Recent Press

When clay meets its muse : Form and Function offers argument for softening border control between ceramic, fine art

While it doesnt happen often enough yet to be an unofficial movement, the often-stereotyped world of ceramic art and high art gallery culture have been meeting often enough in Santa Barbara in recent years to validate the idea that its getting to be a habit. Border control between those cultural factions is softening, and ceramic art is having at least some forum in fine art, as evidenced by last years Fresh Clay show at Santa Barbara City College. More to the point, the Ceramics: Form and Function show, now at Westmont Colleges Reynolds Gallery, is the third such invitational group show here over the past few years. The show is culled from around the nation and beyond by someone who understands the importance and potential of the medium, gifted Westmont graduate Chris Rupp. more

Call for good ideas : CAFs annual Call for Entries is chance to check on a pack of talented young artists

Comedy is not necessarily pretty. Ditto, contemporary art. The message rings out, in part, in the annual Call for Entries exhibition at Contemporary Arts Forum, where the grim and gritty mix it up with dry humor and abstract strategists. Taken as a whole, its a happy and healthfully varied lot. Reasonably dubbed Anthology, the exhibition fulfills our expectations of this yearly forum and offers some insight into the range of artistic talent in the area. These young artists have various connections to area institutions UCSB, Santa Barbara City College, Westmont and Brooks Institute and approach their art with conceptual underpinnings, while avoiding easy, commercially viable paths. Theyre headed towards fine art, with sometimes coarse means and ends. more

Burned Couple Upgraded to Serious Condition

Recovery continues to be taken a day at a time, “sometimes a minute at a time,” according to Blanca Flor Benedict, the mother of Carla Hoffman, who, along with her husband, Lance, experienced the gravest of injuries related to the Tea Fire three weeks ago. The two received second- and third-degree burns as they tried to leave their home. The husband and wife’s status has been upgraded from critical to serious and both are scheduled for skin graft surgery later this week. Westmont College — a community that has also suffered greatly as a result of the fire — has also responded. Hundreds of students, faculty, staff, and neighbors gathered Monday for an emotional chapel service of “Hope and Renewal.” more

Four Reasons to Harness the Healing Power of Poetry

For those who love the written word, poems are great life companions. We choose poetry as a means of expressing the depth of feeling in profound moments and to communicate our joys. In times of loss and sorrow, poetry can remind us of our shared humanity, and even help to make pain more bearable.

For poet and Westmont College English professor Paul Willis, as for many other Santa Barbarans, the Tea Fire has been a devastating episode, as well as a reminder of what’s most important in life. Along with his family home, Willis lost his extensive collection of poetry by area and contemporary writers. This Saturday evening, December 6, friends and colleagues will gather for a poetry reading and benefit for Willis and other Westmont faculty who lost their houses and belongings to the fire. The reading will take place at SBCC’s Fé Bland Auditorium at 8 p.m. Here are a few reasons to attend and take part in the healing power of poetry and people. more

"Glory of Christmas" to benefit Santa Barbara wildfire reflief

In response to last month’s devastating wildfires in Santa Barbara County, the Crystal Cathedral announced that a portion of the proceeds from the Sunday, December 7th and December 14th performances will be directed towards the reconstruction efforts of Westmont College. Tickets will be discounted to $20 each, with 50% of the performance proceeds earmarked for Westmont College. Ticket buyers must mention “Westmont College Relief” either by phone or in-person at the Crystal Cathedral box office to receive the special price. more

Westmont’s Pickle Tree, Spared in Fire, the Focus of Holiday Lighting

Westmont College’s famous 150-foot redwood known as the Pickle Tree survived the Tea Fire and will be the focus of attention at the seventh annual Christmas Tree Lighting on Kerrwood Lawn at 5 p.m. Wednesday. The event is free and open to the public. Warm apple cider, cookies and pickles will be available. Santa will be inside Kerrwood Hall posing for pictures with children who bring a canned good to donate to The Unity Shoppe, a local volunteer program that helps the needy in Santa Barbara. more


Westmont College will hold its annual Christmas Tree Lighting on Kerry Lawn tonight at 5 p.m. The event is free and open to the public. The campus’ famous 150-foot redwood affectionately known as the Pickle Tree survived the Tea Fire and will be the focus of attention at the event. more

Benefit set for professor who lost literature in fire

To the list of things lost in the Tea fire, add the library of contemporary poetry books and other volumes belonging to Paul Willis, an English professor at Westmont College. Willis’ home was one of 14 faculty residences destroyed last month when fire swept through the Montecito campus and neighboring areas, ultimately claiming 210 homes and causing millions of dollars in damage. more

Westmont keeps improbable postseason run alive : Warriors make Sargent's early goal stand up as they advance to national quarterfinals

It apparently doesn’t matter what kind of adversity gets thrown their way because the Warriors keep on winning. Sophomore forward Dan Sargent scored the only goal of the game in the eighth minute and goalkeeper Justin Etherton notched his eighth shutout of the season to send Westmont College to a 1-0 victory over Baker in the second round of the NAIA men’s soccer championship tournament Tuesday afternoon at Fresno Pacific University. more

Westmont College holds Service of Hope and Renewal as students return to class

Nearly 3 weeks after the Tea Fire claimed campus buildings and faculty homes, students returned to class Monday, after a Service of Hope and Renewal. video