Creativity graces Cabrillo Boulevard
The Santa Barbara Arts and Crafts Show is back and ready to welcome locals and tourists to enjoy the creative talents of local artisans.
The show officially resumed Sunday, but it didn’t look quite the same as past shows.
The advisory committee for the show sent out a questionnaire to all 140 artists, and only about half of them thought it was a good idea to start up again, according to Marilyn Dannehower, chair of the ad hoc advertising committee for the show.
She said that could be attributed to the fact that a large portion of the artists are over ages 50 and 60, so they had health concerns with returning.
With that in mind, the city found a way to let those who wanted to return do so, and those who didn’t wouldn’t have to pay any fees.
“They don’t lose their spaces, they don’t lose their seniority, they don’t have to pay,” Ms. Dannehower told the News-Press. “But there’s a good number of people who need the income and who want to sell their work and are comfortable they can stay safe in the environment.”
Now, artists who choose to participate sign up ahead of time online to choose spaces on Cabrillo Boulevard. With significantly less participation, most of the artists are located near Stearns Wharf.
Around 36 artists showed up on Sunday, and Ms. Dannehower said she believes the number will increase each week as people see it function safely.
As many other businesses and events, face coverings are required for show members and the public, exhibits are set back from the sidewalk edge six feet to allow social distancing, only one household at a time can visit and/or shop with a show member at one time, handwashing stations were installed and each show member established their own safety plan on top of the general safety plan for all members.
“It’s a well-thought out reopening,” Ms. Dannehower said. “Much more so than most things, because the show is part of the city parks and recreation program, so their mandates are a lot stricter than reopening a store would be.”
She said the slow but sure reopening is ideal after the impact of COVID-19 on the local artists.
“There are 130 small businesses represented in that Arts and Crafts Show,” she continued. “Each one of these artists is a small business under themselves. I’m really happy to see that the city is really taking care of everybody, that the people who want to go back, are ready to go back, are eager to go back, they’re back.
“People can get going again and people can get back to business. People need money. People don’t want to live on unemployment,” Ms. Dannehower concluded.
Jason Bryan, the senior recreation supervisor with the city, added that they removed some of the requirements for artists as well, including that artists had to show a minimum number of items to keep that space.
“I think we approached it in a fair way that made it as safe as we can,” he told the News-Press. “We wanted to respect those businesses to be able to get back on their feet. For some of them, it’s just a little side thing, but for others, it’s half their income, so this can be critical for our arts and crafts people.”
This Sunday will mark week two of the Arts and Crafts Show, and any and all locals and visitors are encouraged to attend the 55-year tradition. Official show hours are 10 a.m. to dusk.