The Santa Barbara Museum of Art’s (SBMA) adult education lecture series Art Matters is moving from a morning timeslot to 4:30 p.m. Thursdays in an effort to better serve the schedules of students and working adults.

The upcoming fall series runs Nov. 1-Dec. 6. Ticketing for the series has been simplified to individual lecture ticket sales ($10 for SBMA members/$15 non-members) with free admission to all students with valid ID.

Art Matters (formerly Art Talks) was established some 15 years ago (first offered in collaboration with SBCC as A History of Art and Ideas as a way to offer quality educational opportunities for adults in the history of art.

Eik Kahng, SBMA deputy director and chief curator, has overseen the program since 2016. Kahng, an art historian with degrees in art history from Princeton and UC Berkeley, has been able to draw qualified speakers to the series.

Guest lecturers of the last two years have included award-winning academics, curators and young scholars such as:

Peter Parshall, professor emeritus at Reed College and former curator of Old Master Prints at the National Gallery of Art; Ken Lapatin, curator of Greek and Roman Art at J. Paul Getty Museum; Joyce Tsai (Moholy-Nagy scholar, now curator at the University of Iowa); and John Blakinger (György Kepes scholar, now Terra Foundation Fellow at the University of Oxford).
In November, the series begins in ancient Rome with UC Berkeley professor, Christopher Hallett, followed by a visit to ancient China and Egypt with UCSB history professor, Anthony Barbieri-Low.

Minneapolis Institute of Art curator Jan-Lodewijk Grootaers continues the discussion of Egyptian art and presents the concluding lecture on African art, his original area of expertise.

Kahng is assisted in her oversight of Art Matters by departmental curatorial assistant Michelle West, who has an MA in art history from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

West previously was the director of the Acadia Summer Art Program, which hosted hundreds of renowned artists, curators, directors and scholars annually.

Working together with their colleagues at UCSB, Ventura College, SBCC and Westmont College, Kahng and West hope to attract area students to Art Matters.

“The Art Matters lecture series is a great supplement to our program in Art History at UCSB,” said Carole Paul, director of the Museum Studies at UCSB.

“In her brief time managing the series, Eik Kahng has attracted top-notch academics and curators to speak at the SBMA, offering our students, both undergrad and graduate, an excellent opportunity to learn from and meet prominent professionals in the field,” she said. We are especially appreciative that the lectures are free to students.”

“The shift of interest away from the humanities in higher education is an unfortunate reality,” said Larry Feinberg, SBMA Robert and Mercedes Eichholz Director and CEO “SBMA is proud to continue its strong tradition of continuing adult education.

“We hope that Art Matters will provide area audiences with a good resource for the study of the history of art, from antiquity to the present.”

View past lectures in the museum’s video library,
View full program for fall Art Matters at
Buy tickets at the museum visitor services desk, by phone 805-884-6423, or online at

— Katrina Carl for Santa Barbara Museum of Art.