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On January 28, 2014 Barry Spacks, Santa Barbara’s 1st Poet Laureate, passed away. He left behind a mighty legacy of creativity. To most, he was one of America’s gifted poets and a teacher of rare insight. In the art world, there was a nod to his literary skills, but really, in his heart, he was a practicing artist. On 1 st Thursday, April 3, Sullivan Goss – An American Gallery will open an exhibition of his paintings. Best of all, for this one­time memorial exhibition each piece will be priced at $100, which, with Santa Barbara’s sales tax, will be a total of $108.

The number “108” honors the Buddhist tradition of using 108, the number of beads on a mala or rosary, to mark auspicious occasions. So, the Spacks’ estate provided 108 works of art for this two­month solo exhibition.

Spacks, a practicing Buddhist, was always making small paintings using, crayon, charcoal, scraps of paper, watercolor, oil and illustration board. He was a draftsman, collagist, painter, watercolorist and doodler who would find some core of inspiration – often a muse or friend or piece of music – and let it drive his hand as he created a work of art. Nearly always, there was some place in each work for text – sometimes a single word, sometimes a short poem. He rarely worked in formats larger than 16 x 20 inches. Many of his pieces are smaller than an ordinary sheet of paper.

But for Spacks, the size of the piece was often in inverse proportion to its impact. One of his pieces, Please give me something to remember you by… echoes ironically with his passing. The piece is a musing of mixed media on paper, dated 2013, and composed of chopped elements of his hand­colored papers. At the time it was created, we can assume he was asking each of those he knew, and those he would meet, to strike some memorable pose or thought that would allow the 82­year­old artist to hold as a memory, “something to remember us by.”

Now, with this solo exhibition, there is an opportunity for each of those who knew him or love his artwork, or poetry, or teaching…to take home something “to remember him by.”

Those wishing to learn more about the exhibition’s novel title may wish to visit: www.spacksstreet.com A limited quantity of SPACKS STREET t­shirts and tote bags will be available for purchase at the opening.

A special poetry reading of Spacks poem “Spacks Street” will take place at the opening. Those with final thoughts, prayers, jokes, or verse should be prepared to write them at the gallery, for this, Barry Spacks’ memorial exhibition.


4:20 | Frank Goss

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