Goleta Valley Art Association hosts first in-person gallery since start of pandemic
Booths showcasing an array of abstract, landscape and portrait art lined the outdoor area of La Cumbre Plaza on Saturday as the Goleta Valley Art Association hosted its first in-person art show since the COVID-19 pandemic began.
The outdoor show featured the work of 21 artists, all of which were members of the GVAA, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. in the outdoor mall area of La Cumbre Plaza. The booths drew in groups of passersby, who marveled at the artists’ creative depictions of scenes across Santa Barbara, historical figures and snapshots of nature. All of the participating artists had art for sale during Saturday’s event.
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the GVAA hosted online shows to connect the community with art during various periods of quarantine and lockdown. But now that businesses are reopening once again, smiles could be seen all around as artists shared their work with each other and members of the community.
“We’ve been so isolated, and I’m so glad to see fellow artists that I haven’t seen for a long time,” Marie Arnold, a member of the GVAA and the La Cumbre Center for Creative Arts, told the News-Press Saturday.
Ms. Arnold said for artists, community is key to their work, and being around artists helps to bring inspiration to her creative process. She specializes in abstract painting.
“I’m inspired by other people’s work. I’m inspired by their comments and what they think of my work,” she later added. “And we’ve been doing a lot of things on Zoom, but it’s not the same. I think that’s a vital component of what we do.”
Patricia Heller, another member of the GVAA, was also among the artists participating in Saturday’s show. Her bright, painted flowers drew glances from onlookers on Saturday as many passed through the gallery on the way to various shops at the Plaza.
Ms. Heller was among the group of organizer’s for this year’s event, which was held for the first time at La Cumbre Plaza. For the last 15 years, the show was held at Rancho La Patera & Stow House, but due to limited parking and COVID-19 restrictions, the organizers decided to host the show outside at La Cumbre Plaza.
During Saturday’s event, Ms. Heller said she was hopeful that the community would support local artists by purchasing new pieces for their homes. During the pandemic, she said artists noticed increased interest in purchasing local art among community members.
“What we realized is that the pandemic has actually brought art buyers back to their local artists,” Ms. Heller said. “A lot of people are looking at local artists and realizing what we have here, versus maybe buying something from someone in New York or Chicago. And so we’re hoping that we get a lot of those buyers here today.”
“We know people are anxious to get out and look at things and have new things on their walls because they’re tired of staring at the same four walls that we’ve been looking at for a year and a half,” she added.
A portion of Saturday’s proceeds went to support GVAA after school programs and community events.
Saturday’s event was sponsored in part by the La Cumbre Center for Creative Arts, which has three gallery spaces at La Cumbre Plaza. Mike Cregan, the founder of the center, told the News-Press Saturday that part of the intent of opening the galleries was to host live events such as the art show, though COVID-19 had scrapped a number of scheduled events over the last year and a half.
After a year of isolation, Mr. Cregan said viewing art in person once again helps to provide hope for the future.
“(Art) gives the community a reason to see the future,” Mr. Cregan told the News-Press. “You know, it gives them a reason to believe there’s going to be a future and that future will be better.”