Body-Mind Connection

UCSB Campus Bluffs, painting by Chris Potter.

UCSB Campus Bluffs, painting by Chris Potter.

BMCA somatic movement conference focuses on embodiment and brain research, with an indigenous education element

By Leslie Dinaberg

Monday, August 5, 2019 – 10:15

Santa Barbara, CA

Bringing together more than 70 presenters from around the world, the Body-Mind Centering Association (BMCA) presents its 34th annual interdisciplinary laboratory, research and workshop conference at UC Santa Barbara August 6-11.

brooke smiley.  Photo by Peter Aguilar.

brooke smiley.  Photo by Peter Aguilar.

Hosted by brooke smiley, a lecturer in the Department of Theater and Dance, this somatic movement conference features an array of workshops, panel discussions, presentations and performances. The theme, “Self and Other,” reflects the conference emphasis on the evolving indigenous embodiment in relation to dance, song and land.

“I wanted to create a focus on what it means to value our differences and also bring focus to our interconnectedness,” said smiley.

She anticipates approximately 130 participants at the conference, which is open to the public. “It’s interesting because we have a lot of people from different realms: science, dance, academia, choreographers, dancers, therapists and infant movement development specialists,” smiley said. “Movement research takes a lot of different forms out in the world. As host, I’ve been able to be supported in bringing a focus to an indigenous educational awareness about the land here, specifically before UC Santa Barbara was here, and the dances and the songs that came from the bodies in relationship to this land.”

With that awareness in mind, the Friday, Aug. 9 plenary session led by smiley, titled “Embodying Land in Dance and Song: Addressing Decolonization in Indigenous Ceremony and Performance,” includes a panel from the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians. An indigenous dance artist herself, smiley was recently named a 2019/2020 Advancing Indigenous Performers Fellow by the Western Arts Alliance, a program made possible by a lead grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and additional support from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Among the conference highlights:

• A two-part presentation by BMCA founder and Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen. “Engaging Self and Other through Embodiment, Part I” will begin at 12:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 10. Part II will take place at 9 a.m. Sunday, Aug. 11.

• 2019 Guggenheim Scholar Ann Cooper Albright’s two-part “Cultivating the 3R’s: Responsiveness, Resistance, Resilience” (Aug. 6 at 2 p.m. and Aug. 7 at 9 a.m. ). Cooper is professor and chair of dance at Oberlin College.

• Two evenings of dance performances (Aug. 7 and 8 at 8 p.m.) in 1151 Humanities and Social Sciences Building. Admission is free.

Founded in 1985, the BMCA is a professional organization dedicated to exploring, sharing and expanding body-mind centering work. Members reside around the world, including the Americas, Europe, the Middle East, Asia and Australia.

Additional conference details and registration information is available at https://bmcassociation.org/conferences/2019-bmca-conference. A complete schedule of events can be found at https://bit.ly/2JHR7YJ.

Originally published in the UCSB Current on August 5, 2019.

Community-Led Publishing

The library is a key partner in a $3.6 million international project to envision a new ecosystem for open access publishing

Photo by Terry Wimmer, courtesy UCSB Current.

Photo by Terry Wimmer, courtesy UCSB Current.

An ambitious project to develop new and innovative open access publishing models just got a major funding boost from Research England, and UC Santa Barbara is among the principal partners.

The $3.6 million, three-year project (to be funded with £2.2 million from Research England and £600,00 from the partners) will support Community-led Open Publication Infrastructures for Monographs (COPIM), a project designed to transform open access (OA) book publishing in the humanities and social sciences to a more horizontal and cooperative, knowledge-sharing approach, and ultimately to help ensure that publicly funded research is widely and freely accessible to all.

The project will be led by Coventry University, with key project leaders including Sherri Barnes, the UC Santa Barbara Library’s scholarly communication program coordinator, and Eileen A. Fradenburg Joy, founder and co-director of Punctum Books and the campus’s Arnhold-Punctum Publishing Lab, a scholar-led monograph publishing collaboration with the library and UC Santa Barbara’s Writing Program.

