Sacred Art in the Age of Contact: Chumash and Latin American Traditions in Santa Barbara

Event Date: 

Saturday, September 16, 2017 - 12:00am to Friday, December 8, 2017 - 12:00am

Enconchando Virgin Mary, oil and abalone on wood.  Courtesy California State Parks, La Purísima Mission State Historic Park. 

Sacred Art in the Age of Contact  focuses on the relationship between art and religion in both Chumash and Spanish traditions in the early Mission period, highlighting themes of devotion, sacred space, language and materiality. The exhibition investigates the mutually transformative interaction among these traditions, and will draw implications for the ways in which one can understand the cultural dynamics of Santa Barbara County today. Twentieth-century and contemporary Chumash visual production will be on view alongside sacred objects, demonstrating the continuity of the culture’s rich artistic practices. Sacred Art will provide an unprecedented point of entry into the artistic and cultural production of Chumash artists working within and alongside the Mission system, a story that has not yet been told on this scale in Santa Barbara County. 

The exhibition is curated by Margaret Bell and Diva Zumaya, Adjunct Assistant Curators and Doctoral Candidates, History of Art and Architecture, UC Santa Barbara and is organized by the Art, Design & Architecture Museum, UC Santa Barbara and the Santa Barbara Historical Museum. This exhibition brings together, for the first time, a diverse array of approximately one hundred objects, from local collections that include the Mission Santa Inés, Mission La Purísima Concepcíon, the Santa Barbara Mission Museum and Archive-Library, the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History, and the Repository for Archaeological and Ethnographic Collections at UC Santa Barbara.

KCSB News interviews Sacred Art curators!

Sacred Art in LA Times


The exhibition will be presented at two venues, the Art, Design & Architecture Museum, UC Santa Barbara, opening reception September 27, 2017,  5:30 - 7:30pm, and the Santa Barbara Historical Museum, opening reception September 14, 2017, 5:30 - 7pm. 

For all Santa Barbara Historical Museum events related to this exhibition, please visit their website at  Thank you.

Support for Sacred Art in the Age of Contact was provided by Mrs. Lois Erburu, and a grant from California Humanities.


Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA  brings a unique opportunity to Santa Barbara, encouraging cross-cultural dialogue and critical investigation of Latin American art in a local context.  Sacred Art in the Age of Contact and The Schoolhouse and the Bus are official participants of the Getty initiative.  This initiative is a collaboration of numerous arts institutions in California, and explores the historical relationship between Latin America and the greater Los Angeles area through a series of thematically linked exhibitions. 

Exhibitions include:

Valeska Soares: Any Moment Now at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, September 17 – December 31, 2017

Guatemala from 33,000 km: Contemporary Art, 1960 - Present at the Museum of Contemporary Art Santa Barbara, Westmont Ridley-Tree Museum of Art, and the Community Arts Workshop, September 17 – December 17, 2017

The Schoolhouse and the Bus: Mobility, Pedagogy, and Engagement.  Two Projects by Paglo Helguera and Suzanne Lacy / Pilar Riaño-Alcalá

at the Art, Design & Architecture Museum at UC Santa Barbara, September 27 – December 8, 2017

Sacred Art in the Age of Contact: Chumash and Latin American Traditions in Santa Barbara at the Art, Design & Architecture Museum at UC Santa Barbara
September 16 – December 8, 2017  and Santa Barbara Historical Museum September 14 – January 14, 2018

Accompanying the exhibitions, each organization offers a season of educational programming, including lectures, workshops, and a Latin American Film series. The Santa Barbara collaboration culminates on the weekend of October 20 – 22, 2017, with each institution hosting panel discussions, symposia, performances, and lectures.

Pacific Standard Time is an initiative of the Getty with arts institutions across Southern California. The presenting sponsor is Bank of America.