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Saturday, February 16 , 2019, 5:56 pm | A Few Clouds 57º


Carpinteria Arts Center Takes Steps Toward Expansion on Linden Avenue

Carpinteria will soon have an exciting new home for the arts. Carpinteria Arts Center is in escrow on the $1.5 million property that neighbors its existing home on 865 Linden Avenue.

Occupied until last summer by Cajun Kitchen, the now-vacant 2,600-square-foot building will be transformed into a beautiful gallery and vibrant classrooms that satisfy the community’s long-held desire for a space dedicated to celebrating and cultivating the arts.

“We are delighted by this opportunity,” said Arts Center Co-Chair David Powdrell. “Until the property became available, we were facing an uphill battle to create a worthy home for the arts in a community that desperately needs and wants one.”

Acquiring the former Cajun Kitchen building, repurposing it into an art center and creating an endowment for long term operating costs is expected to cost approximately $3 million, less than half the cost of former plans for a new center.

The much-needed indoor space will connect with the existing open air courtyard to create an expansive and fully functional art center and venue for community events.

Plans were approved nearly five years ago for a new center to be constructed on the existing site, which now houses an aging, 750-square-foot building serving as gallery space.

Constructing a new, two-story building and establishing an operating endowment would have cost $6.9 million, a daunting sum to be raised by the small community. That building also would have eliminated the center’s well-loved open courtyard utilized for art receptions and community events.

“With this purchase, we get much needed classrooms to teach the arts to the community, we maintain the cherished open space of 855 Linden Avenue for community events, our gallery gains street front exposure and we acquire kitchen facilities to support arts related events," Powdrell said. "Taking this path, we will also be saving significant time and dollars in providing Carpinteria the exciting new arts center that it deserves.” 

The Jimenez family, current property owners, were courted by potential restaurant lessees after Cajun Kitchen closed, but decided instead to support the arts by selling to Carpinteria Arts Center.

"We're happy to know the property will be in the hands of a wonderful local organization. They really care about the community and will definitely add to an already great area,” the Jimenezes said.

Longtime Arts Center Boardmember and Past Chair Gary Campopiano noted that the purchase is a win-win for everyone. He said that during the design phase, the community will be highly involved in the details of what’s to come.

“It’s the community’s art center, and we want the community to have a say in what goes on there,” he said.

For more information, please contact David Powdrell at 805.895.3824 or [email protected].

— David Powdrell represents Carpinteria Arts Center.

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