Some Thoughts on #GivingTuesday

 

By Leslie Dinaberg, Managing Editor

Tuesday, November 28 is designated as #GivingTuesday, when those who are able are urged to make donations to support local nonprofits. Now entering its sixth year, #GivingTuesday is a global day of giving—as a counterpoint to Black Friday and Cyber Monday buying—that celebrates and supports giving and philanthropy and is fueled by the power of social media and collaboration.

Here’s something to consider when you make those donations: not only is art good for the soul, it’s good for the wallet.

Did you know that Santa Barbara County’s nonprofit arts and cultural organizations comprise a $200 million industry? According to a recent national study—Arts & Economic Prosperity 5, conducted by Americans for the Arts—which collected data from 250 regional partners, including Santa Barbara County, this number supports the equivalent of 5,857 local jobs and generates approximately generates $20 million in local and state tax revenue.

As Randy Cohen, Vice President of Americans for the Arts stated, in a recent presentation at the Santa Barbara County Arts Symposium, “When you invest in the arts you are not investing in a frill, you are investing in a healthier Santa Barbara.”

“Art is not the cherry on top of the split, it’s one of the bananas,” said Keynote Speaker and Mayor of New Orleans Mitch Landrieu, sharing how the arts revitalized New Orleans post-Katrina.

According to the Americans for the Arts study section on Santa Barbara County:

  • Nonprofit arts and cultural event attendees spend an average of $28.25 per person (excluding the cost of admission).
  • Event-related spending by arts and cultural audiences totaled $72.3 million (excluding the cost of admission).

And if those numbers don’t grab you, there are some heartfelt stats that support the arts. According to another Americans for the Arts survey by Ipsos Public Affairs, an overwhelming majority of Americans believe that the arts improve the quality of our personal lives and our communities.

  • 63% believe the arts “lift me up beyond everyday experiences.”
  • 73% say the arts are a “positive experience in a troubled world.”
  • 64% feel “pure pleasure to experience and participate in the arts.”
  • 67% percent believe “the arts unify our communities regardless of age, race and ethnicity.”
  • 62% agree that the arts “help me understand other cultures better”

For more information about the Giving Tuesday initiative and to search participating nonprofits in the Santa Barbara area, visit www.givingtuesday.org.

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on November 26, 2017.

LUX LED Lighting Partners With Unite to Light for Holiday Season

Courtesy photo.

Courtesy photo.

In the spirit of the holiday season, two Santa Barbara-based companies have partnered for a holiday giving campaign. LUX LED Lighting is teaming up with Unite To Light—a nonprofit organization that provides portable, solar-powered lamps to people living without electricity—to do some good this holiday season.  

With every purchase of a LUX LED Lighting lamp, the company will donate a solar lamp for Unite To Light. Whether from disaster, lack of infrastructure, or inability to pay, Unite to Light aims to bring light to those who would otherwise live in darkness. 

Courtesy photo.

Courtesy photo.

“1.2 billion people are currently without electricity, including many in our own backyard who have been affected by the recent hurricanes and wildfires,” says Roger Edgar, CEO of LUX LED Lighting. “Our team was motivated by Unite to Light’s dedication to providing an effective solution to those living in darkness, and we are proud to contribute to that mission.”

The giving campaign will kick off on November 24,  in conjunction with a 30% site-wide Black Friday discount that will be available on LUX LED Lighting’s website. The campaign will extend through December 26, providing ample opportunity for consumers to join the charitable mission. Products can be purchased by going to www.store.luxledlights.com.

Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on November 21, 2017.

Women’s Literary Festival

The first Women’s Literary Festival was initiated 12 years ago as a Santa Barbara event by Gail Marshall and her daughter Jennifer Adams, and this weekend marks the 12th Annual Women’s Literary Festival,  taking place on Saturday, October 28 from 8:30 a.m.–3:30 p.m. at Fess Parker A Doubletree by Hilton Resort (633 E. Cabrillo Blvd.).

The idea to showcase women authors was inspired by their attendance at the Long Beach Women’s Festival. With a mission to celebrate diversity, literacy and social justice through women writers, the Santa Barbara event celebrates both the writers and readers connections to each other’s human spirit through dialogues on the inner dynamics of the creative writing process as it interweaves within the authors’ writing genre.