Providing Access to Scholarship

“COPIM puts UC Santa Barbara in a leadership role with regard to the transition to open access in monograph publishing,” said Barnes. “Scholar-led OA publishing is author-centered, mission driven, and cooperative. Scholars are at the center of the editorial work, with librarians and technologists applying their expertise as stewards of the scholarly record. We’re working to solve big and important problems that empower faculty authors, libraries, and universities, while returning some of scholarly publishing to the academy.”

“The University of California is very committed collectively — not just the libraries, but faculty leadership and administrators, including UC President Janet Napolitano — to opening up scholarship created by UC researchers to be freely available to all to read and make use of,” said University Librarian Kristin Antelman. “Making good on that requires the investment of time, effort, money and political capital toward transforming the current, very closed, scholarly publishing system for both journals and books.”

While the COPIM project focuses on book publishing, the issues surrounding both book and journal publishing are highly intertwined and part of a larger UC commitment to find sustainable and more transformative models for scholarly communication, as laid out in the UC Libraries’ “Pathways to Open Access” document released last year.

“The rising cost of journal subscriptions has also edged out the budget for books,” explained Joy. “More books are being published by more scholars than ever, and libraries are purchasing fewer of them. Some libraries have said maybe we won’t even be able to buy books at all if the journal subscriptions keep going up.”

Added Antelman, “When I started as a librarian around 1990, there was kind of an unspoken goal that you tried to balance your collections budget 50/50 between journals and monographs. The current balance in research libraries is closer to 80/20 in favor of journals. That whole balanced model was thrown out as journals became more and more expensive.”

The open access press Punctum Books is a COPIM participant, courtesy photo.

The open access press Punctum Books is a COPIM participant, courtesy photo.

Addressing the Hurdles

COPIM’s goal is to address the key technological, structural and organizational hurdles — around funding, production, dissemination, discovery, reuse and archiving — that are standing in the way of the wider adoption and impact of OA books. Joy, one of the authors of the grant proposal, noted, “COPIM involves fundamentally re-imagining the relationships between key players in academic book publishing.”

Further manifesting the concept of open access, as the team was writing the grant, they made it public on a website, “so people could see what we were doing, and with Hypothesis annotation software they could give us notes,” Joy said. “We are five presses run by academics and we’re trying to do things a little bit differently. We are working on questions like, ‘How can we create the tools for publishing more accessible and open source and how can we rewire the business model in collaboration with libraries and publishers?’

“We want to try to move to a model where everything’s in daylight, everything’s transparent and the books themselves are community-controlled and community-owned, and everything is done in collaboration and not competitively,” she continued. “It’s going to be interesting to see how that develops.”

The effort funded by COPIM includes seven interconnected work packages, two of which will be concentrated at UC Santa Barbara. The first, led by Joy in collaboration with Joe Deville of Lancaster University, will create new funding channels for open access book publishing, including devising new consortial funding models designed to maximize the ability of libraries to directly support open access publishers and content that best serves the needs of their highly localized constituencies.

The second, led by Barnes in collaboration with Janneke Adema of Coventry University, will develop new open access community governance models that will support the needs of a valuably diverse and hybrid community of open access publishers.

A Collaborative Effort

However, cooperation will be a common thread throughout all areas of the COPIM project.

“Collaboration is core to scholar-led OA publishing,” said Barnes. “We’ll be reaching out to international library organizations, societies and scholars, librarians and publishers, committed to building a more diverse scholarly communication system.

“Many UC Santa Barbara faculty members are also publishers and active members of their respective societies’ publishing programs,” she continued. “Their input will be valuable. There will be opportunities for faculty and students to participate in workshops and public events that will be held at UCSB. I encourage faculty and graduate students to join UCSB’s Scholarly Publishing and Communication Discussion List to stay abreast of developments and related local programming.”

Additional project participants include representatives from Birkbeck, University of London; Lancaster University; Trinity College, Cambridge; the Loughborough University Library; the ScholarLed consortium of established open access presses (Open Book Publishers, punctum books, Open Humanities Press, Mattering Press and meson press); infrastructure providers Directory of Open Access Books and Jisc; and the international membership organization The Digital Preservation Coalition.

Originally published in the UCSB Current on June 25, 2019.

