Local Artists Show Off Work at Community Arts Workshop ‘Ready to Hang’ Event | Arts & Entertainment

Santa Barbara community members gathered Saturday to celebrate and support local artists of all levels of experience.

The Community Arts Workshop “Ready to Hang” show, which is one of the largest art exhibitions in the Santa Barbara-Ventura County area, exhibited more than 400 works produced with media ranging from fine watercolors to found collage/assemblage works.

Show Organizer Michael Evan Long said the only Prerequisite for Submission is that the work be within 12×12-inch dimensions. Artists can submit up to two pieces per year and patrons can purchase artworks on site.

This one-day show differed from years past in the level of exposure granted to more artists, since each artist was allowed to submit two works, rather than four. Long explained that this decision allowed more individual artists to come forward in the long run.

“I reached out to a very wide group of people beyond the abstract art collaborative, but also reached out to tattoo artists, disabled artists, and continuation schools,” said Long. “It gives the Beginners some ‘street cred’ to spur them on. They realize that once they sell their piece, they’re a professional artist at that point.”

Casey Caldwell, managing director for the Community Arts Workshop, explained that the show creates community between artists and promotes patronage for new buyers.

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Artwork on display during Saturday’s event. (Lauren Luna / Noozhawk photo)

“I’m often told by artists that this is their first time coming in, or that they haven’t done work in years and now they’re doing it again,” Caldwell said.

“And because of the price range of this show, for many people it’s also their first purchase of art.”

Both Caldwell and Long have produced their own works in the past, Caldwell specializing in Poetry and Long specializing in assemblage. As an assemblage artist, Long broadened the exhibit to also include 3-Dimensional works within the 12×12 space.

Tom Ridenour, a Retired Builder and teacher from Santa Barbara Middle School, won first place recognition for his Submission this year.

His winning piece, “Leaning to the Right,” reflects his view on growing biases and tensions in the Federal Supreme Court. He enjoys integrating found materials with wood and metal.

Tom Ridenour's art piece, 'Leaning to the Right,' won first place at Saturday's event.
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Tom Ridenour’s art piece, ‘Leaning to the Right,’ won first place at Saturday’s event. (Lauren Luna / Noozhawk photo)

“My daughter posted (a photo of) the Supreme Court Building with the columns photoshopped falling down, and the title was, ‘Tear it Down and Rebuild It,'” explained Ridenour, attributing his inspiration to that image as well as political cartoons circulating at the time. “I had what I used to make the columns in a scrap pile.”

While works like Ridenour’s are anchored by social commentary, other works demonstrate the artist’s connection to the environment.

Kelly Hildner, an artist who has been part of Ready to Hang for the past two years, sees art as a way to work with nature.

As a former biologist, she finds connection with living things by depicting them with watercolor paints. Local nature is also one of her muses. Her work can also be found in five different galleries in the community, and she runs an Etsy shop for her work, as well.

“After coming last year, I just loved the show so much — I was dead set on doing it again this year,” said Hildner. “It’s such a vibrant show with so much variety of artwork.”

Hildner submitted two pieces this year, one being a local landscape and the other being a Monarch butterfly perched on a yellow blossom.

The event also featured local vendors for refreshments between exhibits, including M. Special, Draughtsmen Aleworks, and Romanti-Ezer food truck.

The Community Arts Workshop is at 631 Garden St. The ‘Ready to Hang’ show was a one-day event and the SBCAW’s event, workshop and class schedule can be found on the website here.

— Lauren Luna is a Noozhawk contributing writer. Contact her at [email protected]

Santa Barbara Community Arts Workshop's 'Ready to Hang' artist exhibit and sale
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People browse the Santa Barbara Community Arts Workshop’s ‘Ready to Hang’ artist exhibit and sale on Saturday. (Santa Barbara Community Arts Workshop photo)


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