In celebration of the opening of a special temporary exhibit on loan from the UC Santa Barbara Library, The Anna S. C. Blake Manual Training School: The Remarkable Antecedent of UC Santa Barbara, the Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation (SBTHP) offered the community two free educational programs in early March at Casa de la Guerra.
In 1892, Anna S. C. Blake opened a sloyd school at 814 Santa Barbara St. (near De la Guerra St.) on the site of what is today Anacapa School, located in El Presidio de Santa Bárbara State Historic Park. Sloyd schools emphasized manual training and were closely linked to European folk art traditions and the Arts and Crafts movement. Renamed the Anna Blake Manual Training School after Blake’s death in 1899, the school remained grounded in the Progressive-era belief that all students should have access to a holistic education emphasizing both intellectual and practical knowledge in order to develop educated citizens.
The exhibition focuses on the school’s early years and explores how Santa Barbara reformers thought about the intersection of education, the manual arts, and social mobility in the 1890s, and the implications of those beliefs on higher education today. All exhibit photos are from UCSB Library’s University Archives Photographs collection.
Our first opening event for the exhibition was a free 1st Thursday program (co-sponsored by Downtown Santa Barbara) on March 7th, from 5:00 to 8:00pm. Guests were welcomed in the Casa courtyard by SBTHP staff and volunteers and enjoyed free refreshments and some of the beautiful music of early California performed by local guitarist and vocalist Luis Moreno. Many visitors also had the opportunity to meet and learn from the scholars who researched the history of the School and curated the special exhibition, Dr. Sarah Case (Managing Editor, The Public Historian, and Continuing Lecturer at UCSB) and Nora Kassner (graduate student in History at UCSB).
On Sunday, March 10th at 2:00pm SBTHP staff and UCSB History Associates organized a special lecture by Dr. Sara Case and Nora Kassner at Casa de la Guerra. Approximately 25 people attended the lecture and learned about the history of the Anna S. C. Blake Manual Training School. The lecture was followed by a reception and an exhibit showing.
To learn more about the history of the Anna S. C. Blake School and its important ties to the Presidio Neighborhood and to UC Santa Barbara read Sara and Nora’s piece in our Winter 2019 issue of La Campana (available for sale for $5 at our Presidio or Casa de la Guerra gift shops) and/or come visit Casa de la Guerra before the end of May to see the exhibit in person!
Kevin McGarry is the associate director for public engagement at the Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation.
The Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation‘s exhibit, Building Community: Reginald D. Johnson, Architect was recently installed in the MacBean Library at Cate School in Carpinteria. SBTHP was pleased to partner with Cate School during the preliminary preparation for the exhibit and also grateful to them for the opportunity to have the show displayed at this beautiful campus which was designed by Reginald Johnson in 1927. Curator Rose Thomas gave a brief presentation to board members and staff during a reception hosted by the school.
The exhibit traces the arc of Johnson’s career from his early work, to iconic projects including the Biltmore, Cate School, Bellosguardo (The Clark Estate) and Cuesta Linda (Lotusland). The exhibit also includes several acclaimed small house projects which contributed to Johnson’s evolving sense of architecture’s role in designing a high quality of life for everyone.
We devote an entire gallery to what some believe to be the pinnacle of his career, the Santa Barbara Downtown Post Office, 1937. A Depression-era project for which Johnson took no commission, the Post Office is a triumph of federal institutional character with a mix of Santa Barbara style. The gallery also includes a wall devoted to William Atkinson, who designed the bas reliefs on the interior, and a feedback activity designed to building awareness of the potential sale of the Post Office by the U.S. Postal Service.
The final portion of the exhibit explores Johnson’s late-career middle class and public housing projects through which his ideals about the architecture of community life crystallized. An emphasis on the relationship with the outdoors, and spaces for the community to gather characterize these projects.
We had a wonderful opening reception for the show on Thursday March 10. If you missed it, we will be open during First Thursday next Thursday May 5 from 5:00 pm – 8:00 pm, and during regular museum hours until September 18.