UCSB Commencement 2019: Navigating the Vast Unknown

Graduate Division keynote speaker uses her own journey to inspire and uplift others

In the Samala Chumash language, the word “kalašpi” means “breathe on.” It also is the title of the speech Nicolasa (Niki) Sandoval will deliver as the keynote speaker at the Graduate Division’s 2019 commencement ceremony. A lecturer in the Gevirtz Graduate School of Education, Sandoval earned her Ph.D. at UC Santa Barbara in 2007.

Niki Sandoval, courtesy UCSB Current.

Niki Sandoval, courtesy UCSB Current.

“Kalašpi,” Sandoval explained, is inspired by the work of graduate student and optical oceanographer James G. Allen. “As a scientist who draws from cartography, meteorology and geography, Allen’s research represents the currency and relevance of a rich, interdisciplinary graduate education that is unique to UC Santa Barbara,” Sandoval said. “I am utterly captivated by the fact that the ocean is breathing. The deeper the breath, the more turbulent the churning that happens in the darkness of the abyss, the more productive for life on earth.”

There are clear parallels with the process of engaging in advanced study and the extraordinary contributions of UC Santa Barbara’s graduates. “The churning they have set in motion through their work, their persistence through the enormous swells, and the new knowledge they are breathing into our world, illuminates our way forward,” she said.

Sandoval is no stranger to the concept of illuminating the way forward. As the first descendant of the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians to earn a doctorate, she said she “learned to navigate a vast unknown, with the assistance of good-hearted people who held high expectations for me, and is committed to being of service to others.”

Twice appointed by former California Governor Jerry Brown to the State Board of Education, where she currently serves, Sandoval says that her perspective and voice as a Native person and a Latina from the Central Coast region are important, but her primary task is to listen to diverse stakeholders. “Through my life experience and advanced study at UC Santa Barbara, I am keenly aware of inequities and systemic dysfunction that have plagued our educational systems,” she noted. “I hold open the possibility that growth occurs through conflict and that addressing the root cause of the conflict has a restorative effect. This transforms the challenge into an opportunity for growth and positive change.”

She acknowledges this is an uncomfortable but necessary tension to hold. “As a member of the California State Board of Education I am one of 11 people who set policy for more than 6 million students in grades K-12,” Sandoval said. “We adopt curricular frameworks and materials you see in classrooms and we aspire to make sure that all students are graduating ready for college and a career.”

Sandoval is also the education director of the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians, where she oversees a staff of 47 and works with elected tribal officials to guide educational policies and strategic investments to improve academic outcomes, promote self-sufficiency and nurture the next generation of leaders from birth through career.

In addition, as a lecturer at UC Santa Barbara, she has worked with more than 1,000 students seeking to become teachers, school psychologists or guidance counselors.

“Inviting out each person’s gifts requires connection, deep listening, and a lot of time. It also requires an understanding that there are different pathways through the educational process that are valid,” Sandoval said. “The ability to help others advance in their education, career, and fulfillment is a powerful reward.”

The Graduate Division Commencement Ceremony will take place Friday, June 14, at 1 p.m. on the Commencement Green.

Originally published in the UCSB Current on June 11, 2019.

Creating New Knowledge

Undergraduate Research Colloquium is part of Undergraduate Research Week. Previous Undergraduate Research Colloquium participants have represented disciplines across science and engineering and the social sciences, humanities and fine arts. Courtesy photo.

Undergraduate Research Colloquium is part of Undergraduate Research Week. Previous Undergraduate Research Colloquium participants have represented disciplines across science and engineering and the social sciences, humanities and fine arts. Courtesy photo.

A week of events spotlights undergraduate student-led research initiatives and projects

Many believe that no research is ever quite complete, and the true value of the work is that it opens the way for something better. Aiming to spread the joy that comes with educational discovery, UC Santa Barbara’s debut Undergraduate Research Week offers a variety of ways to share ideas.

“A university is supposed to be about the interchange of ideas and thought and I want to encourage as many students as possible to feel like they can be a part of that,” said Anne Charity Hudley, director of undergraduate research in the Office of Undergraduate Education and North Hall Endowed Chair in Linguistics, who is leading Undergraduate Research Week.

Last year’s two-day event was so popular that the undergraduate research showcase expands to a full week of events beginning Monday, May 6. The traditional Undergraduate Research Colloquium will take place Tuesday and Wednesday, May 7 and 8, in Corwin Pavilion.