The five distinguished authors invited this year represent a diversity in fiction and nonfiction work and include:

Steph Cha, crime fiction mystery writer

Micheline Aharonian Marcom, a fiction novelist who bases her work on historical events

Enid Osborn, Santa Barbara Poet Laureate

Kate Schatz, a New York Times bestselling author of Rad Women books

Andrea Smith activist/author on women of color and Native American violence

The registration fee ($65) includes coffee, lunch and all author presentations, including Breakout Sessions. To register, visit womensliteraryfestival.com.

—Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on October 26, 2017.

SB County Food Action Plan Meeting

Come to a free community listening and activation session on Wednesday, October 25 from 6-8 p.m. at the Faulkner Gallery of the Santa Barbara Public Library (40 E. Anapamu St.) where participants will explore the vision, progress and next steps planned for the Santa Barbara County Food Action Plan. This is a great opportunity to share what your neighborhood, business, or organization is doing, and connect with others engaged in making a secure food system for our county.

Come learn about the goals of the plan and hear about successes from the organizations and individuals actively pursuing these goals. Attendees, including individuals, businesses, schools, and organizations of all types, will also be encouraged to inform the process by sharing about their own regional work to create a more secure, sustainable food system. A networking session will provide time to seek out new partnerships and opportunities to support each other.

Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on October 24, 2017.

 

Cocktail Corner: Wine & Art Come Together to Support SlingShot Gallery

A spirited toast to all things alcoholic!  By Leslie Dinaberg

Wine and art are both close to my heart, so when the two of them come together to support a local nonprofit, it’s sure to be a magical evening!

In this case, Wine & Art, a fundraiser for SlingShot Art Forum, an Alpha Resource of Santa Barbara project, takes place on November 11, from 6-8:30 p.m. at the SlingShot Gallery, 220 W. Cannon Perdido St.

Hosted by acclaimed wine writer and TV personality Gabe Saglie, the event features delicious catering by Scott Wallace of SB Wine Dine Build and wine tasting from Grassini Family VineyardsThe Ojai Vineyard and Windrun Wines, as well as exclusive tastings from Willson Family Vineyard.

Willson Wine bottles of pinot noir, with labels by Slingshot Artists, available at the Wine & Art Fundraiser, photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

Willson Wine bottles of pinot noir, with labels by Slingshot Artists, available at the Wine & Art Fundraiser, photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

Based in Carpinteria, the pinots produced by the Willson Family are bottled with special labels from SlingShot artists—and all of the proceeds benefit the SlingShot art program. 

The Willson’s daughter Mylie was born with Down syndrome and received services from Alpha Resource of Santa Barbara, thus inspiring the family to produce their wines so generously, says Sue Dumm, Artist Representative/Community Liaison for SlingShot. In addition to being available for tasting and purchase at the Wine & Art fundraiser,  SlingShot is now part of First Thursday festivities in downtown Santa Barbara, where each month the public can come see and buy art on the walls, as well as taste and purchase Willson pinot, says Dumm.

Dumm gave me my first tour of the gallery for this story, but it definitely won’t be my last visit!

Another Willson Wine bottle of pinot noir, with label by a Slingshot Artist, available at the Wine & Art Fundraiser, photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

Another Willson Wine bottle of pinot noir, with label by a Slingshot Artist, available at the Wine & Art Fundraiser, photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

Just a few steps a way from our office at Santa Barbara SeasonsSlingShot is a working art studio and gallery which supports 34 different Santa Barbara artists. Since 1980, Alpha Resource Center has promoted artists with developmental disabilities through participation in gallery and juried art shows, and this gallery is an expansion of the art studio program.  Many of the artists are recognized for their talent and have developed dedicated collectors. SlingShot gives the artists greater visibility and access to the rich local art world. It also gives our community better access to their work. As a working studio, visitors are able to meet the artists and view the art as it is created.

According to the Mission Statement, “Alpha Resource Center is a multi-faceted service center providing support and information for families of children with developmental disabilities of all ages, teen and adult recreation, and life skills training for adults. Today Alpha serves over 2,200 families. Alpha also owns and operates three thrift stores which support our services.”

Tickets for the event are $50, can be purchased online at: http://alphasb.org/events/.

I hope to see you there! Cheers! Click here for more cocktail corner columns.

Leslie Dinaberg

When she’s not busy working as the editor of Santa Barbara SEASONS, Cocktail Corner author Leslie Dinaberg writes magazine articles, newspaper columns and grocery lists. When it comes to cocktails, Leslie considers herself a “goal-oriented drinker.”

 Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on October 20, 2017.

Cocktail Corner: Central Coast Wine Classic

Courtesy Central Coast Wine Classic.

Courtesy Central Coast Wine Classic.

