A Breathtaking Reopening

By Giving List Staff   |   October 29, 2021
Installation View of Ludington Court
Installation View of Nigel Cooke, British, (b. 1973), Shipwreck with Spectator I, 2010 Oil on linen backed with sailcloth, 86 5/8” × 76 7/8” Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Gift of Dan Aloni and Sarah Brown, 2018.35

In August 2021, the Santa Barbara Museum of Art celebrated the completion of a six-year $50 million renovation campaign. More than 2,000 people streamed through the museum’s doors to see the new and renovated galleries during the grand reopening weekend. The renovation was essential, addressing critical needs to the main building built in 1912, including seismic retrofitting, the replacement of mechanical, air handling, and climate controls systems, and the replacement of ageing roofs. New galleries for contemporary art, photography and new media enable the museum to display even more of its impressive 25,000-object permanent collection.

Highlights of the permanent collection on view include a reimagined installation of the museum’s monumental Roman marbles, intermixed with African and pre-Columbian antiquities. Galleries dedicated to the museum’s superb Asian collection celebrate the region’s diversely rich aesthetics with selections from China, Japan, Korea, the Indian subcontinent, Southeast Asia, and the Himalayas. A new Works on Paper Study Center offers members and visitors a behind-the-scenes view into the process of researching and caring for the collection. 

The grand reopening provided a short respite after a long construction period and fundraising for the next stages will continue. Now it’s on to programs, lectures, and exhibitions including, on February 27, 2022, the opening of “Through Vincent’s Eyes: Van Gogh and His Sources,” a highly anticipated exhibition presenting 20 works by Vincent van Gogh along with over 75 works by the artists and authors who inspired him. More information about current and upcoming exhibitions can be found on the museum website.

Art lovers of all ages are invited to join as members to enjoy free admission; discounts on programs, lectures, workshops, and shopping at the Museum Store; as well as access to events that celebrate and honor art for all in the community. Philanthropic support membership as a Museum Circles Patron provides donors with additional opportunities to meet artists, curators, and fellow patrons. 


Santa Barbara Museum of Art

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External Affairs Deputy Director: Susan Bradley


The mission of the Santa Barbara Museum of Art is to integrate art into the lives of people.

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The Santa Barbara Museum of Art continues to provide one of the most effective and comprehensive visual-arts education programs in the country; creative, innovative, aimed both at and beyond the art itself and, above all, making a real difference in people’s lives. Our education programs have expanded to include more students in a counties. Membership has tripled since reopening in the summer of 2021. Exhibitions, events, trips, and activities are more popular than ever. We are grateful to the many generous donors for their support. We will continue to use the Museum’s art and resources to transform and enrich the lives of people in our community and beyond.
Larry J. Feinberg
Robert and Mercedes Eichholz
Director and Chief Executive Officer

Program Support

The Museum provides education programs to over 25,000 students in Santa Barbara County each year, including free admission for all local students and teachers, free transportation for school groups and after-school groups, and free California State Standard based education programs for Santa Barbara School district students in grades K-12. These include art lessons that increase student awareness on a range of topics, including social justice, mindfulness, nature, science, and ethnic studies. Your gift to the Annual Fund supports educational programs and opportunities for the community: including classroom and after–school activities for students; in-person and virtual school field trips; adult studio classes and workshops; free community days and outreach programs.

2022 – 2023 Board of Trustees

Nicholas Mutton, Chair
Richard De Schutter, Vice Chair
Bruce Worster, Secretary
Marta Holsman Babson
Karen Lombardo Brill
Lynn Cunningham Brown
Robert Castle
John Mike Cohen
Joan Davidson
Kathleen Feldstein
Martha Gabbert
Christine Vanderbilt Holland
David Jackson
Junie Prewitt Jinkins
Norman A. Kurland
Michael C. Linn
Kandy Luria-Budgor
Carol MacCorkle
Betsy Newman
Doug Norberg
Jeanne Towles
Martha Townsend
Michael G. Wilson
Barry Winick