Monday, May 21 , 2018, 3:15 am | Fair 54º


Noozhawk Talks: For Dane Goodman, the Art Show Must Always Go On

Retiring from SBCC's Atkinson Gallery, the longtime director looks to continue giving young artists a place and a chance to exhibit

Soft-spoken, dapper, with Midwestern charm to spare, Atkinson Gallery director Dane Goodman recently announced that he is stepping down from his position at the end of this school year, much to the dismay of the local contemporary arts community. An accomplished artist as well as a curator, Goodman brought a high level of professionalism and a great eye for art to the gallery, which resides on the SBCC campus.

Dane Goodman, director of SBCC's Atkinson Gallery, has always believed in giving opportunities to young artists. Among his proudest accomplishments is the school's curatorial internship program. The interns 'each curate a show in the fall and in the spring, so that by the time they leave here they have curatorial experience,' he says.
Dane Goodman, director of SBCC’s Atkinson Gallery, has always believed in giving opportunities to young artists. Among his proudest accomplishments is the school’s curatorial internship program. The interns “each curate a show in the fall and in the spring, so that by the time they leave here they have curatorial experience,” he says. (Garrett Geyer / Noozhawk photo)

Among the artists given solo exhibitions during Goodman’s tenure, which began in 2004, are Robert Wechsler, Ed Inks, John Sonsini, John King, Stephanie Dotson, Colin Gray, Nathan Hayden, Alison Saar, Randall Stout, Daniel Dove, Jenchi Wu, Laura Krifka and Keith Puccinelli. In addition, he did a plethora of group shows, including the most recent one from The Can(n)on Art Studios artists Elizabeth Folk, Saul Gray-Hildenbrand, Kimberly Hahn, Zack Paul, Steve Soria and James Van Arsdale.

While his final show at the Atkinson Gallery is an exhibition of student work, which opens April 13, with an awards reception from 5–7 p.m., The Can(n)on Art Studio show felt like a fitting finale to Goodman.

“Giving these younger people a shot,” he said. “It’s kind of like when I came to town 30 years ago and I was their age, and I was so excited to get into shows and do this stuff.

“You need to look out not for just your peers, but to be trying to set it up for the next generation or two. I feel a real a moral obligation. We should always be doing that.”

Goodman has certainly done his part to pay it forward. In addition to exhibiting and encouraging the work of young artists, he has developed a robust curatorial internship program at SBCC. To qualify, interns must be art students who come with teacher recommendations, and they have to carry a minimum load of classes in addition to about 19½ hours a week at the gallery.

“I’ve had eight of them and it’s been fantastic,” Goodman explained. “They each curate a show in the fall and in the spring, so that by the time they leave here they have curatorial experience. There are some people who go all the way through their master’s programs and don’t even get any curatorial experience!”

Goodman’s interns have gone on to work for the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, the California College of Art and other educational institutions, as well as private art galleries.

“We may be the only junior college in the California system that has a full-time gallery director,” Goodman said. “I think most of the rest of them have people do it part time. ... People would say, ‘We should be like everybody else,’ and my thing is, ‘No, we are the leader.’ Santa Barbara City College is one of the Top 10 in America so they need to be looking at us to see what we are doing. My position is not funded by the college; we fundraise for the salary and benefits for this position.”

He believes an art department must have a gallery to go with it.

“It would be like having a P.E. program without a gym, a chemistry department without a lab,” he said. “It’s just part of the necessities of the department.”

The decision to retire was a hard one, Goodman says with characteristic self-deprecation.

“It is the best job of my career without question, so I feel good in that I’m going out at the top of my game, though I’m not sure what others would say about that,” he laughed. “But you know what I mean, I feel like I’m going out at a good point.

“It’s been a joy,” he added. “One of the big highlights for me has been working with these students just one on one. You can have a real effect.”

Goodman is married to Marie Schoeff, an accomplished artist and teacher in her own right, and their 22-year-old daughter, Perry, is also an art student. Clearly, creativity runs in the family.

Despite his full-time-plus dedication to the Atkinson Gallery, Goodman has always been an artist foremost. He has continued to produce and show his own art and is excited to have more time to devote to it when he retires.

“It’s the difference between writing a poem and writing a novel,” Goodman said of his recent work. “I like the poems very much but I am getting anxious to do this big stuff. I don’t do a lot of solo exhibitions because of this.”

He and Schoeff were featured last winter in a well-received show called “Double Trouble” at the Arts Fund Gallery; the show explored the work of four married couples. He has also shown his artwork in numerous solo and group exhibitions throughout the United States, including Los Angeles, Chicago, New York City and Seattle. His work is in museum, corporate and private collections, including locally at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, the University Art Museum at UCSB, The Berkus Family Collection at the Santa Barbara County Arts Commission and the Westmont Museum of Art.

Goodman has plans to show his art at the Santa Barbara Contemporary Arts Forum and the Jane Deering Gallery, and is looking forward to being a panelist for the National Endowment for the Arts, an honor he has already had twice.

Despite his many extracurricular interests — which include music (“I have a tin ear but it doesn’t stop me,” he laughs), daily swimming at Los Baños del Mar pool, reading voraciously, fly fishing, avidly following national politics and learning to bake bread — Goodman isn’t quite ready to hang up his curatorial hat when he retires.

“It is very hard to walk away from because you just want to have the venue and the ability, the funding, to put on shows,” he said. “So I am hoping to keep my hand in that.

“The camaraderie of Santa Barbara artists is just incomparable,” said Goodman, who has lived in Santa Barbara since 1983. “There’s not all this competition and power struggles. There are all kinds of art. ... The town is, I think, pretty inclusive and that’s how I try to be. ... And I hope that I’ve set an example here of what’s possible.”

Noozhawk contributing writer Leslie Dinaberg can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow her on Twitter: @LeslieDinaberg.

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