Art, Design & Architecture Museum reopens at UCSB

A pair of visitors converse inside at the Art, Design & Architecture Museum on the UCSB campus on Saturday.

The Art, Design & Architecture Museum at UCSB reopened on Saturday for the first time since March 2020, welcoming back students and members of the public to enjoy its new exhibitions. 

The museum initially shut down last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic and officially made its grand return over the weekend. Visitors who have not been able to enter the museum for 19 months are now welcome to return and enjoy the museum’s three new exhibitions. 

Upon entering the museum, visitors are immersed in one of the new exhibitions titled “Irresistible Delights: Recent Gifts to the Art Collection.” This collection features an array of paintings, photography, wood-carved statues and colorful textiles, all of which were donated to the museum by friends, patrons, alumni and faculty over the last decade. 

Inside the museum’s main gallery, visitors will notice a variety of African art pieces, including carved statues and textiles. The gallery also displays a collection of pottery work by Pablo Picasso, which was donated to the museum’s permanent collection. 

The main gallery is also home to a collection of paintings and photographs that were donated by UCSB graduates, current and former professors and friends of the museum. 

“What you see (in this exhibition) is a little bit of everything,” Silvia Perea, the acting director of the museum, told the News-Press on Saturday. “There are paintings, sculptures, ceramics and wood carvings so that students and visitors can see and enjoy the richness of art in all its expressions,” she added. 

In addition to the exhibition in the main gallery, the museum is also displaying two special exhibits in its side galleries between now and May 2022. 

A wood carved statue from Nigeria is displayed at the museum.

The first, titled “Sound of a Thousand Years,” features instruments, costumes and photographs that depict Gagaku, the classical music and dance of the Imperial Court of Japan. The gallery features an array of instruments in a traditional Gagaku orchestra, and visitors can hear the orchestra’s Asian-inspired melodies playing in the background. 

The second special exhibition, titled “From Riggs to Neutra and Niemeyer: Tremaine Houses,” features architectural sketches and designs of four houses built in Santa Barbara during the 20th century. The four walls of the gallery each feature a different architect who designed homes in Santa Barbara. The four architects are Lutah Maria Riggs, Richard Neutra, Oscar Niemeyer and Paul L. Soderberg. 

According to Ms. Perea, two of the homes are still standing in Montecito, one of the homes was destroyed in a fire and the other was never built. 

After facing a 19-month closure, Ms. Perea said the reopening is a “very meaningful moment” for the museum. She said that while the museum stayed connected to the community during the pandemic through Zoom events, she’s glad to be back in person again. 

The Art, Design & Architecture Museum on the UCSB campus is seen near Storke Tower on Saturday.

“We have always operated kind of in a very personal way with our openings and with our tours and with our lectures and programming,” Ms. Perea said. “And so the museum was used to having a kind of a very one-to-one type of relationship with our patrons, and that has changed radically with COVID.” 

“So we’re excited about reconnecting with people in a physical way and also relaunching our in-person programming here at the museum,” she added. 

Admission to the museum is always free, and its hours are noon to 5 p.m. Wednesdays through Sundays. Masks are required inside the gallery, and visitors from outside UCSB must fill out an On-Demand Screening Survey on the day of their visit and receive approval before arriving on campus. 

Visitors affiliated with UCSB, including faculty, staff and students, will need to complete a COVID-19 Screening Survey and receive subsequent approval before entering the museum.

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