, Godspell, and Pippin.

A favorite destination for opera lovers in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties, OSB has recently presented such diverse works as Bizet’s Carmen, Mozart’s The Magic Flute, and Gilbert and …more…

Jazz

Santa Barbara Jazz Society

Santa Barbara Jazz Society

Founded in 1995, the Santa Barbara Jazz Society is dedicated to promoting and producing jazz performances throughout Santa Barbara.  It also serves as a database for all things jazz-related in the area, and its newsletter, Jazzette, provides in-depth information on the local scene to society members.  The Society is also dedicated to nurturing emerging jazz talent in the Santa …more…

Dance

State Street Ballet

State Street Ballet

State Street Ballet (SSB) is known for its grand productions. They aim to awe and entertain and while they draw primarily from familiar storylines, the narratives are always augmented with modern twists and lavish décor. Cinderella’s carriage undergoes a digital transformation and the Nutcracker is transported to Hollywood. SSB’s original full-length version of The Jungle Book has become a crowd favorite with its dazzling …more…

Venues

Campbell Hall

Campbell Hall, Univ. of California

One of several on-campus homes for UCSB’s Arts & Lectures series, Campbell Hall is a big, round building just off Mesa Road with a standard proscenium stage and seating for 860. The offerings are generally rather eclectic, ranging from world music to political lectures to poetry readings; during the 2011-12 season, the Campbell is even hosting Cinematic Titanic, which is the new comedic undertaking from the guys who brought us …more…

The Grenada

The Grenada

Opened in 1924, the Granada has been the centerpiece of Santa Barbara’s downtown district for over eight decades.  The building still holds the distinction of being the city’s tallest building (though under ten stories high), and withstood a devastating earthquake just a year after its opening.  Most recently, the Granada underwent a lengthy and large-scale renovation, costing over $60 …more…