“I’m really excited to see the number of projects grow,” said Charity Hudley. “The thing I like to emphasize to students is that you should share your work, no matter what stage you are in, rather than just thinking that it has to be a culminating experience. The actual discussion and sharing of ideas and information is the most important takeaway.”

Undergraduate Research Colloquium is part of Undergraduate Research Week. Previous Undergraduate Research Colloquium participants have represented disciplines across science and engineering and the social sciences, humanities and fine arts. Courtesy photo.

Undergraduate Research Colloquium is part of Undergraduate Research Week. Previous Undergraduate Research Colloquium participants have represented disciplines across science and engineering and the social sciences, humanities and fine arts. Courtesy photo.

The variety of projects on display will be rich and varied. Xochitl Briseno’s research — performed under the guidance of Rebeca Mireles Rios, an assistant professor in the Gevirtz Graduate School of Education — explores the role of Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSI) in supporting the Latinx scholar. It also addresses the factors that contribute to the retention and persistence of Latinx students as well as the importance of an HSI’s role in supporting high-impact practices that provide a second form of engagement to aid the second through third year transition.

Graduating senior Erika Prado’s research sheds light on the interactional competence of autistic individuals. Prado will pursue a Ph.D. in comparative human development at the University of Chicago next fall, and credits her decision to do so in part to her undergraduate research experiences — with the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences’s Attention Lab, the Koegel Autism Center and as a McNair Scholar in the Department of Linguistics — as well as her work as a peer mentor for the Office of Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities (URCA).

All undergraduate students had the option to participate in the Colloquium, which includes traditional poster presentations; Colloquium Unbound, which includes videos, graphic novels, board games, performances and other artifacts that represent the essence of the research; or the Undergraduate Research Slam, a lively competition in which students, vying for the $2,500 prize, present their research in three minutes or less to a panel of judges.

Charity Hudley encourages students, faculty and staff to attend any or all of Undergraduate Research Week. “It’s really celebrating the students’ achievements from a developmental perspective,” she said. “We expect these research projects to grow and change over time — the more that they can learn from each other the more that will also strengthen their research. It’s more than just a showcase to show your friends or your professors your research, it’s also a great opportunity to learn from seeing what other people are doing.”

Schedule of Events:

May 6 – Undergraduate Research Panels – Library 1312

10 a.m. URCA & FRAP Mentors, featuring:

•          Jennifer King, Geography

•          Nadège Clitandre, Global Studies

•           Stuart Feinstein, Molecular, Cellular & Developmental Biology

•           Andrew Griffin, English

1 p.m. Newer Faculty, featuring:

•          Daniel Conroy-Beam, Psychology

•          Janet Bourne, Music

•          Anne H. Charity Hudley, Linguistics

3 p.m. Research Centers on Campus featuring:

•           Samantha Davis, Center for Science and Engineering Partnerships (CSEP)

•           Erin Nerstad, Interdisciplinary Humanities Center (IHC)

•           Linda Adler-Kassner, Center for Innovative Teaching, Research & Learning  (CITRAL)

5 p.m. Peter Felten of Elon University’s Center for Engaged Learning

May 7 – Undergraduate Research Colloquium – Corwin Pavilion

11 a.m. – 2 p.m. Math, Life and Physical Sciences

May 8 – Undergraduate Research Colloquium – Corwin Pavilion

11 a.m. – 2 p.m. Social Sciences, Humanities and Fine Arts

May 9 – Undergraduate Research Slam Finals – Old Little Theater

5:30 – 8 p.m. Sixteen finalists compete for the top prize of $2,500 the People Choice award of $1,000

May 10 – Undergraduate Research Trivia – CITRAL (Library 1576, ground floor Oceanside)

3 – 5 p.m. Put together your team and join in an afternoon of trivia

Originally published in the UCSB Current on May 3, 2019.

Celebrating 60 Years

Six decades strong, Arts & Lectures keeps education at the core of its mission

Ma’s visit to Santa Barbara — which includes a free, open-to-the-public, master class with UC Santa Barbara students, and the above-mentioned lecture, “Culture, Understanding and Survival” — marks a high point for the program.

