Press Releases


Luz Reyes-Martin, Director of Communications
(805) 730-4107

Jennifer LeMay
Director of Marketing and Communications, SBCC Foundation

(805) 730-4409,


California Arts Council Awards Two Grants to SBCC
Alberto Lule - Atkinson Gallery
Alberto Lule, a recent SBCC graduate who discovered art while he was
incarcerated, discusses his artwork with members of the Santa Barbara
Newcomers Club at the Atkinson Gallery. (SBCC Foundation photo)

On June 12, the California Arts Council announced its plans to award Santa Barbara City College (SBCC) Foundation two grants: $17,325 for its Reentry Through the Arts program and $10,648 for its Veterans in the Arts program. With these awards, the Atkinson Gallery at SBCC will provide hands-on activities designed to develop visual literacy skills and self-expression in both visual and written form to two underserved campus cohorts: formerly incarcerated students and veteran students. Through the yearlong program, each group will work with gallery director Sarah Cunningham, artist Nathan Hayden, and poet Emma Trelles to cultivate a stronger sense of community through shared artistic experiences and personal storytelling, thereby increasing retention and academic success.


Re-Entry Through the Arts: The Atkinson Gallery and the Transitions Program

Based on his own experience discovering art while incarcerated, 2018 SBCC graduate Alberto Lule said, “A program in the arts can help formerly incarcerated students find a voice that they may have forgotten how to use and maybe never learned to use at all, which is the creative voice in us all, wanting to come out and share our wisdom with the universe.” Lule was the student speaker at the 2018 SBCC commencement ceremony. The SBCC Foundation is one of 15 grantees chosen for the Reentry Through the Arts program. At SBCC, the Atkinson Gallery will collaborate with Transitions, a campus program that supports formerly incarcerated students. Through the program, students build a sense of community with the goal of increasing college success by providing creative and meaningful experiences for self-expression that will help students’ re-integration into their communities and ultimately, reduce recidivism. The Reentry Through the Arts program is rooted in the California Arts Council’s belief that the arts are a powerful vehicle for positive change in people, communities and society. Grants support high-quality arts programs for formerly incarcerated men and women. “Projects like the one developed by the Atkinson Gallery and the Transitions Program tie together emotional competence through the arts and community-based support services to equip formerly incarcerated individuals with the tools needed to re-establish their lives,” said Nashormeh Lindo, California Arts Council Chair.


Veterans in the Arts: The Atkinson Gallery and the Veterans Support & Resource Center

Current SBCC art student and veteran Sami Ibrahim said, “Watching the other art students create something out of nothing to make the world better was a revelation for me.” He continued, “Viewing and making art will re-engage veteran students in life and make them realize that they are not forgotten.” SBCC Foundation is one of 34 grantees chosen for the Veterans in the Arts program. Together, the Atkinson Gallery and the SBCC Veterans Support & Resource Center will cultivate a sense of belonging for the veteran student cohort via art and writing activities that provide valuable opportunities for self-expression. The Veterans in the Arts program is rooted in the California Arts Council’s desire to address the needs and improve the lives of California's veterans through the arts. The program seeks to increase equity, access, and opportunities for veterans to participate in quality arts programming that is sensitive and responsive to their unique experiences. Nashormeh Lindo, California Arts Council Chair, said, “The duty is ours to respond to the needs of our veterans and ensure they are not lost. The work of the SBCC Atkinson Gallery and the Veteran Support & Resource Center honors its veteran community by providing a venue for creative expression, camaraderie, and compassion.”

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