Media Contact: Joy Kunz, Chair, Art Department
Phone: 805.965.0581x 3737 Email: email@example.com
Atkinson Gallery Seeks to Secure 40-year Community Legacy
The Santa Barbara City College (SBCC) Art Department, along with the SBCC Foundation, seeks to secure the Atkinson Gallery, Santa Barbara’s cherished educational and community gallery. The annual cost of maintaining the Gallery and its programming at current levels is approximately $100,000. Ultimately a $2 million endowment is needed to preserve the Gallery Directorship as a permanent, full-time position. Unfortunately, state funding sources do not include support of this integral position, on which the success of the gallery's exhibits and programs depend; 95% of salary and program costs are funded by private donations.
Named after Charles Atkinson, a founding member of the SBCC Art Department, the Atkinson Gallery has been in existence since 1975. Although the SBCC Foundation successfully established a small endowment that partially supports the Gallery Directorship, it is insufficient for long-term sustainability. As such, the fundraising goal has shifted from the year-to-year funding that has supported the temporary annual position, to endowing the directorship fully. “A $2 million endowment for the directorship will ensure the continuation of the impactful
exhibitions, hands-on job training, community outreach and education, and professional artists’ lectures for which the gallery has been well-known and valued for 40 years,” says Joy Kunz, SBCC Art Department Chair.
“Through the Atkinson Gallery's programs, students learn critical thinking skills essential for future careers in the arts and beyond. True to our mission at SBCC, the Atkinson Gallery is an invaluable learning laboratory that provides students a diverse learning environment that inspires curiosity and discovery,” says Lori Gaskin, SBCC President. Indeed, current SBCC art student Ben Eckert says, “Without the influence, support, and guidance of the Atkinson Gallery, I can honestly say that I would not be making the caliber of work that I am today, and without the
experience of participating in shows like the Small Images show or the Annual Student show, I would not have the confidence to follow my dream of attending art school & becoming a professional artist.” Atkinson Gallery Director Sarah Cunningham adds, “The Gallery is a dynamic classroom for both SBCC students and the community. Last week, we had 60 elementary school students join in a gallery discussion and a hands-on artmaking activity with local artist Maria Rendón.”
On the occasion of the Atkinson Gallery’s 40th anniversary, with the newly renovated facilities and the blessing of the Atkinson family, the Art Department and SBCC Foundation plan to offer recognition opportunities including the re-naming of the gallery to potential donors. “We encourage donations big and small. We know our community truly treasures the Atkinson Gallery, and we look forward to working with the college and community to secure both the Gallery and the Director’s position in perpetuity,” says Geoff Green, CEO of the SBCC Foundation.
Donations are welcome via the gallery website, gallery.sbcc.edu, where we are also collecting testimonials regarding the gallery’s impact.