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Refine the Framework

Having taken a snapshot of our cultural landscape and having drafted a framework of goals in Phase I, what remained was to build on that framework. We needed to gather a broader, deeper pool of information to refine our goals and determine steps toward their realization.

To that end, we crafted a survey to assess Santa Barbara county residents’ cultural participation. We sought to

  1. assess what creative and cultural activities Santa Barbara County residents engage in now;

  2. identify the barriers that inhibit residents—including art practitioners, teachers, consumers, audiences, and learners—from engaging in creative and cultural activities, and

  3. use the data collected to identify opportunities to improve access to, resources for, and expand understanding about creative and cultural activities and opportunities across Santa Barbara County.


That survey is now complete. As far as we know, it is the first reliable survey of this nature in our county.

For the most part, the results of the survey are immensely encouraging. We now have firm evidence
that creative life in Santa Barbara is strong and that the vast majority of people believe that arts & culture make important contributions to their individual lives as well as the quality of their respective communities.
Not surprisingly, 73% of respondents see “socializing with friends and family” as a motivation for attending events. In concert with the high value survey respondents ascribe to the creative life, many would like to expand their involvement and participation. Chief barriers seen for a fuller engagement are lack of time and money.

The survey data also give us, for the first time, good insights into differences in the arts & culture landscape between north and south county, English and Spanish-speaking residents, people who have young children vs. others who do not, different age groups, and different income levels, as well as the barriers facing those groups as they seek to participate and create culture in the ways they want to.

The findings of Phases 1 and 2 together will provide a solid foundation for the work of Phase 3,
the task of creating a long term blue print for maintaining and further enhancing the vitality of
arts & culture both individually and institutionally, for ensuring the broadest possible access and
participation for all of our residents, and for providing the stable financial support to make this
possible. We hope you enjoy digging into the findings of the community survey—Working Together
to Sustain and Grow Santa Barbara’s Cultural Vitality, and that you’ll continue to follow our progress
or get involved in Phase 3!

For Further Reading

Photo at top: "Ethnic Diversity" mural by Richard Wyatt, located at 115 Civic Center Plaza, Lompoc. (Photo credit: John Ogilvie.)

Project funded by

the Santa Barbara Foundation


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