The Santa Barbara Arts Collaborative Announces a New Pilot Program:

Community Art Workshops

In 2019, invest in your emotional health and creativity. Dedicate a night or two a week to learn from Santa Barbara’s most exciting art teachers, mess around, create in community, and learn something new at the Community Arts Workshop.


The Arts Collaborative and CAW are piloting a brand new program called exactly what they are: “Community Art Workshops.” It’s an attempt to do something kind of special: to teach not just artistic skills but art skills as life skills. How theatrical improv teaches collaboration. How drawing teaches attention. How dance teaches freedom of movement and creativity. How the arts in general foster lifelong creativity and community health, no matter who you are, in what profession.


We’ve brought together a posse of some really special Santa Barbara teachers, each with years of experience teaching professionals and community members alike. Classes are scheduled to fit around participants’ work and school hours, are affordably priced (with scholarships available), and conveniently downtown.

In 2019, take an opportunity to expand your perspective and animate your spirit and vision at the Community Arts Workshop. Consider signing up for a class!


The Workshops:

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Beginning Improv

Taught by Michael Bernard

This class is for people with little to no improv experience who want to learn how to get up and create theater in an instant. The class will teach active listening, collaboration skills, focus & attention, confidence & creative humility, and how to make intuitive choices that can build a scene (and be funny). Improv games will be played as well as an introduction to scene work. If you want to practice your creativity and listening, loosen up on the seriousness and laugh, this class is for you. This class will also be used as a trial for building an improv company in Santa Barbara, so you could be in on the ground floor of something new!

Time: Tuesday nights, 7:30pm-9:30pm, February 19 - April 2, with one class Monday April 1. (8 classes total). With an opportunity to perform the weekend of April 6.
Cost: $300
Ages 16 and up


For more information e-mail Michael Bernard at

Storytelling Workshop

Taught by Joseph Velasco

Storytelling is possibly the oldest form of theater. All of us are storytellers in some way.  We cannot interact with other human beings without listening, telling, reading, or watching a story on a daily basis. Stories are a way for us to make sense of the world around us. Remembering, observing, and practicing what we have learned are primary ways that all people learn basic life skills from early childhood on. In a multimedia world where paper is almost forgotten, the need for good storytelling remains relevant. Stories are how we hold a collective consciousness in our own families and community.  


This workshop for 8-12 students will explore the process of telling a story live. Students will learn a variety of techniques including observation, vocalization, physical theater, and how to make a story their own. Students will be led in a variety of exercises to help explore the craft of telling a story and to best present that story as a solo storyteller. The class will build your confidence in public speaking, teach elements of story applicable all kinds of media, and put you in touch with an ancient way of understanding the world. 


Time: Tuesday nights, 5:15pm-7:15pm, February 26 - April 2 with one class Monday April 1 (No class March 26). (6 classes total.) With an opportunity to perform the weekend of April 6.
Cost: $250
Ages 16 and up

For more information e-mail Joseph Velasco at

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Two-Class Series in Drawing and Sculpture

"Observe and Engage"

Taught by Patrick Melroy


"Observational Drawing for the Lonely"

Students will be guided in observational drawing from objects in real life. Subjects will include, but not be limited to, the human figure, objects from home, things that are curvy, things that are flat sided, things that cast shadows, things that breath, and of course dogs. Students will explore mark-making with a variety of drawing tools and non-drawing tools. Students will be encouraged to draw in new and exciting ways while maintaining their existing strengths. Students will learn a portion of the vast technical process of creating two dimensional images, culminating in a public show produced by the students.

Time: 3 Tuesdays, 5:15-7:15p.m., February 5-19, with an opportunity to participate in an exhibition the weekend of April 6



"Unreasonable Object Making"

Our contemporary world is filled with bland objects, this class will make new and unusual art objects to counteract that dullness. The mission of these objects is to engage and activate the imagination of our audience. Students are challenged to develop art which encourages people to actively participate in their world. Students will learn to build art objects with nontraditional art making materials and practices. Students will produce several interactive art objects and create scenarios to exhibit these creations to an audience. Students will learn a portion of the vast technical process of creating sculptures, culminating in a public show produced by the students.

Time: 3 Wednesdays, 7:30-9:30p.m., March 13-27, with an opportunity to participate in an exhibition the weekend of April 6


Cost is $150 for each 3 week class, or $250 for both parts of the

“Observe and Engage” series.

Ages 16 and up

For more information e-mail Patrick Melroy

Dance Workshop:

Curiosity and Wonder Through Movement

Taught by Stephanie Miracle


This six-week, 2 part workshop series will explore the elements of dance: space, time, and the body through movement investigations on sight, sound, and touch.  We will work with choreographed sequences and improvised movement scores to unleash imagination and curiosity in our bodies. We will interact with architecture and everyday spaces to create site-specific pop-up performances. We will move playfully and contemplatively. We will create collaboratively, weaving threads from other fields of research and artistic disciplines into our practice together. 

