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For the past 92 years, Santa Barbara has organized a summer celebration of the area’s cultural history officially known as Old Spanish Days FIESTA. For eight days beginning on August 3 rd , the city concentrates its perennial delights to create a roving party of historic proportion. Sullivan Goss will add to this a taste of the art that has helped to define the visual identity of our local culture – mission paintings created from the 1890s to the 1920s, paintings of Spanish and Mexican dancers from the teens to the forties, and later more modern takes on our unique hybrid of Spanish, Mexican, and American culture.

Since the eighteenth century Santa Barbara’s had a hybrid culture. Colonized by Spanish soldiers who were often born in present day Mexico, built by the Chumash, and later with the labor of others including Americans from the east coast and the midwest and even a substantial Chinese population, Santa Barbara’s authentic story has had many authors and its visual history has many images. 

The Sullivan Goss exhibition takes each in their turn and all in a Fiesta spirit of fun. There are paintings and photographs of Mission San Carlos Boromeo from the nineteenth century, when it was still a ruin. There are later romanticized images of the missions – as seductive nocturnes and as garden dreams. There are Spanish dancers, musicians, and revelers by American artists like W.H.D. Koerner, Dan Lutz, Richmond Kelsey, Mary deNeale Morgan, Jean Swiggett, and Theodore Jackman; Mexican dancers by the Spanish­born Mexican painter Jesus Helguera; and even a contemporary painting of a pre­Colonial Mexican past reimagined through a Modernist lens by Angela Perko. These works of art celebrate the common joys of our unique culture: our architecture, our dances, our costumes, our food… our FIESTA. They are colorful, joyful, romantic, and strangely soulful. 

On 1st Thursday, July 7th, the gallery will host Tony Ybarra who will play selections of Spanish guitar music.

Artists included in the exhibition: J. Barry Greene, Charles Harmon, Jesus Helguera, Theodore Jackman, Richmond Irwin Kelsey, Orpha Klinker, W.H.D. Koerner, DAN LUTZ, Mary DeNeale Morgan, ANGELA PERKO, Mary Stevens, JEAN SWIGGETT, Gardner Symons.


4:07 | Frank Goss

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