A spirited toast to all things alcoholic!  By Leslie Dinaberg

This week brings the 32nd Annual Central Coast Wine Classic, as well as the 75th birthday celebration of its Founder & Chairman Archie McLaren. A benefit for the Talley Winery Fund for Vineyard & Farm Workers, the Friends of Hearst Castle and the Santa Barbara Center for the Performing Arts, this weekend is a celebration of great wine as well as great generosity.

First up, on Thursday, August 24 is a Rare French Wine Dinner taking place in the private dining room of the LIDO at Dolphin Bay Hotel & Spa in Pismo Beach.

The dinner begins with a toast featuring the extraordinary Limited Edition 2006 Lanson “Clos Lanson” Brut Blanc de Blancs Champagne in Magnum. According to organizers, “In 2016, Champagne Lanson winemaker Hervé Dantan decided to release 7,870 bottles (Only 655 cases!) of 2006 Clos Lanson, which are all individually numbered. Considered as ‘one of the most exciting new wines of the entire Champagne’ region by the well-known Champagne expert, Richard Juhlin; indicated as the ‘Haut Brion’ of Champagne in Drinks Business, Clos Lanson is a precious and rare wine from the one hectare comprising the only vineyard in the city of Reims. This exceptional and rare Champagne, which Dantan unequivocally states is ‘certain to delight the most demanding connoisseurs,’ was aged for nine years prior to release, and the Magnums will be released to great anticipation and fanfare this year during Vinexpo in Bordeaux.”

Courtesy Central Coast Wine Classic.

Courtesy Central Coast Wine Classic.

Dolphin Bay Resort Executive Chef Jacob Moss will present a creative six course menu that showcases the remarkable rare wines, all of which were provided by Don Schliff, a longtime supporter of the festival and Retired CEO of Imports for Wine Warehouse. Among the highlights: 2014 Didier Dagueneau ‘Silex’ Pouilly Fume; 2006 Marquis de Laguiche Montrachet in Magnum; 1999 Armand Rousseau Clos de Beze in Magnum; 1970 Chateau Lynch-Bages, Pauillac in Magnum; 1989 Hommage a Jacques Perrin Chateau de Beaucastel in Magnum; 1990 M. Chapoutier Le Pavillon Rouge and 1967 Chateau d’Yquem, Sauternes.

Friday, August 25 offerings include a choice of two winery dinners:

A Farm to Table Dinner at Talley Vineyards & Winery in the Arroyo Grande Valley, Prepared by Chef Brian Collins and featuring San Luis Obispo Wine Country wineries, plus special Edna Valley and Arroyo Grande Valley Vintners who are Wine Classic supporters. Participating wineries include: Center Of Effort, Chamisal,Laetitia, Niven Family, Saucelito Canyon, Talley, Tolosa and Verdad.

Courtesy Central Coast Wine Classic.

Courtesy Central Coast Wine Classic.

Also on Friday, August 25 is a superb group of iconic California Vintners at Lido Restaurant at Dolphin Bay Resort & Spa in Pismo Beach. The wineries include Alma Rosa from the Santa Rita Hills, Au Bon Climat in the Santa Maria Valley, Babcock in the Santa Rita Hills, Eberle from Paso Robles, Pisoni from the Santa Lucia Highlands and Pride Mountain at the confluence of Napa and Sonoma Counties.

Courtesy Central Coast Wine Classic.

Courtesy Central Coast Wine Classic.

The 32nd Annual Auction, on Saturday, August 26 at the ACI Jet Services Hangar at the San Luis Obispo County Regional Airport, features an impressive array of wines and upscale experiences available to bid on, as well as a super silent auction and multi-course gourmet luncheon.

The super silent auction includes many large format etched and hand-painted bottles from magnums to salmanazars representing the unique blends created for the Wine Classic over the years. The live auction will include not only unique etched and hand-painted large format artist bottles, but also rare wines from throughout California and around the world, many donated by McClaren from his private cellar.

The auction luncheon is prepared and presented by Wine Classic’s family of chefs including: Chef Rick Manson of Chef Rick’s Ultimately Fine Foods, Chef Frank Ostini of Buellton Hitching Post and Chef Michael Hutchings of Michael’s Catering in Santa Barbara.

Courtesy Central Coast Wine Classic.

Courtesy Central Coast Wine Classic.

On Sunday, August 27 is the VIP Departure Brunch at the Dolphin Bay Resort & Spa in Pismo Beach, featuring a  special Champagne and caviar from Graham Gaspard of Black River Caviar as a fond farewell to this extravagant event. For more information, visit centralcoastwineclassic.org.