Led by choreographer Stephanie Miracle, this class uses dance as a means to activate the self within society and to create meaningful relationships to ourselves, our environment, and the people around us. With years of experience working as an international artist creating site-specific performances and dance works for various populations, Stephanie brings a wealth of knowledge and a passion for awaking creativity in the whole person.

Designed both for professional artists and anyone with a body. Please wear comfortable clothing appropriate for indoor and outdoor explorations.

Time: Wednesdays, 5:30-7:30p.m., Session 1: Feb 13, 20, 27,  Session 2: March 13, 20, 27. With an opportunity to participate in a performance the weekend of April 6th
Cost: Cost is $150 for one 3-week session, or $250 for both Sessions 1 & 2
Ages 16 and up.


For more information e-mail Stephanie Miracle at


Teacher Bios

MICHAEL BERNARD spent 10 years as the Associate Artistic Director of The 52nd Street Project, a nationally recognized theater company that creates original theater with kids from Hell’s Kitchen in New York City. At Upright Citizens Brigade NYC Michael directed a few shows including "The Chipperton Family Vocaltainers Shooby Dooby Dooby Hour" which was an official selection of The HBO Comedy Festival in Aspen. He received his training in improv at SecondCity Chicago, and was the artistic director of Improvboston, Boston’s best-known improvisational comedy company. He has also written for Disney, Nickelodeon, Henson Productions, Nick at Nite, DC Comics, Showtime, Spike TV, The Sundance Channel, Noggin, WE, MTV, VH1 and some commercials you probably fast-forwarded past. Since moving to California in 2009 Michael has performed in LA with "Immediate Theater" an improv company made of of ex members of Second City and The Groundlings. He has acted in numerous shows with the Lit Moon Theatre Company.  He is the Artistic Director of Elements Theater Collective where he played King Charles/William Scott/Lady Davenant in "Or," Richard Nixon in, "Nixon's Nixon," and Sorn in "Stupid F-ing Bird.” He was recently seen at SBCC playing Francis in “One Man Two Guvnors." He also directed "In a Word" and runs the annual "Play in a Day" theater festival.

JOSEPH VELASCO is an English and AVID teacher at Santa Barbara High School as well as a professional director, actor, and storyteller.  He grew up across the street from the renowned El Teatro Campesino in San Juan Bautista where his interest in theatre was sparked.  While attending UC Santa Barbara he began an internship with the company and upon graduating became a Resident Director where he directed a series of workshop productions featuring the comedy trio, Chicano Secret Service; a bilingual, gender-bending adaptation of Greater Tuna;  an original work, Chicano (R)evolution as well as taught performance workshops and co-wrote and directed the premiere of the performance troupe, The Alter Boys in Praying for Laughter (Nothing's Sacred).  He also helped start Teatro Camp, an intensive summer youth workshop. Upon moving back to Santa Barbara, Joseph was invited to study at the Estudio Busqueda de Pantomima Teatro in Guanajuato, Mexico.  Soon after Joseph joined James Donlon & Company as a performer and teacher co-creating original works such as Wrench.   He continues to work with Donlon to this day.  Joseph is one of the co-founders of BOXTALES,  a storytelling theater troupe that brings world mythology to life through storytelling, movement, masks, and music.  He has worked locally over the years with the Lobero Theater, Ensemble Theater Company, Speaking of Stories, Center Stage Theater, as well as being the Artistic Director of City at Peace Santa Barbara.  He has also taught performance workshops at various theater companies and universities in the Bay Area, Los Angeles and New York.  Joseph continues to be active as a storyteller and director in the local community.  He also teaches workshops in multicultural issues, conflict resolution, and teacher training programs.

PATRICK MELROY holds an MFA from UCSB where he taught for several years as a lecturer. He has taught classes and workshops at SBCC, College of Creative Studies, Marymount, Laverne University, Stanford, and UCLA. His work most often manifests as idea based interactive sculpture. He utilizes any material that best serves the project. He draws influence from tactile daily experiences and manifests a creative vocabulary that utilizes familiar sentimental interactions. His work was recently seen in the State of the Art Gallery and during special events at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art. He grew up with a carpenter father and teacher librarian mother.

STEPHANIE MIRACLE is an independent choreographer and teaching artist. She holds a MFA in Dance 2014 from the University of Maryland and a BA in Dance from Belhaven University 2004. A 2014/15 German Fulbright Fellow in the Performing Arts, Stephanie has focused her research on the embodied practice of tanztheater. She became a certified teacher of Klein Technique™ in 2017. Her teaching practice explores the liveliness of space and the possibilities of a precision and chaos in the body. Stephanie's choreography has been described as “iconic and nuanced…with an irreverence that makes you smile unconsciously” (Rick Westerkamp, 2014). Her choreographic projects have been presented in Germany, Portugal, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Mexico, Russia, and various cities across the US.  As a performer she has worked with Deborah Hay, Shannon Gillen, David Dorfman, Susan Marshall, PWDT, and was company member with FTS for 2 years. She is the director of Fakers Club and is the guest choreographer for Folkwang Tanzstudio's 2018 season. She lives with her husband Jimmy Miracle in Santa Barbara.


Photos courtesy of: Barbara Parmet, Stephanie Miracle, Patrick Melroy