“Our relationship with Yo-Yo is very special,” said Celesta M. Billeci, A&L’s Miller McCune Executive Director. “I think it’s unique to any program in the country, and I can say with confidence he has a very special relationship with us.” That relationship, she added, extends to Chancellor Henry T. Yang and his wife, Dilling.

This season, A&L has also co-commissioned a project with the Grammy Award-winning Silkroad Ensemble, founded by Ma in 1998. The genre-defying global musicians will perform the world premiere of “Take Their Stands” Friday, April 26, at the Granada.

“This is really research in action in the arts,” Billeci said. “We gave the money to this ensemble to create new work. They’ve created five new pieces they will premiere and will tour all over the world. And we did this here at UCSB. So that’s a real testament to the quality of this program and to being a leader in the arts.”

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater’s Yannick Lebrun and Sarah Daley. Photo Credit: ANDREW ECCLES.

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater’s Yannick Lebrun and Sarah Daley. Photo Credit: ANDREW ECCLES.

During the week prior to their performance, the musicians will be on campus working with students in the music, dance and religious studies departments and in the Givertz School of Education.

For example, Silkroad members Haruka Fuji and Sandeep Das will conduct a lecture/demonstration and Kayhan Kalhor will conduct a Dastgah practicum in world music; Kojiro Umezaki and Cristina Pato will hold a workshop with Gevirtz School of Education student teachers; Ahmad Sadri and Wu Tong will lead a meet-the-artist conversation on Asian religious traditions; and Aparna Ramaswamy will share Bharatnatyam dance traditions with students in the theater and dance department.

Education, Billeci stressed, is at the heart of A&L’s programming. “Its purpose is to really be intertwined with the academic program and be a supplement for the academic experience of students on this campus,” she said. “It’s not peripheral; it’s definitely to the core of the academic mission.”

To that end, Billeci, Associate Director Roman Baratiak and their team, particularly program manager Heather Silva, work closely with academic departments and individual faculty members to set priorities for the types of lectures and performances they bring to campus. “The speakers and artists we bring are not just coming here and doing their public presentation,” explained Caitlin O’Hara, A&L writer and publicist. “They’re going to campus for class events or master classes. They’re very heavily enmeshed in the campus as part of their stay.”

Historian Doris Kearns Goodwin’s recent visit is a prime example. Prior to her public lecture she met with honors students from the College of Letters and Science. “Frankly, I think some of our speakers are shocked at how much we expect them to do,” Baratiak quipped.

“We also present a lot of free events for students,” added Billeci, noting the recent concert with ukulele wizard Jake Shimabukuro in Storke Plaza. “This is the second time we’ve had him do that. He did it before and the students went nuts for him. They just love him. And he just loves them. He’s a great ambassador for our program and for music overall.”

Plans to bring performers to A&L are often in the works years ahead of time. With the dance series, for instance, Billeci meets with faculty members several times throughout the year to understand who they are interested in having come to campus. Professors and lecturers often build class visits into their curricula, and when these companies perform, hundreds of students are in the audience.

“On our lecture side, our education coordinator will reach out to academic departments and individual faculty members and say, ‘Here’s an opportunity,’” explained Baratiak. They can elect to send their students to an event or, if time can be spared in the performer’s or presenter’s schedule, he or she might meet with students. “We have collaborations with the College of Creative Studies, the writing program, pretty much most departments,” he added.

“I think we’ve got one of the most exciting and interesting public lecture programs in the country,” said Baratiak, whose 40-year tenure with the program began when he was a student at UC Santa Barbara. “So it’s obviously something that I think all of us are proud of here at A&L.”

Baratiak is particularly enthusiastic, he added, about the annual free summer film series presented at the Santa Barbara Courthouse in collaboration with the Santa Barbara County Office of Arts and Culture.

The truth is, over the last 60 years, A&L has enabled Santa Barbara audiences to spend time with some incredible individuals and performers: Upton Sinclair, Robert Oppenheimer, Duke Ellington, Dizzy Gillespie, Bishop Desmond Tutu, Allen Ginsberg and The Dalai Lama (on three separate occasions), to name a few.

In addition to Yo-Yo Ma, A&L has more recently brought to the local stage Joan Baez, Trevor Noah, Laurie Anderson, Gloria Steinem, Bill T. Jones, the NYC Ballet, the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, Sonny Rollins and Twyla Tharp.

