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The Santa Barbara Bowl Foundation Reaches Beyond the Stage with Educational Outreach Initiatives

YMCA youth at Santa Barbara Bowl courtesy of the
community ticket subsidy program

Ears ringing, fists pounding, heartbeats racing, and passions blazing, a first concert is unforgettable. There is nothing like walking into a venue for the first time and being blinded by the lights, deafened by the crowd and engulfed in the music. It is emotional. It is inspiring. It is life-changing. This is exactly what students of Notes for Notes, an organization that offers youth from all socio-economic backgrounds the opportunity create, explore and record music, wrote in their “thank you” letters to the Santa Barbara Bowl Foundation for providing them with their first concert experience.

“A program director at Notes for Notes, who had overheard a bunch of students talking about sneaking into the Bowl to see an artist, knew we were starting a community ticket subsidy program, where we buy tickets from a promoter and offer them at a lower cost to performing arts and other deserving organizations,” said Kai Tepper, Education Outreach Program Manager at the Santa Barbara Bowl Foundation. “The look of pure joy that we saw on these students’ faces when they walked into the Bowl for the first time is not a rarity, but is something that we see every single time we provide tickets through this program.”

The Santa Barbara Bowl Foundation is actively striving to create the leading outdoor performing arts center in the country through initiatives like the community ticket subsidy program, facility enhancements, performance diversity and community outreach. The Santa Barbara Bowl was built in 1936 on a hillside above downtown Santa Barbara and, in 1981, a handful of music enthusiasts saw the amphitheater’s potential as a major venue and formed the Santa Barbara Bowl Foundation. In the 1990s, the foundation took over management of the venue and began revitalizing and restoring the Bowl, as well as changing its focus. In 2014, the Bowl had shifted from focusing just on music to being a leader that focuses on impacting, nurturing and satisfying the community through education outreach.

“Through our initiatives, we foster and nurture our future audiences by enabling them to see a world class performance,” said Tepper. “We are also able to provide them with a positive message, show them that we care, and inspire them to follow or realize their dreams of being onstage or working in production.”

In addition to the community ticket subsidy program, the Bowl is actively fostering collaboration and partnership in the Santa Barbara arts community. It partners with the Santa Barbara County Office of Arts and Culture by giving 50 cents of each ticket purchased to the Santa Barbara County Arts Commission. Additionally, it is a leading partner in the instrument fund, which provides ongoing repair and purchase of instruments for youth music programs, and is working with the Santa Barbara Symphony to reinvigorate a program called BRAVO!, which would complement the instrument fund by ensuring that students have quality teaching and programming to actually use these instruments. The Bowl also recently received a Capital Improvement Grant from the Santa Barbara Foundation to work with Children’s Creative Projects to digitize the community arts catalogue of after-school art programs.

“We are grateful for the Santa Barbara Foundation for its broad and deep impact in the community that initiates systemic, long-lasting change,” said Graham Farrar, Education Outreach Committee Chair. “We hope to enhance our partnership with the foundation through existing initiatives like Creative Communities and, in the future, think more innovatively about types of initiatives and partnered funding opportunities where we can each bring our best skills and resources to benefit our community.”

As the Bowl heads into the 2017 season, it wants to raise fundraising awareness for these initiatives, especially in North and Mid-County, and enhance existing partnerships to foster innovation and appreciation for arts now and into the future.

“Having a healthy arts education infrastructure benefits the community at large by creating a culturally vibrant experience and fostering innovation,” said Farrar. “We want the Bowl to continue to be appreciated and valued for years to come and, in order to do this, we need to come together to continue to make our city a great place to live and provide those moments, such as attending a concert for the first time, that can truly change someone’s life.”
North County Headquarters:  (805) 346-6123  |   2625 S. Miller Street, Suite 101, Santa Maria, CA 93455
South County Headquarters:  (805) 963-1873  |  1111 Chapala Street, Suite 200, Santa Barbara, CA 93101