Cocktail Corner: Primavera in Winter at SBMA’s Atelier

A spirited toast to all things alcoholic! By Leslie Dinaberg


Ciaramella, courtesy SBMA

Ciaramella, courtesy SBMA

Santa Barbara Museum of Art‘s Atelier cocktail parties are always a feast for the senses, and Atelier: Primavera in Winter, which celebrates everything Italian—including the fabulous exhibition of Botticelli, Titian and Beyond: Masterpieces of Italian Painting from Glasgow Museums, which is on view through May 3—is shaping up to be a great event.

Cavaliere d'Arpino (Giuseppe Cesari), Archangel Michael and the Rebel Angels, ca. 1592–93. Oil on tin leaf(?)-coated copper.  Glasgow Museums; Bequeathed by Archibald McLellan, 1856 (153) © CSG CIC Glasgow Museums Collection. Courtesy American Federation of Arts.

Cavaliere d’Arpino (Giuseppe Cesari), Archangel Michael and the Rebel Angels, ca. 1592–93. Oil on tin leaf(?)-coated copper.
Glasgow Museums; Bequeathed by Archibald McLellan, 1856 (153) © CSG CIC Glasgow Museums Collection. Courtesy American Federation of Arts.

Taking place at the Museum on Friday, February 27, from 5:30–7:30 p.m., this evening celebrates what the organizers are calling, “the drama of the divine, the sensuality of the secular and the splendors of spring in a one-night pilgrimage through 500 years of Italian painting in the galleries.” The entertainment includes music and dance performances by Ciaramella and Helios Dance Theater, participatory fresco painting, an interactive installation—From Mad Love to Bad Love—inspired by Dante’s Divine Comedy, and cocktails and hors d’oeuvres inspired by the Italian greats.

Start out your evening with a visit to Dante’s Purgatory, a literary work that inspired a 1480 commission by Lorenzo di Pierfrancesco de’ Medici for a series of narrative paintings by Sandro Botticelli.The tiered terraces of purgatory look suspiciously like dessert at the From Mad Love to Bad Love station, so you can have your cake and eat it too in this interactive, artist-designed installation.

After your journey through purgatory, immerse yourself in large-scale works at the fresco painting interactive installation. Work with SBMA Teaching Artist Kendall Pata to create a communal fresco inspired by the exhibition and painted directly onto dry plaster panels. Then tune in to the instrumental tapestry of Ciaramella, a wind ensemble dedicated to the music of the 15th century. The six-piece group—whose name is from he Italian shawm (a double-reed instrument similar to the oboe) and a 15th-century story about a beautiful girl whose clothes are full of holes and “knocks men flat” when she opens her mouth—performs a blend of Renaissance polyphony and improvisation.

Helios Dance Theater, courtesy SBMA

Helios Dance Theater, courtesy SBMA

Helios Dance Theater, led by critically-acclaimed choreographer and artistic director Laura Gorenstein Miller, returns to Santa Barbara Museum of Art with a performance that mixes sensual abandon with fierce physicality. Praised by the Los Angeles Times as presenting a “sensual partnering of maneuvers constructed of both intimate gestures and acrobatic lifts,” Helios performs at the intersection of period music and contemporary dance to deliver a visual exploration of the sacred and the sensory.

Guests will also enjoy a selection of baroque music curated for the occasion by composer, violist, baroque violinist, and 17th-century music specialist Andrew Mcintosh.

As you make your way through the ages, sip on Brander wine and savor Italian-inspired piccolini and small bites inspired by the flavors of Rome, Venice, and Florence, and prepared by Fire and Ice Events. A blend of Cutler Vodka, limoncello, and fresh citrus makes the evening’s signature cocktail: the Sacred and Profane. Inspired by the symbol of purity in love, lemons, the Sacred and Profane provides a refreshing, revealing, and possibly redemptive experience—as can be said for the beautiful and powerfully moving paintings around which the evening revolves.

This is a 21 and over party, and tickets $25 SBMA members/$30 non‐members) include hors d’oeuvres, wine, and signature cocktails, along with the entertainment. Purchase tickets at For more information, call 805/884.6423 or email Santa Barbara Museum of Art is located at 1130 State St.

Hope to see some of you there. Cheers! Click here for more cocktail corner columns.

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons Magazine on February 13, 2015.

Leslie Dinaberg


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.”