The Santa Barbara Museum of Art's mission is to integrate art into the lives of people.
We believe in the power of art to ignite imagination, stimulate thought, and generate experiences that are personally rewarding.
The Santa Barbara Museum of Art opened to the public on June 5, 1941, in a building that was at one time the Santa Barbara Post Office (1914–1932). Chicago architect David Adler simplified the building’s façade and created the Museum’s galleries, most notably Ludington Court which offers a dramatic sense of arrival for museum visitors. The newly renovated Park Wing Entrance and Luria Activities Center open in June 2006.
Over its history the Museum has expanded with the addition of the Stanley R. McCormick Gallery in 1942 and the Sterling and Preston Morton Galleries in 1963. Significant expansions came when the Alice Keck Park Wing opened to the public in 1985 and the Jean and Austin H. Peck, Jr. Wing in 1998. The Ridley-Tree Education Center at McCormick House, a center for art education activities, was established in 1991.
Today, the Museum’s 60,000 square feet include exhibition galleries, a Museum Store, Cafe, a 154-seat auditorium, a library containing 50,000 books and 55,000 slides, a children’s gallery dedicated to participatory interactive programming and an 11,500-square-foot off-site facility, the Ridley-Tree Education Center at McCormick House.
The Museum is overseen by a 30-member Board of Trustees and administered by a staff of over 90 full and part-time employees. SBMA has 4,400 members and more than 325 volunteers serving as Trustees, Docents, members of the Museum’s Women’s Board and leaders of our advisory committees and art interest groups.
Recognizing that art museums play a constructive role in society, we are committed to:
Serve and educate the public;
Champion a breadth of artistic expression;
Enhance quality of life in the community;
Accomplish these though the collection, research, preservation, and exhibition of works of art and the advancement of knowledge about them; and
Succeed as an organization through effective interdependence, collaboration and innovation.