Linda and Craig Shafer have been actively involved in the arts community in Santa Maria for nearly 40 years.
Craig’s first love was music which he was able to express by DJing for such local radio stations as KZOZ, KXFM, and KTYD and in short time led to a career in broadcast journalism along with producing and hosting talk shows including KUHL’s “On Line” which regularly focused on the arts and was his introduction to PCPA's immense pool of talent.
In the early 80s Linda was bitten by the dance bug after seeing a summer dance concert at the fair and said, “I could do that!” She quickly enrolled in dance classes at Allan Hancock College. It wasn't long after that Craig would add dance to his arts studies that had included painting, sculpture, and piano.
The Shafer’s seriousness in dance rapidly grew with continued training in jazz, ballet, and modern (mostly modern!), as students, as performers, and choreographers under the tutelage of then director Linda Maxwell, and dance instructors Candace Rivera, Val Kline, and Dianne McMahon. The couple created about 25 original dance works for the main stage for AHC adult and youth programs.
In 1994 Craig left broadcasting to join PCPA as its publicist, and Linda was recruited a year later to work in the PCPA box office and soon became the Box Office Manager; both were still dancing and choreographing at that time. Having previously choreographed for Leo Cortez on the original musical Karaoke Queens of the St. James, they were asked to choreograph for PCPA's original Outreach production of 98, 99, 2000 written by Leo and directed by Gale Fury Childs.
In 2004 Craig had an exciting opportunity to join the Santa Maria Sun as a writer and Arts Editor. During his 3 1/2 years with the Sun he worked daily to advocate for the arts and local artists. It was during this time that he was asked to serve as Chair of the Santa Barbara County Arts Commission and he was also approached by the Santa Maria Arts council to join and was soon after voted president, a post he held for over 10 years. During the same time Linda became an active member in the Arts Council. Craig would later return to PCPA to continue duties of promoting the outstanding work of the students and professionals at this amazing performing arts institution, a mission in which Linda constantly excels, in addition to her training of employees in the art of exemplary customer service.
Together the Shafer’s accomplishments for the arts council include work on various committees and projects including:
Student art show
Birdhouse fundraiser providing cash awards to student artists
General fundraising for operating expenses