Celebrate Family Holiday Movie Weekend at the Granada Theatre

Granada Holiday Movie Weekend

Enjoy the magic of the holidays at The Granada Theatre’s Family Holiday Movie Weekend on Saturday, December 13 and Sunday, December 14!  In addition to screening holiday movie favorites with the only 4K cinema projection system in the region, Santa Claus will make a special visit to The Granada Theatre to greet children, and there will be special seasonal musical performances by local school and musical groups including Montecito Union Elementary, La Colina Junior High, San Marcos High School, Santa Barbara High School and local public elementary school students from the Incredible Children’s Art Network (iCAN) program.

Here’s the schedule:

Saturday, December 13

11 a.m. Music by Montecito Union Elementary

Movies: Merry Madagascar and Kung Fu Panda

noon to 1:30 p.m.   Meet Santa Claus!

3 p.m. Music by San Marcos High School Madcappella Choir

Movie: White Christmas

7 p.m. Music by La Colina Junior High Outburst Choir

Movie: National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation

Sunday, December 14

11 a.m. to noon Meet Santa Claus!

noon Music by Incredible Children’s Art Network (iCAN) group Pacific Choir

Movie: Miracle On 34th Street

5 p.m. Music by Santa Barbara High School Madrigals Choir

Movie: Dr. Seuss’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas

General Admission tickets are just $5 and include open seating. Reserved seating in the Loge is available for $10 per ticket. Click here to purchase tickets for each music and movie performance, or by calling The Granada Theatre’s Box Office at 805/899-2222.  The Granada is located at 1214 State St.

—Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on December 10, 2014.

¡Viva el Arte de Santa Bárbara! welcomes Los Vega Son Jarocho

Los-Vega.sm_This week ¡Viva el Arte de Santa Bárbarawelcomes Los Vega Son Jarocho, fifth generation jarocho musicians from Veracruz, Mexico. Carrying on a longstanding family tradition, Los Vega brings a fresh pespective to this distinctive style, playing jaranas (small guitars), percussion, vocals and zapateado (footwork). 

According to the organizers, “for more than five generations the Vega family has contributed to traditional son jarocho, taking on the responsibility of keeping a musical expression alive through the generations. Son jarocho is a style of music with origins in music brought from Spain in the colonial period, melded with indiginous folk music, dynamic Afro-Caribbean beats and wise-cracking wordplay unique to the tropical Veracruz region on the Gulf of Mexico. It is music traditionally played on stringed instruments such as the jarana, a strummed guitar with eight to ten strings, three of which are double, and the requinto, a small four-stringed guitar, and is accompanied by intricate dance or zapateado, often performed on wooden platforms or tarimas.”

They will perform a free family concert at Isla Vista School at 7 p.m. on Friday, October 18 (6875 El Colegio Rd., Goleta, 805/893-5037). On Saturday, October 19, they travel to Guadalupe City Hall for a free family concert at 7:30 p.m. (918 Obispo St., Guadalupe, 805/343-2939), returning to Santa Barbara to perform a free family concert at the Marjorie Luke Theatre at Santa Barbara Jr. High on Sunday, October 20 at 7 p.m. (721 E. Cota St., 805/884-4087 x7).

In addition to these performances, on October 17, La Cumbre Jr. High and the Santa Barbara Westside Association co-host a unique opportunity to learn and practice with the musicians of Los Vega Son Jarocho in a free participatory workshop from 5:30–7 p.m. at La Cumbre Jr. High, 2255 Modoc Rd. Musicians and dancers of all levels are welcome to come play together. Please bring your own instrument —or be ready to sing and dance!

Based on a vision of accessible cultural offerings for Santa Barbara County’s Latino communities, ¡Viva el Arte de Santa Bárbara! brings together diverse audiences at free famly events in neighborhood venues on five weekends each year. The program is a consortium of the Marjorie Luke Theatre, the Guadalupe Cultural Arts & Education Center, Isla Vista School, and UCSB Arts & Lectures, represented by co-ordinators Alíz Ruvalcaba, Graciela Parra and Catherine Boyer. Volunteers from PTAs, the California Youth Corps, UCSB sororities and fraternities, and many others, join together to host and staff the events.  

