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South Coast Art Museum Celebrating 75th Anniversary

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Santa Barbara Museum of Art celebrating 75th birthday this weekend, with events Saturday and Sunday

It was once Santa Barbara’s main post office. But, for the last three quarters of a century, it’s been home to rare paintings, sculptures, photographs, and other works of art. The Santa Barbara Museum of Arts is celebrating its 75th anniversary this weekend.

The museum is a beautiful, majestic building which has been a part of downtown Santa Barbara for more than a century. The huge building with three giant arched doorways at State and Anapamu Streets was built in 1912 as a Post Office. By the mid-1930’s, the Post Office had moved, and despite its prime location, the building sat empty. Then, some Santa Barbara residents with vision stepped up with an idea, to turn it into an art museum. Santa Barbara Museum of Art Director, and CEO Larry Feinberg says it was a big dream, especially for a city of around 35,000 people at the time. But, the idea clicked, and people stepped up to help remodel the building.

This year marks the museum’s 75th anniversary, and the museum will celebrate with a weekend full of events.  Patsy Hicks is the Museum’s Director of Education. Hicks says a Saturday night party will be an adult oriented event which will feature music, games, and food. Sunday, there will be a family friendly party. The celebrations will spread out onto the plaza in front of the museum, and include not just the museum’s art, but works by hundreds of local schoolchildren.

The 75th anniversary is also helping to kick off a major project focused on the museum’s future. Museum Director, and CEO Larry Feinberg says they’ve launched a $50 million dollar capital campaign to make critical repairs to the complex’s roof, climate control systems, and perhaps most importantly its structural integrity. At the same time, Feinberg says they’ll take advantage of the project to add a rooftop event area, educational space, and more room for exhibits.

You can check out all of the museum’s exhibitions, including their latest, Puja and Piety; Hindu, Jane, and Buddhist Art from the Indian Subcontinent for free this coming Sunday. The Santa Barbara Museum of Art’s 75th birthday celebration is from 1-4 p.m. Sunday.

Lance Orozco has been News Director of KCLU since 2001, providing award-winning coverage of some of the biggest news events in the region, including the Thomas and Woolsey brush fires, the deadly Montecito debris flow, the Borderline Bar and Grill attack, and Ronald Reagan's funeral. 
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