JuxtaPOSE Opening Reception and Exhibition

Exhibition on view at the Arts Fund May 18 - July 14th, 2018

How do artists negotiate the portrait? A classic conundrum. All portraiture—form aside—communicates a personality with a story; and yet, this story always assumes the artist and her process: In JuxtaPOSE, Connally, Roman, Ross and Sigler explore portraiture in their respective mediums: figurative painting, wet plate collodion photography, surrealist drawing and still life painting. When assembled together, their disparate practices create a dialogue that challenges the traditional understanding of portraiture, revealing individualities, particularities and narratives. This exhibition is curated by Ashley Woods Hollister of the Squire Foundation.

The Squire Foundation and The Arts Fund bring together four outstanding local female artists - Connie Connally, Sommer Roman, Lindsey Ross, and Leslie Lewis Sigler - each of whom represent mastery in their respective expressions and process. We have grouped them together at the table of one of the most important forms of artistic representation: the portrait.

Healing Hut For Soul Repair with Colleen M. Kelly

Healing Hut for Sould Repair,    title.jpg

The Squire Foundation has partnered with artist Colleen M. Kelly, creator of Healing Hut for Soul Repair to help her bring this creative form of healing to the community. 

Healing Hut for Soul Repair is a temporary public art installation created in response to the Santa Barbara region’s recent Thomas Fire and January 9th mudslide disasters. Inspired by shared childhood memories of making blanket forts in our living rooms and bedrooms, artist Colleen M. Kelly has created a movable, adult-sized ‘healing hut’ for area residents of all ages. Designed to recreate those forts’ cocoon-like sense of safety and comfort, Kelly notes, “I want people to experience the Healing Hut as a quiet place to escape, reflect, and de-stress. The fire and mudslide changed the lives, the terrain, and the spirit of our community. We need many modalities for healing--art is one.”

Image provided by artist, Colleen M. Kelly

Image provided by artist, Colleen M. Kelly

The Healing Hut for Soul Repair will pop-up, where invited, to locations around Montecito and other South Coast areas. It is meant to be a quiet gift, spontaneously offered.

Colleen M. Kelly is a multidisciplinary artist based in Santa Barbara. She has exhibited nationally and internationally. She is a staunch art advocate and believes that art saves lives.

On March 28th, the Healing Hut for Soul Repair popped up at Westmont College, in the Voskuyl Library.  Over 45 people visited the Healing Hut for Soul Repair for a full sensory experience. 

FOR MORE INFORMATION & FUTURE LOCATIONS: contact Colleen M. Kelly at cmknsb@yahoo.com or call 805-965-7247 and leave a message.

Painted Locks Community Art Activity


Squire sponsored a free community art activity on May 3, 2018, in conjunction with the Santa Barbara County Office of Arts and Culture's State of the Art Gallery 2018 Exhibition, featuring sculptures made by local artists.  The activity was led by local artist Emily Murray

Follow the links below to read more about the California Love Locks Project and about the State of the Art Gallery Exhibition. 




Jodie Hollander Poetry Readings in Chicago

Squire Artist in Residence Alum, Jodie Hollander, is currently on a book tour reading from her new book of collected poetry, My Dark Horses.  Most recently, she had four stops in Chicago, Illinois.  Next, she heads back to her home state of Colorado. 

To find out more about Jodie and her poetry, visit her website

A BOX - by Jodie Hollander

All those years
of trying to understand
which of this is her,
which of this is me?
Getting at the truth
was always so confusing
amidst her craziness;
how to separate?
And though the shrink said
Put her in a box—
I never quite could
until that Saturday
when the doorbell rang:
and there stood a man
thin and bedraggled,
dripping in the rain.
He held a clipboard,
a small warped box,
containing my mother
or rather her remains.
Sign here, he said,
and handed me the box.
Funny how this came
surprisingly unbidden,
though I’ve often wondered
if in a weak moment
I didn’t wish for this.
But now that it’s here
what am I to do
except to hold it close,
feel its roughness
up against my cheek,
smell that terrible smell
of factory cardboard
now finally between us.

