Thoroughly Contemporary: Santa Barbara’s CAF grows up

Gallery_Interior_bigger“We are not solely regionally focused,” says Miki Garcia, executive director of Santa Barbara Contemporary Arts Forum, which will change its name to Museum of Contemporary Art Santa Barbara next week. “The artists that we show are local, national and international, so the projects that we’re doing here are on par with what the MOCA and the Hammer are doing [in Los Angeles]. It’s smaller in scale because of the footprint, but the kind of work that we’re doing in terms of contributing to the field is just as rigorous. We are expansive in our mission to present the most compelling contemporary art being made today.”

The newly named Museum of Contemporary Art Santa Barbara has been an alternative arts space since 1976. Admission is free. According to Garcia, who has been in charge of daily operations at the nonprofit institution since 2005, MCA Santa Barbara has always been concerned with and engaged in process, and supporting—not canonizing—artists. Without a permanent collection, the exhibitions come and go about every three months.


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“Our job is not to say this is the best art of all time,” Garcia says. “We are not an encyclopedic museum whose mission has a retrospective, historical position. Ours is: This is what’s happening now. That’s the more interesting story for us.”

Although museum is now part of its title, MCA Santa Barbara has no immediate plans to acquire work for a permanent collection. …

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