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Local News

Santa Barbara Entering Lease, Funding Agreement for Community Arts Workshop

Five-year deal would allow the Santa Barbara Arts Collaborative to develop the city-owned property at 631 Garden St. for year-round use

After giving $300,000 toward a community arts workshop, the City of Santa Barbara is entering a five-year lease agreement with the Santa Barbara Arts Collaborative to develop the space.

The city-owned property at 631 Garden St. has been used as a Summer Solstice Workshop space in the past and will be dedicated as a permanent, year-round arts workshop from now on.

The City Council unanimously voted to give one-time capital funding to launch the first phase of improvements, and the Arts Collaborative nonprofit will start fundraising for money to operate the space, according to the funding agreement.

Summer Solstice needs a place to work on floats and costumes for the annual Summer Solstice Parade in June, and local arts programs, theaters and artists will have a place for rehearsals, set design, exhibits and classes.

The parade workshop is already in the space and will hold an open house on Friday, Summer Solstice Celebration Executive Director Claudia Bratton said.

“It will be a great help not to have to be looking for workshop space. That’s an incredible relief,” she said. “We are thrilled that this project is finally coming to fruition after many, many, many years and lots of work by a lot of people. It will be a wonderful asset for the city and the arts community.”

The Arts Collaborative has the lease with the city and will start construction on the site after the June 21 Summer Solstice parade. The workshop will probably be unavailable for several months while crews work on the gates, the lighting and the bathrooms, Bratton said.

The Santa Barbara City Council is scheduled to formally vote on the agreement at its Tuesday afternoon meeting.

This funding came from $4 million of one-time money available from the Redevelopment Agency dissolution, a property tax refund and insurance payout from the Police Department employee embezzlement case. Council members funded a variety of capital projects in January, including the $300,000 for a community arts workshop.

A community workshop space has been envisioned since the 1980s, and it’s the last piece of the Regional Arts Master Plan, according to Ginny Brush of the County Arts Commission.

Noozhawk staff writer Giana Magnoli can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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