Images courtesy of Jodie Hollander

Partnership with Blue Sky Center in New Cuyama, CA

Image courtesy of Blue Sky Center

Image courtesy of Blue Sky Center

We have partnered with Blue Sky Center for a rural Artist in Residency program in New Cuyama, CA.  555 Rural Artist Residency is Blue Sky Center's pilot artist residency program, hosting 5 artists for 5 days in 5 Shelton Huts on the Blue Sky Center campus.  The residency will take place in collaboration with citizen artist and residency facilitator Mary Welcome.

The artists spent this past week in residence at the Blue Sky campus, immersing themselves in the local community.  One artist, Butchy Fuego planned to hike as many trails as time and his legs would allow.  Another artist team, Designers on Holiday, were erecting a bus shelter for the community using reclaimed metal pipes.  We are looking forward to seeing the final result!  To learn more about the other artists and their projects, please visit this page

Mary Welcome, as well as some of the participating artists, will return on July 26th for an opening and reception in Downtown Santa Barbara.  Stay tuned for more details as we get closer to July. 

Also, check out the Blue Sky Center's website to learn more about their organization. 

mage courtesy of Blue Sky Center

mage courtesy of Blue Sky Center

Article in The Independent: Globe Theatre Actors Visit Santa Barbara Schools

Pictured here are members of Shakespeare's Globe, The Squire Foundation, The Leni Fund, and The Santa Barbara Education Foundation.

Pictured here are members of Shakespeare's Globe, The Squire Foundation, The Leni Fund, and The Santa Barbara Education Foundation.

Last week three practitioners from Shakespeare's Globe Theatre in London were here in Santa Barbara working with students in junior and high schools.  This week the students will get the opportunity to see their studies in action, as they will attend the State Street Ballet's production of Romeo and Juliet. 

Below is The Independent's reprinted article.  Click here to read the article on The Independent website. 


Globe Theatre Actors Visit Santa Barbara Schools

Wednesday, March 14, 2018
By Charles Donelan

All this week, from March 12 through March 16, a three-member team of theatrical education practitioners from Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre has been circulating through the classrooms and theaters of the Santa Barbara Unified School District. Thanks to the Léni Fé Bland Performing Arts Partnership, the Santa Barbara Education Foundation, and The Squire Foundation, Joanne Howarth, Samuel Oatley, and Emmeline Prior are on a mission, traveling to seven schools and working with 25 teachers, all in an attempt to help more than 1,000 9th graders get greater enjoyment out of the most frequently assigned English literature text in the history of high school: Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. From “you kiss by the book” to “what’s in a name?” and, inevitably, “parting is such sweet sorrow,” these actor/educators have taken students through the play’s deep thicket of familiar quotes in pursuit of a more profound understanding and increased comprehension of what is for many young people a singularly challenging experience.

The inspiration for this timely intervention came from Sara Miller McCune, who wished to honor her dear friend Léni Fé Bland in a way that would have pleased the late philanthropist and patron of the performing arts. In addition to supporting the learning objectives of Dos Pueblos High, Santa Barbara High, San Marcos High, La Colina Junior High, Goleta Valley Junior High, Santa Barbara Junior High, and Washington Elementary, the program prepares this young and impressionable audience for a performing arts treat that’s coming their way in less than two weeks, when State Street Ballet (SSB) will present Rodney Gustafson’s acclaimed ballet version of the classic Shakespearean love story.

Streamlined from five acts to two, but with the core of Sergei Prokofiev’s excellent score intact, the SSB’s Romeo and Juliet comes to the Lobero for two performances — on Friday, March 23, at 7:30 p.m., and Saturday, March 24, at 2 p.m. There’s an interesting added incentive that might lure Disney-loving students to the performances and that everyone should know about. Aaron Smyth, the performer who will dance the role of Romeo opposite SSB company dancer Deise Mendonça’s Juliet, has just completed filming the role of the Snow Cavalier in Disney’s fall 2018 blockbuster The Nutcracker and the Four Realms. Smyth, who was most recently seen here as Basilio in State Street’s 2016 production of Don Quixote, is as charismatic as they come and should make a good partner for the fabulous Misty Copeland in the Disney Nutcracker film. In the meantime, Santa Barbara can plan to see him up close and in the flesh as everybody’s ideal of a romantic boyfriend, Romeo.

