The Arts Fund

Big Splash
BIG SPLASH, Blakeney Sanford

Who We Are

For more than 30 years The Arts Fund has been an incubator for emerging artists in Santa Barbara County. Located in the Funk Zone, we offer the only Community Gallery in the Santa Barbara area where we showcase the work of local artists of all ages and identities from the Santa Barbara region. We stimulate the expansion of creativity by offering art education, professional development and curatorial training in studio and gallery environments to emerging artists including teenage, university and postgraduate students. We connect the greater community to local artists, curators and sponsors to celebrate and enrich our community’s cultural experience and creative possibilities. As a founder and principal organizer of the Funk Zone Art Walk we are the epicenter of the cultural explosion in the Funk Zone.

Our Community Gallery

Since 2001, The Arts Fund has maintained a Community Gallery to highlight work of emerging artists, promote audience awareness of local artists, serve as an educational venue for workshops and artist talks, and support other area organizations and artists that lack exhibition space of their own.  In addition to serving local students and teachers, our Community Gallery has provided crucial exhibition space for local artists as well as guest curators, encouraging collaboration through group shows. Currently we we are able to present the work of dozens of artists in 6 curated group exhibitions each year. The Arts Fund also coordinates a bi-monthly Funk Zone Art Walk with our partner artist studios and galleries for these openings.

Our Teen Arts Mentorship Program

The Arts Fund is committed to enhancing the education of a new generation of artistic talent through our Teen Arts Mentorship Program.  In recent years the number of students served through this program has grown to 150-200 as we offer mentorships three times per year. During the spring and summer sessions a wide variety of visual art genres such as painting, scupture, drawing, printmaking, assemblage, photography, and  creative writing are offered. These workshops culminate in an exhibition in our Community Gallery. In the fall we offer mentorships focused on film, multimedia, and performance arts that culminate in a public performance of their work. In 2015 we began offering mentorships in Santa Barbara's North County.

Our Funk Zone Public Art Program

In 2015 The Arts Fund began facilitating projects for the Funk Zone Public Art Program.  The goal of the FZPAP is to establish locations around the Funk Zone for public art projects such as murals, sculptures, and site-specific installations in an effort to keep art alive and maintain the creative signature of the neighborhood. The FZPAP, as approved by the City, allows property owners and tentants to work directly with The Arts Fund and selected artists to create site specific art projects within the Funk Zone's boundaries. The goal is that in time the public art projects will add to the Funk Zone's already dynamic environment to attract a larger audience for the arts.

Our Mission

The mission of The Arts Fund is to create, fund and administer programs and projects that foster the arts for the people of Santa Barbara County; to act as a catalyst which maximizes the effectiveness of arts resources and to nurture collaborative relationships with other arts organizations.  

Our History

Originally incorporated as the County of Santa Barbara Art Associates, The Arts Fund was created in 1983 as a private, nonprofit corporation to promote, foster, and support art activities in Santa Barbara County and to facilitate the works of the Santa Barbara County Arts Commission. In the late 1980s, The Arts Fund evolved into an independent organization with its current mission of offering art education, development and exhibition opportunities to aspiring artists and curators, as well as opportunities for Santa Barbara County residents to expand their appreciation for the wealth of local arts in our own community.