Ahh, sea glass — the ocean’s way of proving that one man’s trash is truly another’s treasure. The 4th annual Santa Barbara Sea Glass & Ocean Arts Festival, an event that honors and showcases upcycling at its finest, returns to the central coast this September to highlight artists, jewelers, and sea glass enthusiasts both near and far. The festival will be held September 8-9, 2018 from 10am-5pm at the Earl Warren Showgrounds, 3400 Calle Real, Santa Barbara, CA.
Local sea glass-loving merchants, artists, and community members joined forces to organize the first-ever Carpinteria Sea Glass Festival back in August 2015 as a way of celebrating both the tiny coastal community and all things sea glass. With 4,000 guests in attendance its first year, the festival proved to be a rousing success and moved up the road to Santa Barbara for its second year, where it’s been held ever since! As the only festival of its kind in Southern California, and one of three on the west coast alone, we’re lucky that our Santa Barbara community is home to such a unique event.
More Than Just a Festival
Rooted in community, the festival’s values ring true in the collaboration with local artists, the venue location, a commitment to going green, and through peer partnerships with other nonprofit organizations.
Since the inception of the Santa Barbara Sea Glass & Ocean Arts Festival, organizers have annually selected a local nonprofit as their Giving Back recipient in an effort to support fellow nonprofits doing good in our community. “Giving back to the community is of the utmost importance,” said Louise Sciutto, Festival Director. “Due to a number of recent local tragedies, our commitment to community is particularly important at this year’s event.”
The 2018 Giving Back recipient is the Santa Barbara Wildlife Care Network (SBWCN), a local nonprofit that rescues, rehabilitates, and returns injured and orphaned animals back to their native homes in both Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties every year. During the recent Holiday Fire on July 6, SBWCN nearly lost their facility headquartered in Goleta. Until repairs are completed, the SBWCN is rehabilitating 180 injured animals at the Santa Barbara Humane Society.
“We chose the Wildlife Care Network this year specifically because of their work in response to the Thomas Fire and associated Montecito debris flow at the start of the new year,” said Karen Clark, Festival Art Director. “We saw the critical help they offered land and sea animals that were directly impacted by these events, and it felt important to all of us.”
It was after the SBWCN had been selected as this year’s Giving Back recipient that the Holiday Fire hit. Inspired to help when it was needed most, the Santa Barbara Sea Glass & Ocean Arts Festival committee donated $1,000.00 to the Santa Barbara Wildlife Care Network to assist them with Holiday Fire recovery efforts. Additional fundraising efforts to support SBWCN are planned as part of festival activities, including a silent auction featuring this year’s festival artwork by local artist Pedro de la Cruz — a local artist who created the ‘Montecito Strong’ emblem after recent natural disasters struck.
The festival’s commitment to community extends well beyond the weekend of festivities, permeating the very fabric of our tightly-knit beach town. Nonprofits helping nonprofits — something we can certainly stand behind.
What to Expect
Whether you’re an artist or a shopper, a collector or an admirer of sea glass, local or just visiting; there’s a little bit of something for everyone at the Santa Barbara Sea Glass & Ocean Arts Festival.
- Handmade sea glass jewelry by Marie hélène Jouve from French Polynesia
- Vibrant, ocean-inspired goodies from festival favorite and local Christine May Brand
- Inspiring talk from featured artist Elizabeth Roberts titled “Make Art Not Trash: An Artist’s Call to Action”
- Enlightening presentation by award-winning author and sea glass expert Dr. Deacon Ritterbrush, aka Dr. Beachcomb, in her first presentation to California audiences
- Sea glass treasure contest judged by sea glass expert Mary T. McCarthy
- Plant-based bites from the Santa Barbara Unified School District Mobile Café and shaved iced from Kona Ice
- Live music from Salt Martians, Harbor Ramblers, and Pan-A-Cea
Saturday, September 8
- 11:00 am – 12:00pm (Community Room) Dr. Deacon Ritterbush, aka “Dr. Beachcomb” Lecture: Everything You Want to Know about Sea Glass
- 12:30 pm – 1:30 pm (Community Room) Mary T. McCarthy Lecture: The Healing Powers of Beachcombing
- 2:00 – 3:00 pm (Community Room) Dr. Deacon Ritterbush & Gail Benjamin Lecture: “Our Plastic Oceans: Where Plastic Debris Comes From and What Successful Campaigns to Combat it Look Like
- 3:30 pm – 4:30 pm (Community Room) Elizabeth Roberts Lecture: Make Art Not Trash: An Artists Call to Action
Sunday, September 9
- 10:00 am Workshop: Basic Wire Wrapping-Make Your Own Sea Glass or Beach Stone Pendant (Reserve your spot!)
- 10:00 am – 2:30 pm Sea Glass Treasure Contest
- 10:30 am – 11:30 am (Community Room) Mary T. McCarthy Lecture: Ways to Identify Your Sea Glass
- 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm (Community Room) Elizabeth Roberts Lecture: Make Art Not Trash: An Artists Call to Action
- 1:00 pm Workshop: Basic Wire Wrapping-Make Your Own Sea Glass or Beach Stone Pendant (Reserve your spot!)
- 1:30 pm – 2:30 pm Greg Gorga: 13,000 Years of Local Maritime History told with Postcards Old Photographs
- 3:00 pm Workshop: Basic Wire Wrapping-Make Your Own Sea Glass or Beach Stone Pendant (Reserve your spot!)
Tickets to the festival are available for purchase at the door or online here. Parking at the venue is a $5 charge, cash only. We hope you’ll join us!