Anne Petersen is the executive director of the Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation.
The Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation is pleased to announce an upcoming exhibition on the Architect Reginald Johnson’s (1882 – 1952) Santa Barbara projects, which will open at Casa de la Guerra next year. Johnson is recognized locally for his work on several community institutions, including the U.S. Downtown Post Office, the Biltmore Hotel, the Music Academy of the West, and Lotus Land.
On October 16, Guest Curator Rose Thomas and I made a trip to the Huntington Library and Botanical Gardens in San Marino to look at two scrapbooks of Johnson projects. Our anticipation was high, because Johnson famously destroyed his work. Researchers must rely on the material saved by his clients, much of which is in private collections, and the few archives that hold materials. The Johnson scrapbooks at the Huntington include wonderful photographs of Santa Barbara projects such as Lotus Land and the Harold Chase House, each mounted on a page and complete with beautifully hand-lettered titles.
One of the scrapbooks includes floor plans and hand-colored elevation drawings, along with photographs, of Village Green, a middle class housing project built in the Baldwin Hills area of Los Angeles in 1941. The project was one of Johnson’s last, and reflects his late-career interest in public housing.
Reviewing that scrapbook was timely considering we had scheduled an afternoon appointment with two residents of Village Green, Gailyn Saroyan and Steve Keylon, who are dedicated to preserving their beautiful homes and passionate about Johnson’s ideals. Village Green is remarkable for its balance of apartments (now condominiums) and park-like natural space. Every aspect of the sixty-four acre property was designed to create beautiful comfortable and communal-based lifestyles for its residents. It is a remarkable oasis in the city, and one that is cherished by its current residents.
We look forward to sharing more about the exhibit with you as it developes. An opening is planned for February 2016, so stay tuned for more detailed announcements!
Anne Petersen is the Associate Director for Historical resources at the Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation.
The Haass Adobe Watercolor collection is made up of a series of historic adobes painted in the late 1940s and early 1950s by Fridloin Haass at the request of Pearl Chase. The extremely detailed paintings capture a moment in time at each site. Today some of the buildings captured for the series (including Casa de la Guerra), look radically different, and others have been lost altogether.
Van Stein worked with his class to pay close attention to Haass’s ability to use light and dark colors to make features either recede or come to the forefront. He also praised the artist’s ability to capture complex shadows and reflections, and to offer enough line detail to suggest intricate painterly features like a tile roof, without articulating each tile.
Students begin to paint Casa de la Guerra, using inspiration from the exhibit. Photo by Anne Petersen.
Thomas Van Stein begins his painting of the Casa. Photo by Anne Petersen.
After viewing the exhibit, the class set up their easels in the Casa Courtyard and began to paint, using the inspiration of the Haass watercolors to guide them. While assisting his students, Van Stein was also able to create his own work of art, capturing the East wing of the Casa, with a delicately painted tile roof.
We thoroughly enjoyed the class visit, which brings together several of the Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation’s areas of interest: our local architecture, historic preservation, and the appreciation of our community’s sense of place through the visual arts.
Anne Petersen is the Associate Director for Historical Resources at the Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation.
Just a reminder that this is the last weekend to view The Art of Preservation: The Oak Group Remembers Ray Strong at Casa de la Guerra. We were able to extend the exhibit one extra week, but this Sunday August 23 is the official closing day. This special exhibit of Oak Group member paintings and Ray Strong paintings from the private collections of Oak Group members is not to be missed! Casa de la Guerra is open Friday, Saturday and Sunday from Noon – 4:00 PM.
To mark the occasion, we are pleased to share some images from the opening reception on June 11.
This week we installed The Art of Preservation: The Oak Group Remembers Ray Strong at Casa de la Guerra for a 2-month run. The project reflects the fruit of many meaningful community collaborations, and we can’t wait for everyone to see the results. The Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation is one of 10 host institutions throughout the county celebrating pioneering landscape artist Ray Strong with special exhibitions during the month of June. For a list of all the exhibitions, click here.
