Longtime arts advocate, artist and educator Connie Rohde-Stanchfield was recognized by the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday with a resolution recognizing the 2013 Leadership in the Arts Award recipient.
Third District Supervisor Doreen Farr presented a resolution from the Board of Supervisors stating: “On behalf of the Board of Supervisors, I congratulate Connie for her decades of work in the arts in the North County and her significant role in bringing commerce and visitors to the Santa Ynez Valley, enriching the local arts scene and supporting local schools.”
The Santa Barbara County Arts Commission’s presentation of the 2013 Leadership in the Arts Award will take place at a festive celebration and holiday gathering from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday in the Channing Peake Gallery during 1st Thursday in downtown Santa Barbara. The Channing Peake Gallery is located on the first floor of the County Administration Building, 105 E. Anapamu St.
Kam Jacoby, Fourth District arts commissioner, who will present the award on behalf of the Arts Commission, said, "My congratulations to Connie! She is a tireless advocate for the arts and we are lucky to have her in our community."
Ginny Brush, executive director of the Arts Commission, stated: “Over the years, the Leadership in Arts Award has given the Arts Commission an opportunity to publicly recognize the great achievements realized by exemplary citizens who through their vision, commitment, and dedication continue to infuse our regional arts and culture and increase access to arts in Santa Barbara County.”
For decades, Rohde-Stanchfield has been an advocate for arts education, a founder of an influential nonprofit arts organization, and an advocate for the arts in the Santa Ynez Valley. She has provided decades of service, first as the director of the Family School in Los Olivos and during her tenure there, founded Arts Outreach, a nonprofit organization, which still flourishes today — serving more than 3,000 students a year. It began as a small group of parents volunteering to share their talents in local public schools and through this hugely successful enterprise, has enriched the lives of thousands of local students.
Rohde-Stanchfield spent 15 years teaching at Santa Ynez High School, and was inspiring students and bringing to life, events like the annual Chalk Festival, begun in 1995, which brought community attention and funding to the schools arts programs. Every year the festival raises money for the Art Department, but also gives a stipend to each of the other academic departments and a small amount goes to a museum field trip to New York for advanced art students.
She also started “Art Night” at the high school creating opportunities for children in Santa Ynez Valley to come to the high school and create artwork under her guidance. Several artists point to this experience as the beginning of their careers in art.
In 2003, Rohde-Stanchfield was the recipient of a Walt Disney American Teacher Award that honors “representatives of the teaching profession who construct creative learning environments in which students and teachers alike explore, imagine and engage in a variety of thought-provoking experiences.” She was one of 30 recipients out of 185,000 applicants.
Rohde-Stanchfield retired from teaching in 2008 and created the C Gallery in Los Alamos. The gallery has maintained a busy schedule of exhibitions, performances, poetry readings, classes and workshops and has created events like the “Chair Faire” for Los Alamos to engage the local population. This event and others have brought commerce and visitors to town while enlivening and enriching the local arts scene, and supporting local schools.
Her selfless dedication to making art experiences available to the community, and her boundless energy in publicizing and advocating for artists and the arts are invaluable. She has been a tireless advocate for access to the arts for all residents of her community while leading efforts to establish workshops, performance and exhibition opportunities for artists that live and work in Santa Ynez Valley, insuring the preservation of the valley’s unique cultural signature.
— Lyn Semenza represents the Santa Barbara County Arts Commission.