Garden Street recently became home to a dynamic new enterprise intended to support and nurture collaborative creativity and expression. The Santa Barbra Center for Art, Science and Technology (SBCAST) opened early in 2016 with inspiration from other live-work collaboratives around the world. “SBCAST is fundamentally about communication and a lot of people moving through who can communicate and work with each other in an environment that’s conducive to that,” says founder Alan Macy, a medical engineer and sculptor. He expects groups of residents to arrive at about the same time and then spend 18 months collaborating on projects before a new group comes in.
In late summer, residents included Maiza Hixson, chief curator at the Santa Barbara Arts Commission; a group involved in graphics, website and video production; an LED artist; a movement artist; and local artist Nancy Gifford, who is using a studio to introduce artists she likes in the local community. Macy sees art, science and technology as complementary elements in a shared whole. Science pushes the boundaries of knowledge, generating new ideas for expression. Art addresses the subjective elements of perception and presentation of ideas. And technology - whether a computer, a lathe or a painter’s tools - supports expression. Immediately recognizable by the rust-colored steel walls facing Garden Street, SBCAST is organized around focused exhibitions created and coordinated by curator-in-residence Lynn M. Holly. A recent First Thursday show featured wood dresses, the result of a collaboration between a fashion designer and a wood-marquetry expert. SBCAST includes nine live-work studio spaces, two communal exhibit spaces, and a shared industrial workspace. Rooftop solar arrays generate 100-percent of SBCAST’s electricity in the LEED-certified development. A community farm provides produce for residents, while access to downtown, a lumber yard, Art from Scrap, the farmer’s market and bus lines supports sustainability goals. “Some environments are optimal for simulating and supporting the creative process,” Macy explains. “SBCAST is a rich environment that allows people to flower, and a social experiment that supports conscious awareness.”