A&L also presented talks by Pakistani activist and Nobel Prize winner Malala Yousafzai (“We were the only university in the country that got that date,” Billeci pointed out) and comedian Jon Stewart (“We presented him to 5,000 students in the Thunderdome”), and a concert by alumnus Jack Johnson, who performed at Harder Stadium.

The talk by former vice president Joe Biden at the Arlington Theater also stands out. “We were doing a free simulcast for students on the campus, and as soon as it ended he jumped in the car and came to campus to meet with the students who’d watched the simulcast,” recalled O’Hara. “He sat and talked with them. I’ve had so many students talk to me and say how impactful that was.”

Similarly, a recent — and free — lecture by Tarana Burke, founder of the #MeToo Movement, also was a high point for students, according to O’Hara. So many students wanted to hear her talk that simulcasts to overflow rooms were required to accommodate them.

“If you go back 60 years,” Billeci remarked, “this program is really really amazing.”

On the community outreach side, the A&L initiative dearest to Billeci’s heart is ¡Viva el Arte de Santa Bárbara! The program offers free performances and educational activities to students, at-risk youth and families in Santa Barbara County. “We have made the long-term commitment to bring high quality arts — not average or mediocre — the very best in music and dance to these communities and to the folks who live there,” Billeci said.

Putting on more than 100 events every year is a team effort, and Billeci is quick to credit the contributions of A&L staff, which includes roughly 75 work-study students. “Often Roman and I get a lot of credit, but this does not work without the amazing group of people that make this machine move,” she said. “For the size of this program — a nationally respected, top-five program in the country — this group of people is so dedicated and so hard working and it’s my privilege and my pleasure to work with them every day.”

More information about A&L, including and a schedule of events, is available at www.artsandlectures.ucsb.edu.

Originally published in the UCSB Current on April 19, 2019.

Kids Helping Kids Benefit Concerts

San Marcos High School Kids Helping Kids program has to be one of the most interesting and unique. During the course of 16 years, students have raised more than 3.1 million dollars for charitable purposes—to improve the lives of disadvantaged children both globally and locally. This year’s student-run gala benefit concerts feature Ben Rector on Friday, Jan. 11, and JOHNNYSWIM on Saturday, Jan. 12.

Singer and songwriter, Ben Rector is most notably recognized for his smash hits such as “Drive” and “Brand New,” and he just released his sixth album, titled Magic, which debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Americana/Folk Charts and No. 44 on the Billboard 200 chart. The Oklahoma born and Nashville based singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist uncovers that feeling of “magic” within 13 anthems equally rooted in whimsical nostalgia and excitement for the future. His ceaseless touring and prolific output paid off in a big way on the 2015 breakout Brand New. Clocking 41 million-plus streams on Spotify, the single organically landed over 40 film and television placements, including a trailer for The Edge of Seventeen, a TV spot for Disney’s Moana, and MLB World Series and Olympics primetime spots.

Kids Helping Kids is thrilled to bring back JOHNNYSWIM as the headliner for this year’s Saturday show on Jan. 12. Previously an opener for KHK, JOHNNYSWIM became a KHK fan favorite when they won over the crowd with hits like “Home” and “Diamonds.” Abner Ramirez and Amanda Sudano Ramirez make up JOHNNYSWIM. The pair met in Nashville in 2005. They clicked together musically and personally, beginning a romantic relationship along with their creative connection. JOHNNYSWIM can be easily recognized by their popular songs “Diamonds,” “Take the World,” and “Home.”

Both shows take place at The Granada Theatre (1214 State St., Santa Barbara). For more information, visit kidshelpingkidssb.org.

 

Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on December 17, 2018.

Celebrate Kids Helping Kids’ 10th Anniversary

NeedtoBreathe (l) and Andy Grammer return to perform at the 10th Annual Kids Helping Kids benefit concert. Courtesy photos.

NeedtoBreathe (l) and Andy Grammer return to perform at the 10th Annual Kids Helping Kids benefit concert. Courtesy photos.

Kids Helping Kids celebrates its 10th Anniversary at the beautiful Granada Theatre (1214 State St.) January 12-13 with performances by NeedtoBreathe and Andy Grammer.

