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Grand Opening & First Thursday of New Inclusive Art Studio-Gallery a Huge Success!

By Rae van Seenus on Sep 12, 2018 at 04:10 PM in UCP WORK, Inc. Blog
Grand Opening of Santa Barbara Art Works brings inclusive and adaptive art gallery studio to Santa Barbara arts district, open for people of all abilities.

Below is the Press Release distributed to local media on August 31, 2018:

The media and public are invited to the Grand Opening of Santa Barbara Art Works, at 28 E. Victoria St., an artist studio-gallery space for people with intellectual and physical disabilities to express themselves, collaborate as a community, and create innovative and diverse works of art.  Santa Barbara Art Works encourages artists of all skill-levels to create, show, and sell their work in a professional gallery.  Santa Barbara Art Works is in partnership with UCP WORK, Inc., the largest agency on the Central Coast for services and programs for people with developmental disabilities, and specializes in teaching 15 resident artists adaptive art techniques.  Classes and workshops are taught five days a week in painting, ceramics, mixed media, and watercolor.  The artists are also taught vocational skills in exhibiting, selling, and commissioning their artwork.

According to Studio Manager, Jacob Allio, “We welcome artists from the local community to stop in and collaborate with the resident artists.”  A major goal of UCP WORK, Inc. is to integrate the participants into the community as contributing citizens so that they may work and live as independently as possible. The Executive Director of UCP WORK, Inc., Kathy Webb, had her eye set on the Victoria Street location exactly for this purpose.  “Participants have the opportunity to show their work right in the heart of the downtown Arts District, plus the public can walk in and see some amazing works of art.  The location for our participants is a win win!”  The new studio-gallery, formerly The Massage Place, has ten individual studio spaces with sinks, currently being used for art classrooms and supply storage, but will eventually be offered as artist rental space on a monthly membership plan. 

Santa Barbara Art Works vision of building awareness and inclusion for people with disabilities is through the use of adaptive art techniques.  For example, one resident artist with cerebral palsy, uses a paintbrush attached to a mouthpiece to apply paint to the canvas.  Another student, whom is blind with autism, makes three-dimensional animals out of paper-mache.  The tactile sculpture technique provides him better comfort in the process of making his art. 

“Monthly art shows, such as Downtown’s First Thursday, give the public an opportunity to see art from artists that may not otherwise be given a chance to show or sell their work.”, says Jacob Allio, Studio Manager.  The new Santa Barbara Art Works is in hopes of breaking down barriers for individuals with disabilities.  Artists here are encouraged and in the process of finding their voice in the art world.

When: Grand Opening & First Thursday Artist Reception, “Self Portraits”, Thursday, September 6th, 2018, 5:00 - 8:00PM.

What: Fifteen resident artists from Santa Barbara Art Works will express their stories on canvas.  A self-portrait can describe an individual’s personality, their hopes, dreams, desires, history, family, culture, their failures, struggles, triumphs, and tragedies, or simply their expression of creativity. A self-portrait is a powerful way for an individual to express who they are and how they see the world.  In this show, we invite the public to get to know the person before their disability.  Event is Free & open to the public; Wine and light hors d'oeuvres will be served.  Santa Barbara Art Works is part of the UCP WORK, Inc. family of services, and a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization.

For more information about Santa Barbara Art Works, contact [email protected] or visit or