¡Viva el Arte de Santa Bárbara! is funded by The James Irvine Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts with additional support from the SAGE, the Santa Barbara Foundation, Incredible Children’s Art Network, the UCSB Office of Education Partnerships, the Santa Barbara County Arts Commission, The Marjorie Luke Theatre’s Dreier Family Rent Subsidy Fund, the Santa Barbara IndependentSanta Barbara Latino, the Santa Maria SUNUnivisión, the Sandman Inn, Best Western South Coast Inn and Ramada Limited. This project is funded in part by the Community Arts Grant Program using funds provided by the City of Santa Barbara, in partnership with the Santa Barbara County Arts CommissionCo-presented by the Marjorie Luke Theatre, the Guadalupe Arts & Education Center and UCSB Arts & Lectures, in collaboration with the Isla Vista School After School Grant.

Originally published in Santa Barbara SEASONS on October 17, 2013.

Legacies: They Can, We Can, iCAN

Courtesy iCAN

Courtesy iCAN

The Incredible Children’s Art Network Picks Up Speed
By Leslie Dinaberg

in-cred-i-ble: [in-kred-uh-buhl] adjective
1. so extraordinary as to seem impossible: incredible speed.
2. not credible; hard to believe; unbelievable: The plot of the book is incredible.

Flying mostly under the radar until recently, the art-minded philanthropy of the Incredible Children’s Art Network (iCAN) has been quietly lending support to a handful of local elementary schools since 2005. Now, with a large new facility in the works at 222 E. Canon Perdido St. and an even bigger vision for the future under the direction of new executive director Jeffry Walker, iCAN is set to soar even higher.

Collaboration is a big part of that vision for Walker, a recent transplant from Carmel, whose youthful excitement about iCAN belies his more than 35 years of community arts education leadership.

Looking to the future of iCAN—which currently has visual art programs in place at Adams, Cleveland, Franklin, Harding University Partnership, McKinley and Monroe elementary schools, as well as an afterschool program at Franklin providing free music instruction to 90 students, five days a week—Walker says, “It’s not just around art and music as discrete disciplines, but really around youth development issues and community building issues. We have a pretty wide view on who we think we would work with or be aware of what they’re doing… At this point, it’s fair to say that most of our preliminary conversations are focused on creating a through-line for kids in elementary school and beyond.”



Jackson Sierra, whose son Dakotah is a third grader at Franklin (with both the art and music program, which is inspired by Venezuela’s renowned el Sistema model) says, “The program as a whole is awesome… My son has benefited from his music education by being able to read sheet music and write his own music, as well as his love for musical instruments.” In addition, “It has helped him with his math, also with his timing, and helped with his team player skills.”

Indeed, there is overwhelming evidence that involvement in the arts is associated with gains in math, reading, cognitive ability, critical thinking and verbal skills, as well as improvements in motivation, concentration, confidence and teamwork. Unfortunately, nearly a decade of painful budget cuts have decimated funding for these programs in public schools, leaving parents frantically fundraising to fill in the gaps. Not all schools have a population that can do this, which is one of the reasons iCAN was founded: to bring high-quality arts programs to children in Santa Barbara County, particularly to those least likely to receive them.

iCAN also seeks to affect positive social change in the communities it serves, which seems to be working.

“iCAN has really made our school into a more confident and creative place,” says Shannon McCain Jaffe, iCAN art teacher at Franklin. “iCAN has really contributed to change the climate at our school with the art and music…giving the students these kinds of materials and saying, ‘You’re worth this, and you deserve this, and now see where you can take this, where you can go.’ I think iCAN really just planted that seed that they are important, that this is a valuable thing, art, and gave them that opportunity.”

“Plus, it’s wonderful to see the kids delighting in what they know today that they didn’t know yesterday,” says Walker.

“We’ve been lucky enough that all of our principals…have made a point to show their support constantly in any way they can to our program, and that’s not something you necessarily get with nonprofits working with schools. We’ve been really, really lucky,” says Hillary McCall, iCAN communications and development manager.

“So many times…in the arts, we struggle in an environment of scarcity all of the time, not only financial resources but in terms of level of air space that is even given in the community dialogues…So to come into a community where arts education is already on that radar and already worthy of the conversations is pretty brilliant,” says Walker.

“Our project for the next few years will be to realize those aspirations.”

For more information about iCAN, call 805/845-5142 or visit icansbc.org. 

Originally published in the Fall 2013 issue of Santa Barbara SEASONS Magazine.