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Captain’s Log: Soak Up Creativity and Culture with the Waterfront Art Walk

Make a day of it with a Sunday stroll and shopping along Cabrillo Boulevard

Some of the very best outdoor activities can be downright cultural in nature. That’s the way I view the incredible opportunity we have along the downtown Santa Barbara waterfront every Sunday and most holidays (weather permitting).

Art and craft displays are set up along Cabrillo Boulevard from the harbor all the way down to East Beach. It is a long stretch, and by the time it’s all taken in, you may come to realize that it was a pretty strenuous activity after all.

The length of the walk would be reasonable for the average person, but I don’t believe that a person with a healthy curiosity and appreciation for beauty and creativity would be able to walk from one end to the other without dozens of stops to admire the unique merchandise. This is a visually appealing pastime for both shoppers and people watchers.

The variety of offerings is amazing. I occasionally find myself laughing with glee, or shaking my head in near disbelief, at the ingenuity of some of the crafters of gadgetry, as well as at the ability of artists to put forth the image in their mind’s eye onto whatever surface they are using as a canvas. The human mind has natural artistic and engineering capabilities that manifest into art and craft forms that tickle the mind and delight the senses. Works that way for me, anyway.

Many of our local artisans take advantage of our wonderful educational and craft enhancement opportunities. For example, the state system of community colleges offers classes on all forms of craftsmanship and art, using teachers and volunteers who give of themselves to the people of the community. We have this hotbed of creativity to thank for much of our local craft and art.

The volunteers, especially, should be given a heartfelt thank you for the quality they add to our local lifestyle out of the goodness of their hearts and in the spirit of community service. They rock!

Everyone seems to enjoy the displays. It does my heart good when I see an 8-year-old and an 80-year-old standing at the same display table, making a selection. One may be buying a gift for Mother’s Day, and the other for a daughter or grandchild, but the point is, the artisan has created products attractive to a wide spectrum of people.

A shopper can decorate his or her own body from head to toe, and probably everywhere in between. Items can be found that dance in the wind, sit on a table or patio, or move through fascinating gyrations imitating perpetual motion. Paintings are found on all manner of surfaces. Special mention goes to some of our local canvas painters who display gorgeous works of art. Much, but certainly not all, of what is offered has a nautical motif.

Oh, and here is a hint for making a day of it. If you start at the east end and work your way toward the harbor, you’ll finish up near some very nice eateries. You will certainly be hungry by then. Then you might want to spend part of the afternoon whale watching or fishing.

— Capt. David Bacon operates WaveWalker Charters and is president of SOFTIN Inc., a nonprofit organization providing seafaring opportunities for those in need. Visit softininc.blogspot.com to learn more about the organization and how you can help.

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