Once a year, each October, the nation recognizes Arts and Humanities Month and on the first Saturday of October is when Santa Maria showcases its own artists.
Local arts groups and supporters - including, but not limited to: Los Padres Artists Guild, Valley Art Gallery, OCAF, Discovery Museum, PCPA, County Arts Commission, Civic Theatre, PLAY, and the Ian M. Hassett Foundation - along with a myriad of independent artists, are busy at work to put on the Autumn Arts Grapes and Grains Festival.
The Santa Maria Arts Council, which initiated the Autumn Arts Festival over 40 years ago, will again be participating with a display of 10 originally transformed bridhouses created by local artists who include Marti Fast, Marilyn Dover Benson, Dale Cronwell, Caroline Ried, Beth Ostapiuk, and other artists with the Arts Council, the Orcutt Children’s Arts Fund, and Santa Barbara County Arts Commission.
Festival-goers may have the fortune to take one of these works of art home with them by donating $1 for a raffle ticket in a chance drawing. All the proceeds go directly toward prizes for the Spring Student Art Show. 2017 will mark the 37th annual student show that not only showcases local student artists but by providing a public art show for these emerging artists lends credibility to their craft while building on self esteem and pride for their accomplishments. The goal is to raise $1,000 in prize money through the sale of raffle tickets available at the festival or from Arts Council members. Visit www.smartscouncil.org for photos from this year’s Student Art Show and images from the 4th Annual Birdhouse Fundraiser.
While Autumn Arts is a day to celebrate the creative energy and talents of our artistic neighbors. This is also a time to reflect on our community’s responsibility to art. Yes, we have a responsibility to nurture, support and expand the arts. Art endures, it teaches, it brings people together (ie Autumn Arts Festival), it fills an undeniable space inside us all that is essential for our humanity. Yes, it is that important; like the air that we breathe and the water we drink. Our civilization would crumble without art. From architecture to high-tech gadgets, modes of transportation to the cup you drank this morning’s coffee from – at some level of development and production they all took an artist’s vision to create. Art pervades our life in so many respects that its ubiquitousness has rendered it largely unrecognizable, and unless you visit a gallery, a museum, or play, is vastly unappreciated.
For this one day, and perhaps a week, a month, or maybe even year-round, we can focus on the arts near and far, encourage our friends and neighbors to open their eyes to the art that is around all of us, participate in the arts – as a creator or patron, introduce someone to a gallery or a play, show government leaders and the public how this is important to a city’s vitality.
With an enhanced appreciation for art, we as a city need to move forward, as so many other cities in the country have, with a cohesive plan that will guarantee the creation of art in public spaces.
An art master plan will insure that as the city grows and faces redevelopment, public art projects will become essential components of the cityscape - including murals, sculptures, banners, performances, and other artistic enhancements. It will not only beautify our city, but allow us to explore new ideas, express emotions, and help us better appreciate cultures near and far.
Art expands perceptions, it helps to identify a community and strengthen local economies, art creates an enhanced sense of place, and deepen local cultural capacity. Art is not a frill. It enriches our lives, inspires us, it is the link necessary for innovation. Art is a reflection of our personalities, dreams, defeats, and triumphs, it is what fuels the imagination. Art is what makes us human. Celebrate ART October 1 and beyond!
Past President Santa Maria Arts Council