Lynn Kirst chosen to portray Saint Barbara
Reina del Mar Parlor No. 126 of Native Daughters of the Golden West has selected member Lynn Kirst to portray Saint Barbara, the city’s patron saint, during Old Spanish Days. On Thursday, Ms. Kirst was introduced to the public at Casa de la Guerra.
ReinA del Mar Parlor has chosen one of its members to represent Saint Barbara ever since 1926. The parlor was founded 121 years ago in 1901. The announcement of Saint Barbara coincided with commemoration of the founding of the Santa Barbara Presidio 240 years ago in 1782.
Ms. Kirst is a fourth-generation Californian and resident of Montecito who graduated from Bishop Garcia Diego High School in Santa Barbara. She then earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in the History of Art from the University of Southern California. While completing her undergraduate degree, Ms. Kirst participated in the USC study abroad program, where she spent a semester living in Madrid, Spain, and studying at the Prado Museum. Ms. Kirst also completed the 2-year graduate program in historic preservation at the USC School of Architecture.
Ms. Kirst has been a member of Reina del Mar Parlor since 2009 and has supported its projects. She is a sustaining member of the Santa Barbara Museum of Art Women’s Board. Ms. Kirst serves on the Legacy Council of the Sacramento-based California Rangeland Trust and on the advisory boards of both Hearts Therapeutic Equestrian Center in Santa Barbara and the Santa Ynez Valley Therapeutic Riding Program. Additionally, she is a member of the SYV WIGS of People Helping People. She is a former member of the board of directors of the Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation, Community Arts Music Association (CAMA), and the Executive Committee of the Sierra Club’s Santa Barbara Group.
Ms. Kirst has also served on committees for numerous organizations, including the Santa Barbara Historical Museum and the Wildling Museum in Solvang. She is a member of the Santa Barbara Corral of Westerners International and serves on the Design Committee at Birnam Wood Golf Club. A lifelong equestrian, Ms. Kirst is a charter member of The Fillies, a women’s riding group founded in 1994, and was named Filly of the Year in 2007.
“Being selected as the 2022 Saint Barbara was a huge surprise. My parents were married at Mission Santa Barbara in 1947, and local history has always meant a great deal to me. On a poignant personal note, my presentation as Saint Barbara not only coincides with the 240th birthday of Santa Barbara, but also with the anniversary of my late husband’s death seven years ago. As a survivor of both the Thomas Fire in 2017 and the Montecito debris flow in 2018, I could never have imagined then that as a widow facing those disasters alone, my life would be as blessed as it is now with this great honor,” said Ms. Kirst in a press release.
Ms. Kirst worked in museum fundraising and has held senior development positions at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Laguna Art Museum and the Southwest Museum. She was the founding president of Spectrum Tours, a museum travel company that she ran for 10 years, providing custom-designed luxury educational trips for dozens of cultural institutions throughout the United States. Her clients included the Smithsonian Institution, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Minneapolis Art Institute, and the Museum of Northern Arizona, among many others. Her local clients included the Santa Barbara Historical Museum, the Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation, and the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden.
Ms. Kirst is an award-winning non-fiction writer and photographer who has been published in a wide variety of periodicals, both local and national. She penned the Trail Talk column for the Montecito Journal for 10 years. She also served as the editor of Southwest Cooks! The Tradition of Native American Cuisines, which won the National Grand Prize of the 1992 Tabasco Community Cookbook Awards.
For Fiesta events, Ms. Kirst will be dressed in Saint Barbara’s traditional white gown and scarlet cape, and will wear a golden crown. She will carry the martyr’s palm frond and a golden chalice. For social events, Ms. Kirst will wear an ivory Spanish-style floor-length dress and a mantilla.
The Santa Barbara Channel was named for Saint Barbara during the Viscaino expedition in late 1602. The saint is the patroness of protection from lightning and calamity, and is revered by artillerymen, mariners, and architects.