State of the Arts

The winter arts calendar offers a wonderland of performances, exhibitions, screenings and more

From classics to contemporary new works across the stage, the screen and gallery spaces, the winter arts season at UC Santa Barbara is packed full of exciting performances, films and exhibitions.

The winter academic quarter begins in full January 6, and arts offerings on campus start coming fast and furious soon after, continuing until the spring break in late March. The programming powerhouse that is UCSB Arts & Lectures will offer more than two dozen events over that time period, bringing top names in music, dance, journalism, literature and more to Campbell Hall and myriad venues in Santa Barbara.

An equally robust and vibrant winter arts lineup — happening entirely on campus — spans multiple departments and disciplines and offers something for everyone.

Art, design and architecture

Since its founding in 1959, UC Santa Barbara’s Art, Design & Architecture Museum has created a rich and diverse collection built on aesthetic value and pedagogical import. This veritable treasury of art has grown — almost entirely through donations — to include over 10,000 objects that are mined and brought out for exhibitions, special programs, class visits and instructional use. Now, a new exhibition shines a spotlight on this unique collection.

Irresistible Delights: Recent Gifts to the Art Collection” offers a peek inside the museum’s vaults, highlighting some of the many works donated to the museum during the past decade. Focused almost entirely on contemporary and African art, two fields that have grown significantly, the exhibition reveals how and why the AD&A Museum’s collection has developed a unique set of criteria and gained appreciation community-wide. The shows runs from Jan. 11 through April 26, with an opening reception to be held Friday, Jan. 10, at 5:30 p.m.

Also coming to the museum this winter is “Hostile Terrain 94 (HT94),” a participatory political art installation that highlights the thousands of migrants who have perished while crossing the Arizona/Mexico border. The installation consists of a 20-foot-long map of the area and is populated with over 3,200 handwritten toe tags, filled out over the course of the exhibition by the public. These tags contain information about those who have perished while migrating, including name (if known), age, sex, cause of death, condition of the body and location.

Organized by the Undocumented Migration Project, iterations of this installation will be presented in 150 venues worldwide between May and November, with a final installation in Washington, D.C. to be constructed with tags from all 150 locations. The AD&A Museum’s version is uniquely conceived to include a wall graphic and a combination of videos and images from the desert, audio interviews with migrants and an assortment of discarded or lost objects that people used to survive the harsh desert environment.    

HT94 will exhibit on campus from Jan. 11 through Dec. 6, with an opening reception scheduled for Friday, Jan. 10, at 5:30 p.m.


Santa Barbara Dance Theater, the campus’s professional dance company in residence, kicks off the dance season with a concert featuring pieces by artistic director Christopher Pilafian and choreographer and dance artist Stephanie Miracle, as well as the renowned dance influencer and visionary Jennifer Muller, artist director of New York-based company Jennifer Muller/The Works.

Shows are set for Jan. 16–18 at 8 p.m., and Jan. 19 at 2 p.m., in the university’s Hatlen Theater. Pre-sale tickets are $13 for UC Santa Barbara faculty, staff, alumni, students, seniors and children, and $22 for all others. Tickets purchased the day of the show are $15 and $25, respectively.

Also on the winter dance docket is the annual concert of UCSB Dance Company, a student touring company established in 1990. Director Delilah Moseley will feature energetic choreographies by José Limón, Meredith Cabaniss, Christina McCarthy, Ephrat Asherie and Nancy Colahan performed by outstanding senior-year dance majors selected by dance faculty.

The company will perform Feb. 27 and 28 at 8 p.m. in the Ballet Studio on campus. Pre-sale tickets are $12 and $15, while same-day tickets are $14 and $17.

Film and television

The latest installment of the Carsey-Wolf Center’s popular series “Script to Screen” opens the season with a showing of “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood,” the Mister Rogers film starring Tom Hanks, Jan. 11 at 2 p.m. Screenwriter, executive producer and alumnus Noah Harpster will join moderator Matt Ryan, director of the Pollock Theater, for a post-screening discussion. The event is free, but reservations are recommended to guarantee a seat.

Another ongoing series, “CWC Classics,” will present the 1942 film “Now, Voyager,” starring Bette Davis as an heiress on the verge of a nervous breakdown and Claude Rains has her psychiatrist. Directed by Irving Rapper and based on a novel by Olive Higgins Prouty, the movie is central to critical discussion about women’s film, consumer culture and feminist film theory. E. Ann Kaplan of Stony Brook University will join Patrice Petro, director of Carsey-Wolf Center, in a post-screening discussion. The showing begins at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 14.

Late January sees the launch of a new series, “TV at the Pollock,” celebrating the best in classic and contemporary television and honoring the legacy of CWC founding sponsors Marcy Carsey and Dick Wolf, whose work reshaped the modern television landscape. Among the shows to be featured are “Deadwood” (Jan. 28); “You and the Magicians” (Jan. 30); “The Handmaid’s Tale” (Feb. 4); and “The West Wing” and “Veep” (Feb. 20). A special event Feb. 6 will feature Dick Wolf speaking on the past, present and future of writing for television.

Also upcoming at the Pollock Theater are screenings of the documentary features “¡Las Sandinistas!” (Feb. 11), about the women who led combat and forced social reform during Nicaragua’s 1979 Sandinista Revolution and the ensuing U.S.-backed Contra War; “Othello in the Seraglio: The Tragedy of Sümbül the Black Eunuch” (Feb. 27), a cinematic restaging of the opera adapted from Shakespeare’s classic; 1950’s era KABC-TV series “Stars of Jazz” (March 3); and “Anthropocene: The Human Epoch” (March 10), described as a “cinematic meditation on humanity’s massive reengineering of the planet.” Each screening will be followed by a discussion with scholars.


All of the Department of Music’s myriad performance groups will perform in concert over winter quarter, including the Percussion Ensemble (Feb. 5); the Chamber Players (Feb. 26); the Wind and Middle East ensembles (March 5 and 7, respectively); the Chamber Orchestra and Chamber Players (March 9); and the Jazz and Music of India ensembles (March 11 and 12, respectively). In addition, the UCSB Gospel Choir, and will perform March 13.


Described as a “slasher comedy,” the play “Hookman,” an early work by rising contemporary playwright Lauren Yee, is a sometimes mysterious and often hilarious biting story of teen angst and loss. Lecturer Michael Bernard, an accomplished theater educator, actor and artistic director, adapted and directs the Department of Theater and Dance production.

“Hookman” plays in the Performing Arts Theater Feb. 15 at 1 and 7 p.m.; Feb. 18 at 8 p.m.; and Feb. 21 and 22 at 7 p.m., with additional matinees Feb. 22 and 23 at 1 p.m. Pre-sale tickets are $13 and $17. Tickets purchased on the day of the performance are $15 and $19.

The theater and dance department next turns its attention to the French playwright, actor and poet Molière with David Ball’s adaptation of “Tartuffe.” Considered one of the greatest farces ever written, the play is a hilarious, satiric romp, exposing hypocrisy and greed. The production is directed by UC Santa Barbara lecturer Julie Fishell, a former professor of acting and directing at UNC-Chapel Hill and herself an award-winning actor and Juilliard alumna.

Performances will be held in Hatlen Theater Feb. 27 at 8 p.m.; Feb. 28 at 7 p.m.; Feb. 29 at 1 p.m.; March 5 at 8 p.m.; March 6 at 7 p.m.; and March 7 at 1 p.m. Pre-sale tickets are $13 and $17 and tickets purchased on the day of the performance are $15 and $19.

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