Cheers! Click here for more cocktail corner columns.

Leslie Dinaberg

When she’s not busy working as the editor of Santa Barbara SEASONS, Cocktail Corner author Leslie Dinaberg writes magazine articles, newspaper columns and grocery lists. When it comes to cocktails, Leslie considers herself a “goal-oriented drinker.”

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on August 23, 2017.

Count Basie Orchestra Benefit for Rona Barrett Foundation

The Count Basie Orchestra and Paula Cole, courtesy Rona Barrett Foundation.

The Count Basie Orchestra and Paula Cole, courtesy Rona Barrett Foundation.

The Rona Barrett Foundation hosts a special benefit concert on July 8 at the Lobero Theatre with the legendary Count Basie Orchestra directed by Scotty Barnhart and special guest, Paula Cole. Between them, Count Basie and Paula Cole are the embodiment of jazz and have 19 Grammys to prove it!

Headquartered locally, the Rona Barrett Foundation is a nonprofit dedicated to providing affordable housing, Alzheimer’s care, assisted living and wellness programs for underserved senior citizens in the Santa Barbara County area. Founded by former entertainment journalist, Rona Barrett, who was inspired to become a senior advocate after caregiving for her Dad, Harry, who was afflicted with Alzheimer’s and eventually succumbed to the disease.

In 2016, The Rona Barrett Foundation was the catalyst for the establishment of The Golden Inn & Village in Santa Ynez, an independent living community for in-need and vulnerable seniors and veterans who are financially challenged.

In 2018, The Foundation, along with its partners, will establish “Harry’s House at the Golden Inn & Village,”—a home for Alzheimer’s and assisted living.  This campus will be an innovative, scholarship-sponsored model.

For more information, please visit ronabarrettfoundation.org or call 805/688-8887.

The Lobero Theatre is located at 33 E. Canon Perdido St.

Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on July 2, 2017.

Dream Foundation Summer Dream Fashion Show

Aqualillies entertain at Dream Foundation's Summer Dream Event, photo by Lorraine A. DarConte.

Aqualillies entertain at Dream Foundation’s Summer Dream Event, photo by Lorraine A. DarConte.

Dream Foundation—the Santa Barbara-based nonprofit is the only national dream-granting organization for terminally-ill adults—recently hosted its third annual Summer Dream fundraiser to benefit Dreamers ages 18 to 40. The stylish event included a fashion show, with designs from A Tropical Affair, Calypso St. Barth, K. Frank, Lolë, Miller’s Oath, UGG and local designers Catherine Gee and Danielle Rocha of Rocha Swim.

A model at Dream Foundation's Summer Dream Event, photo by Lorraine A. DarConte.

A model at Dream Foundation’s Summer Dream Event, photo by Lorraine A. DarConte.

“Summer Dream is the perfect opportunity to introduce and educate our local community about Dream Foundation’s mission, what the future holds, and about the diverse Dreamers and Dreams that the organization serves,” says Dream Foundation’s Chief Executive Officer Kisa Heyer. “Many are surprised to learn how many Dreamers are under the age of 40 and how seemingly simple yet incredibly prolific their Dreams can be.”

A model at Dream Foundation's Summer Dream Event, photo by Lorraine A. DarConte.

A model at Dream Foundation’s Summer Dream Event, photo by Lorraine A. DarConte.

In addition to the fashion show, the fundraiser included performances by local singer/songwriter, Gabe Reali, DJ Qu1z0, and synchronized swimmers, Aqualillies.

Gabe Reali performs at Dream Foundation's Summer Dream Event, photo by Lorraine A. DarConte.

Gabe Reali performs at Dream Foundation’s Summer Dream Event, photo by Lorraine A. DarConte.

Also on the menu was decadent food and drink from Heat Culinary, Patròn Tequila, Sun Potion, Summerland Winery, Topa Topa, Rori’s Artisanal Creamery and Green Star Coffee.

Held at the home of Ursula & Pat Nesbitt, additional guests included Daryl & John Stegall, Eva Guerrand-Hermès, Mireille Noone, Jelinda DeVorzon, Michelle Ebbin, Belle & Daniel Cohen, Jim Nigro, Belle Cohen, Summer Dream emcee and KEYT Channel 3’s Meteorologist, Alan Rose, second and third annual Summer Dream Committee Chair Arlene Montesano, and Dream Foundation board members Justine Roddick, Luke Ebbin and Board Chair Kenny Slaught, among others.

