The Santa Barbara County Office of Arts & Culture is a Division of the County's Community Services Department; it serves as the local governmental umbrella for all arts and culture projects and programs within Santa Barbara County.
The Office of Arts & Culture represents a remarkable longstanding partnership between the County of Santa Barbara and the City of Santa Barbara. For more than 30 years, both governments have shared resources and staff to maximize support for Santa Barbara arts and culture institutions, programs, initiatives, and projects. The partnership was established in 1985 as part of a Regional Arts Master Plan to expand access to the arts and promote the regional as a cultural arts destination. The Office is available to city and county residents for consultation and support.
The Office of Arts & Culture provides administrative support for the County Arts Commission, the City Arts Advisory Committee, and the City Events & Festivals Committee. In collaboration with these groups and the City and County, the office oversees and disburses four separate grant programs: Arts Making Impact, Community Arts, Events & Festivals, and Organizational Development.
As the regional cultural development agency, the Office of Arts & Culture is a State Local Partner of the California Arts Council and manager of the Poetry Out Loud Program. On a federal level, the Office of Arts & Culture is a National Endowment for the Arts Local Arts Agency; additionally, the Office has partnered with Americans for the Arts for decades to demonstrate and assess the ongoing positive financial impact arts have on the local economy. The Office is involved with numerous city, county, statewide and federal arts advocacy initiatives on an ongoing basis.
Maintenance of the Barry Berkus and Family Art Collection, the Colin Campbell Cooper Collection, the Anne & Walon Green Collection, and Ray Strong artwork falls under the Office's purview. In concert with the arts public advisory bodies, the Office curates exhibitions in the Channing Peake Gallery, the Santa Barbara City Hall Gallery, and the Joseph A. Centeno Betteravia Gallery as well as installations the Jardin de las Grenadas and the State Street Gallery.
The Office coordinates countywide Arts Cultural Planning initiatives; current efforts represent a collaboration between countywide arts public bodies and forums, the Santa Barbara Foundation, and community leaders and stakeholders. This project, titled Creative Community, is in the research and development phase. With the Arts Commission and County Arts in Public Places Committee, the Office administers the Percent for the Art Program.
Finally, the Santa Barbara County Office of Arts & Culture partners with the City and County to host community roundtables for shared discourse and collective ideation. Included in this programming are Arts Symposia events and Arts Talks.