Sullivan Goss Gallery coordinated the Summer 2015 Ray Strong exhibition project as part of a larger project to honor Strong’s legacy, which will include a beautiful full-color book, and an online database of Strong’s work. For more information on the Ray Strong project, click here.
SBTHP is proud to partner with the Oak Group for our contribution to the Summer 2015 Ray Strong exhibition series. Strong, who inspired plein air landscape painters throughout California and Oregon, was co-founder of this local painters collective, which focuses on the power of art to help preserve and celebrate open space. For the exhibit, Oak Group members loaned Ray Strong paintings from their private collections, and also paintings of their own that evoke a strong connection to Strong, their colleague, mentor and friend. The Oak Group’s preservation theme dovetails beautifully with SBTHP’s preservation mission.
Intern Lauren Trujillo sets a label. Photo by Anne Petersen.
Artifacts and Exhibits Committee member Kathi Brewster makes sure we set the painting at the correct height. Photo by Anne Petersen.
To produce and install the exhibit we also rely on the help of volunteers and friends of SBTHP. Special thanks go to co-curator Bill Dewey, a member of the Oak Group and SBTHP’s Artifacts and Exhibits (A&E) Committee for his help coordinating the project. Intern Lauren Trujillo corresponded with artists and made and installed the labels for the show. A&E Committee member Kathi Brewster helped hang all the artwork. We are also grateful for our partnership with the Oak Group and honored to display the treasured paintings by and memories of Ray Strong that members shared for the exhibit. Special thanks also go to Chris Chapman for sharing her Cloud Dance as the featured painting for the show (seen in the header of this post).
Artifacts and Exhibits Committee member and Photographer Bill Dewey documents pieces in the show. Photo by Anne Petersen.
Lauren Trujillo stands before her favorite Ray Strong piece in the show, Ice Field’s Flame, loaned by Arturo Tello. Photo by Anne Petersen.
We hope to see everyone at the free public opening for the exhibit on June 11 from 5:00 PM – 7:00 PM at Casa de la Guerra. We will also be open for free during the July 2 First Thursday program from 5:00 PM – 8:00 PM. And, of course you can always visit Casa de la Guerra during regular hours from 12:00 – 4:00 PM Friday through Sunday.
Anne Petersen is the Associate Director for Historical Resources at the Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation
This Friday, July 18 the Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation opened a new exhibit at Casa de la Guerra titled Orpha Klinker and Bill Dewey: Landmarks of California. This special project brings together Orpha Klinker’s 1930s paintings of California’s historic resources with contemporary images of the same sites by Santa Barbara photographer William B. Dewey. SBTHP is grateful to Sullivan Goss Gallery for the loan of the Klinker collection and five Dewey photographs. The remainder of the Dewey collection was donated to SBTHP by the photographer, and this is our first opportunity to display them.
Viewing the paintings and photographs side by side produces both moments of satisfaction at the graceful continuity experienced by some of the historic places and some pangs of loss at the irrevocable change wrought upon others. The combined stories of these special sites, conveyed through the powerful pairing of images, reminds us how historic preservation contributes to a sense of place in our communities. This message is especially intrinsic to our mission at SBTHP, and we are proud to host this special exhibit.
Special thanks go to Sullivan Goss gallery for making the Klinker collection available for loan, and to SBTHP Artifacts and Exhibits Committee member Bill Dewey for his generous donation of photographic prints and assistance coordinating the project. Thanks also go to SBTHP intern Kate Borchard for assisting with the planning and production of the exhibit, and to volunteer Sam Majewski for helping with the installation.
We will celebrate the opening of the exhibit on August 7 from 5:00 – 8:00 pm as part of the Downtown Organization’s free First Thursday program. The exhibit will be open through October 19, 2014. For hours and directions to Casa de la Guerra, click here.
Anne Petersen is the Associate Director for Historical Resources at the Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation
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