Andy Grammer performs a benefit show for Kids Helping Kids on Friday, Jan. 12 at 7 p.m. at the Granada Theatre. Courtesy photo.

Andy Grammer performs a benefit show for Kids Helping Kids on Friday, Jan. 12 at 7 p.m. at the Granada Theatre. Courtesy photo.

Kids Helping Kids is an entirely student-run nonprofit organization lead by the students in the Advanced Placement Economics classes at San Marcos High School. The group works  to help children in need both locally and globally and has raised an amazing $2.5 million to date.

NeedtoBreathe performs a benefit show for Kids Helping Kids on Saturday, Jan. 13 at 7 p.m. at the Granada Theatre. Courtesy photo.

NeedtoBreathe performs a benefit show for Kids Helping Kids on Saturday, Jan. 13 at 7 p.m. at the Granada Theatre. Courtesy photo.

The annual benefit concert looks back on the legacy built by the students of San Marcos and the support of our community, bringing back two of the past favorite performers, Andy Grammer (Friday, Jan. 12 at 7 p.m.) and NeedtoBreathe (Saturday, Jan. 13 at 7 p.m.).

Past artists who have performed at Kids Helping Kids benefit concerts include:

  • Toad the Wet Sprocket and Tyrone Wells (2009),
  • Five for Fighting (2010),
  • Mat Kearney and Tyrone Wells (2011),
  • Sara Bareilles and Tyrone Wells (2012),
  • Switchfoot and Brad Corrigan from Dispatch (2013),
  • Andy Grammer and Tim Lopez from Plain White T’s (2014),
  • Ingrid Michaelson and Jon McLaughlin (2015),
  • NeedtoBreathe and Johnnyswim (2016),
  • and Gavin DeGraw and Parachute (2017).

In addition to the local chapter, the Kids Helping Kids model to is now in place at two other high schools in Sacramento and Dana Hills, California.

For more information click here, and to purchase tickets, visit the Granada website.

Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on January 6, 2018.

Local Lowdown: Let There Be Light!

LightWorks: Isla Vista Illuminates a Vibrant Community

By Leslie Dinaberg

20150523-191

Photo by Robert Bernstein, courtesy Kim Yasuda

The parks and streets of Isla Vista will pulse with artistic spirit on May 19-21, when LightWorks: Isla Vista comes to life. This exciting series of temporary installations and performances that transform the parks of Isla Vista into illuminated evening spaces, engaging existing underutilized spaces and animating them through visually compelling experiences that contribute to the safety, economic viability and quality of night life and sense of place.

Spearheaded by UCSB Art Professor, Kim Yasuda, an Isla Vista resident who is passionate about using the arts as a positive force for community engagement, LightWorks is part of a long-term community development partnership effort with Santa Barbara County Arts Commission, and other key partnerships that include UCSB Visual and Public Arts; Offices of the 3rd District Supervisor and County Sheriff; Isla Vista Recreation and Parks District; Isla Vista Community Network; UCSB Materials Research Laboratory; Santa Barbara Center for Art, Science, and Technology and the Santa Barbara Foundation.

“This multi-agency arts initiative is the first of its kind for Isla Vista and offers a way to engage the leadership of artists and designers in helping Isla Vista reimagine its future as a creative community,” says Yasuda, who worked hand-in-hand with Santa Barbara County Arts Commission to secure grant funding for the project.

Building on momentum from last spring’s Blunite Memorial Vigil, which lit the UCSB campus and adjacent Isla Vista area with thousands of blue LED lights, Yasuda says, “All of that was really the momentum of post-tragedy healing, artists kind of moving into those spaces and engaging them. Art is always kind of a way to make a space more beautiful. …So art is our catalyst. Artists and art are, to me, catalytic in beginning something beautiful and positive and that’s kind of how…I hope this will work.”

IllumPardallTunnelNovak_May2015

Photo by Marcos Novak, courtesy Kim Yasuda

She continues, “I was thinking about the lighting as being a key feature that artists could tackle. Rather than having enforcement lighting or surveillance lighting or security lighting, we would have engaged lighting in beautiful illuminated spaces.”

