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Cuentos del Pueblo

(Stories of the Town)


Cuentos del Pueblo

(Stories of the Town)

Announcing the 2018 Artists!

The arts have a unique ability to bridge barriers of politics, class, and culture, to reorient perspective and open up dialogue about entrenched societal issues.


In this belief, and thanks to funding from the Santa Barbara Foundation, the Santa Barbara Arts Collaborative is piloting an artist-in-residence program in 2018 based at the Community Arts Workshop (CAW). We are delighted to announced the awardees for this inaugural year! The projects represent a rich variety of artistic disciplines, issues, and community groups, and artists of incredible caliber. We could not be more excited for work to begin.


The first project, Going Home, will begin work in February. A collaborative initiative between a team of seven local teaching artists lead by Michael Morgan, Noah’s Anchorage Youth Crisis Shelter, and five to eight youth who are homeless or have experienced homelessness in the recent past, Going Home “applies theater as a catalyst for problem solving.” The residency uses a model set by Morgan’s well-known work with the Odyssey Project. Issues confronting the youth will be approached through theatre improvisation and voicework, drawing, photography, spoken word, poetry, and rap, “offering them choices about how they want to express themselves and to provide them with varied perspectives.” The project will conclude with a theatre performance and include organizing stakeholder and public discussion on the issues confronting these young people.


In April, Sexual Assault Awareness Month, a team of local printmakers (Bay Hallowell, Sara Woodburn, Meagan Stirling, and project lead Claudia Borfiga) will conduct a series of printmaking workshops with sexual assault survivors and loved ones in partnership with the Santa Barbara Rape Crisis Center. Each printmaker brings years of experience in printmaking, teaching, and community engagement to the project. The workshops will provide an opportunity for support, creative expression, and empowerment. The residency will culminate with a public exhibition of screen-printed banners and community dialogues on sexual assault.


In the latter half of the year, a community-based storytelling theater project called Cuentos del Pueblo (Stories of the Town) will begin at the CAW, lead by Joseph Velasco, with Carlos Cuellar and Sio Tepper. Drawing upon Velasco’s work with El Teatro Campesino and City at Peace Santa Barbara; Cuellar’s decades of work as a muralist, photographer, and teaching artist, and Tepper’s experience a musician and co-founder of TOTEM; Cuentos del Pueblo will “create a safe space for members of the community to come together and develop their own stories through a series of acting and storytelling workshops.” The workshops will culminate in public performances based on the participants’ lives and experiences with a mural created by the participants serving as the backdrop or set of the show. The performances will include audience interaction and dialogue about the issues brought up in the work.

“The Arts Residency program demonstrates how the arts can elevate important social issues and build bridges for constructive conversation,” said Sharyn Main, Senior Director of Community Investment at the Santa Barbara Foundation. “It is our hope that the CAW will be recognized not just as a place for artists to work, but as a critical public space of civic engagement and conversation.”


The Santa Barbara Foundation’s support and the piloting of this program allows the Santa Barbara Arts Collaborative to develop the CAW’s potential and build its future as a public square for art and dialogue. The Arts Collaborative is in the middle of capital campaign to renovate the CAW spaces to provide affordable and flexible workshop, gallery, performance, classroom, rehearsal, and open space to local artists, as well as residency programs like the one piloted this year. More about the CAW can be found at  and

Funding for the arts residency is generously provided by the Santa Barbara Foundation

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