The Santa Barbara Arts & Crafts Show
Art and inspiration on the beach
Photos and Story by Misty Hall
Cabrillo Boulevard in Santa Barbara is about as close to “iconic California” as you can get. Running parallel to the beach, it boasts palm trees and Pacific on one side, and on the other, hotels, restaurants, and shops in Spanish revival-style architecture. The weather is amazing here year-round, and the views from every direction are stunning. If you find yourself in town on a Sunday, make time for a stroll through the Santa Barbara Arts & Crafts Show. Its 150 artists line Cabrillo in pop-up fashion from 10 am to dusk each Sunday throughout the year (and on Saturdays, too, during holiday weekends). You’ll find art of every kind — paintings, jewelry, clothing, pottery, toys, sculptures, photography, and more —all totally handmade by Santa Barbara artists.
It’s among the oldest shows of its kind in America. Dating back to the mid-1960s, it was inspired by the sidewalk shows of Europe and Mexico City.
The eclectic mix of art and the idyllic setting are lovely, but perhaps the greatest thing about this free weekly show is the fact that visitors can engage with the artists directly. What tools and techniques do they use? How long does it take to make each piece? How the heck did they get into this business, anyway? These sorts of fun, intimate exchanges create much more than just a nice way to work off your lunch. The culmination of it all has given the Santa Barbara Arts & Crafts Show some serious staying power, in one of the Central Coast’s most beautiful cities. Palm trees line Cabrillo Boulevard, giving the whole experience a classic California feel.
One of the best things about the Santa Barbara Arts & Crafts Show: you can bring your friends, spouses, children, and fur-children!