When they have not been crashing 9th-grade English classrooms to deliver Shakespeare’s wisdom in gloriously authentic accents, the trio of practitioners has kept quite busy. Their schedule included a Monday-evening professional development workshop for 25 public school teachers and monologue coaching for junior high students who are learning how to audition. The Squire Foundation has kept the crew housed and fed in style at its Via Maria headquarters, and the students have contributed their inimitable combination of enthusiasm and irreverence. Here’s an example of the latter, drawn from comments written by 6th graders at Washington School after last year’s visit about Macbeth: “I wish we could have something like that again!” wrote Beck, adding that “the only thing is that the part where Macbeth’s head got cut off and stuck on a spike was a little violent I’d say. But besides that, everything was amazing and great!”

Santa Barbara Independent Review of The Fluidity of Gender: Sculpture by Linda Stein

Hi-res catalog.jpg

There was a lovely review of Linda Stein's exhibition: Fluidity of Gender, in the Santa Barbara Independent.  Click here to see the article on their website.

Below is the article reprinted from The Independent:

Linda Stein Sculpture

Body Armor for 21st-Century Amazons

Wednesday, March 14, 2018
By Rachel Heidenry

For Linda Stein, art and activism go hand in hand. An artist for more than four decades, Stein has addressed such topics as bullying, persecution, and gender justice in her work, drawing on history from the Holocaust to 9/11. Her central interest in gender empowerment led her to create the ongoing project The Fluidity of Gender: Sculpture by Linda Stein. This traveling multimedia exhibition, which has been presented at more than 24 museums and universities around the country, was on view at the Santa Barbara Center for Art, Science & Technology (SBCAST) when I visited it and has since been moved to Via Maria Villa for the duration of its run as part of Stein’s spring residency with The Squire Foundation.

Begun in 2010, The Fluidity of Gender features sculptures created primarily out of leather, metal, or mixed media, as well as prints and video. Drawing inspiration from figures such as Wonder Woman with whom female bravery is front and center, the sculptures blur the line between perceptions of masculinity and perceptions of femininity through androgynous shapes. Many of the works project a skin-like coat of armor in which zippers or badges create the impression of toughness; others are embellished with comic strips and altered graphics extolling progress in gender justice. And while androgyny may be key, Stein still creates identifiable curves of breasts or hips, celebrating these features equally as one may pecs or abs.

Walking into the exhibition feels a bit like walking into a room of Roman sculpture — though far more colorful. Mounted on mannequins or pedestals, Stein’s works appear as a collection of torsos. But while the impact of the figure may be similar, idealization is nowhere to be found. Celebrating distinctiveness, the sculptures’ subtle details are like codes to be deciphered. Visitors are invited to try on a selection of the wearable pieces and embody the persona they exude; the sculptures thus become performed. When hung on the wall, the works imply the presence of giant, omnipotent Venus de Milos wrapped in leather and suede. Here, toughness blends with the mythical to create figures that feel both prehistoric and modern.

In an interview I conducted with the artist, Stein expressed the importance of uplifting others and creating works in which empathy can be taught and felt. Always incorporating educational components in her exhibitions through direct outreach to students or public lectures, she consistently thinks about how the work can be activated and serve as a point of departure for empowerment. Exploring how heroism and strength can be projected through the lens of clothing, gender, and popular culture, she invites viewers to consider the relationship between protection and expression.

Stein’s lived experience reflects this focus. Starting out as an abstract artist, she became drawn to more figural shapes and to the concept of protection after being forced to flee from her Tribeca home on 9/11/2001. Knowing this history, one may view the sculptures as shields — the literal armor keeping one safe from bodily harm. But they are equally about the concept of camaraderie, the idea that, whether one is male or female, survival is something experienced together. Furthermore, as powerful as they may look, the sculptures are created out of thrifted textiles and accessories — materials that carry histories from the bodies they once adorned. Indeed, the works are about vulnerability as much as they are about power.

Whether through prints, sculpture, or storytelling, Stein’s art invites individuals to ask: Who is a hero? By breaking down stereotypes and creating dialogue, she makes her intention clear: She wants her audience to engage with the shapes, materials, and messages of the sculptures and perhaps even try one on.