Arlene Montesano (Summer Dream Event Chair), Tom Parker, Karla Blackwell and Soogie and Don Kang (Golden Sponsors) at Dream Foundation's Summer Dream Event, photo by Lorraine A. DarConte.

Arlene Montesano (Summer Dream Event Chair), Tom Parker, Karla Blackwell and Soogie and Don Kang (Golden Sponsors) at Dream Foundation’s Summer Dream Event, photo by Lorraine A. DarConte.

“Dream Foundation believes that everyone deserves to have their final days filled with inspiration, comfort and closure. Receiving no state or federal funding, the organization and its Dreamers rely solely on private donations. One hundred percent of the proceeds of Summer Dream will be allocated to fulfill the Dreams of terminally-ill young adults, 18-40 years old,” say the organizers.

Luke Ebbin (Dream Foundation Board Vice Chair), Michelle Ebbin, & Justine Roddick (Dream Foundation Board Member), photo by Kelly Sweda Photography.

Luke Ebbin (Dream Foundation Board Vice Chair), Michelle Ebbin, & Justine Roddick (Dream Foundation Board Member), photo by Kelly Sweda Photography.

Over the past two decades, Dream Foundation has served more than 25,000 Dreams to terminally-ill adults, and they have never turned down a qualified Dream applicant.For more information about Dream Foundation, visit DreamFoundation.org.

Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on June 26, 2107.

Library Book: Writers on Libraries

The venerable Downtown Santa Barbara Central Library (40 E. Anapamu St.)  is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year and writers are celebrating this centennial milestone as well, with a heartwarming anthology of stories, essays, and poems written by over 80 authors about their library experiences and the glories of the public library.

Edited by local writer Steven Gilbar, Library Book: Writers on Libraries, brings an impressive group of scribes together, ranging from huge literary names like Ray Bradbury, Fannie Flagg, Sue Grafton, Pico IyerNeil Gaiman and Ursula K. LeGuin, to loads of local writers including all of the living Santa Barbara poets laureate, Hilary Dole Klein, D. J. Palladino, Ashleigh Brilliant, Erin Graffy de Garcia, Beverley Jackson, Marcia Meier, Grace Rachow, Joan Tapper and many more (including yours truly.)

With a forward by local resident T.C. Boyle and all royalties going to the nonprofit Friends of the Santa Barbara Public Library, this is a book purchase that any word loving reader can feel good about making. Library Book: Writers on Libraries is available at The Book Den (15 E. Anapamu St.), Chaucers Books (3321 State St.), Mesa Books (1838 Cliff Dr.), Tecolote Book Shop (1470 East Valley Rd.) and Upstairs at Pierre La Fond (516 San Ysidro Rd.), as well as on Amazon.com.

Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on June 21, 2017.

Local Lowdown: State Street Ballet Extends Reach

company members teach a free jazz dance class as part of State Street Ballet’s community outreach effort. Photo by Andre Yew.

Company members teach a free jazz dance class as part of State Street Ballet’s community outreach effort. Photo by Andre Yew.

By Leslie Dinaberg

Reaching out beyond the professional stage to make ballet accessible and fun for everyone is an important part of State Street Ballets community outreach programming. This summer, company dancers Meredith Harrill, Deise Mendonca, Cecily Stewart, Edgar Zendejas, John Piel, Noam Tsviskin, Skyler Rodgers and Alvaro Oquita hit the road for a series of free performances in Santa Barbara and beyond.

The 30-minute performances feature not only ballet, but also hip-hop and contemporary pieces, with excerpts from State Street Ballet productions of Cinderella, An American Tango, Common Ground and w.

State Street Ballet Company member Edgar Zendejas demonstrates a dance move. Photo by Andre Yew.

State Street Ballet Company member Edgar Zendejas demonstrates a dance move. Photo by Andre Yew.

In addition, the company offers free dance classes in a variety of styles, including ballet, jazz, contemporary, choreography, Latin combo, hip hop and yoga.

As of now, confirmed dates are: June 23, Ventura Boys and Girls Club; June 24, Santa Barbara Boys and Girls Club; June 29, Santa Maria Boys and Girls Club; June 30, Fresno (location to be determined); July 1, Salinas, Breadbox Recreation Center; and July 7, San Bernardino, Garcia Center for the Arts.  

For more information on State Street Ballet and the community outreach program, visit statestreetballet.com.

Originally published in the Summer 2017 issue of Santa Barbara Seasons Magazine.