“While public lighting and clear sight lines are critical components for safety, we have identified the arts as an integral component to affect the permanent cultural change our community so desperately needs,” writes Alex Rodriguez, board chair of Isla Vista Recreation and Park District.

Initial funding for LightWorks: Isla Vista is based on temporary art installations, but Yasuda envisions this project as the beginning of developing a more permanent exhibit. “What I imagine is that the campus and IV community actually embark on a partnership to host this event annually, so essentially we would have a kind of contemporary art festival. That’s my dream. And also that we would start a collection, an illuminated public works collection of different projects…We would actually be one of the first campus communities that would have a public art collection comprised of light and technology.”

With support from UCSB Materials Research Laboratory—the lab of UCSB Professor Shuji Nakamura, who won a Nobel Prize in physics in 2014 for the invention of efficient blue light-emitting diodes (LED lights)—Isla Vista certainly seems ideally suited to bring the long-term vision of LightWorks to life.

This story originally appeared in the Spring 2016 issue of Santa Barbara Seasons Magazine.

Wine Cask Hosts Fundraising Dinner for SBCC Culinary Arts Students

A Santa Barbara City College Culinary Student Chopping in Kitchen, courtesy photo.

A Santa Barbara City College Culinary Student Chopping in Kitchen, courtesy photo.

Here’s a great way to support future chefs while enjoying a delicious meal, Wine Cask hosts a fundraising dinner on Monday, April 11 at 6 p.m. to benefit Santa Barbara City College Culinary Arts students. Proceeds from the evening will provide an opportunity for students to travel to Madrid, Spain this summer with the SBCC Study Abroad program.

While in Spain, students will explore the cuisine and culture of Spain and Portugal, going to neighborhood markets, tasting artisanal chocolate confections, observing butchers, bakers, and sausage makers, and visiting wineries, olive oil mills, and farms.

“Being creative in the kitchen is more than being technically talented,” says School of Culinary Arts and Hotel Management Department Chair Randy Bublitz. “The experience of visiting other countries and delving into their cuisines is invaluable for laying the groundwork in developing a chef’s creativity.”

“Study abroad is not only an incredible experience that opens eyes and doors but a bona fide learning experience,” says Wine Cask Co-Owner Mitchell Sjerven. “This is especially true in the field of culinary arts, as chefs are constantly challenged to understand regional cuisines, keep up on global food trends, and learn new techniques. Going to Spain and Portugal will provide an incredible opportunity for students to expand their knowledge base while undoubtedly gaining much appreciated creative inspiration during their time on the Iberian Peninsula.”

With many students facing educational expenses such as tuition and materials, financing a study abroad trip may be beyond reach. Guests attending the fundraising dinner will provide great assistance to much deserving SBCC students who otherwise would not be able to afford this once-in-a-lifetime experience. “Santa Barbara restaurants in particular enjoy the immediate rewards of SBCC culinary arts graduates,” says Sjerven. “But, really, the entire community benefits from this successful program provided by one of the top community colleges in the nation.”

Support future chefs, and enjoy a multi-course dinner in the Gold Room of Wine Cask (813 Anacapa St.). The meal will be prepared by SBCC faculty chefs, SBCC culinary students, and Wine Cask Chef David Rosner.

The SBCC Foundation will be taking reservations for the event. To purchase tickets ($150 per person), please call 805/730-4401 or click here.

—Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons Magazine on March 30, 2016.

Editor’s Pick: Kids Helping Kids

kids helping kids

Photo courtesy Kids Helping Kids

There are a lot of ways to learn about philanthropy and economics, but the San Marcos High School Kids Helping Kids program has to be one of the most interesting and unique. Over the course of 11 years, students have volunteered more than 10,000 hours of work, resulting in $700,000 being raised for charitable purposes—to improve the lives of disadvantaged children both globally and locally. This year’s completely student-run annual gala benefit concert features Needtobreathe as headliner, with an opening set by Johnnyswim. | Jan. 8-9. The Granada Theatre, 1214 State St. 805/899-2222, granadasb.org, kidshelpingkidssb.org.

(Editor’s Note: A second concert, on Jan. 8, has been added and is not yet sold out.)

–Leslie Dinaberg

This story originally appeared in the winter 2015/16 issue of Santa Barbara Seasons Magazine.