Staff Report

A “communal open house” of art exhibits in downtown Santa Barbara will celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Santa Barbara County Arts Commission from 3 to 5 p.m. Sunday, March 25.

A formal program will begin at 4 p.m. in the Mural Room of the County Courthouse, 1100 Anacapa St.

During the event, collaborating art exhibition spaces along the Anapamu Street corridor will be open for free. Participating anniversary venues include Channing Peake Gallery, the Jardin de las Granadas, the Public Library’s Faulkner Gallery, Sullivan Goss Gallery, and the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, which will offer free admission in honor of the anniversary.

The Arts Commission was established in 1977 by the Board of Supervisors to serve as coordinator and catalyst for bringing government, artists and the public together for the cultural benefit of all.

Commission Chairman Dennis Smitherman said the communal open house reflects the commission’s history.

“Bringing the community together to celebrate our resources and spotlight the incredible work of our artists, organizations and galleries is one of the core functions that has placed the Arts Commission at the nexus of county arts and culture over the past 40 years,” he said.

The commission also will present its annual Leadership in Art Award to the Santa Barbara County Arts Fund, which has been an incubator for emerging artists in the county.

The commission wants to recognize particularly the impact of the Arts Fund’s Teen Arts Mentorship Program, which is committed to enhancing the education of a new generation of artistic talent.

The Arts Commission has 15 members appointed by the County Board of Supervisors, with three members representing each of the five supervisorial districts.