Jewels and the Symphony

Cartier and Bryant & Sons underwrote an elegant reception in the jewelry store on State Street for the Santa Barbara Symphony Education Program. Guests were met at the door by Cartier’s greeters. If you are of a certain classic age the greeters would have reminded you of the Johnny who “called for Phillip Morris” in a red bellboy uniform. One of the jewelry counters served as the wine bar and guests mingled in front and behind counters while hors d’oeuvres were passed.

Storeowner and Symphony Board Member Mike Bryant introduced Symphony Executive Director John Robinson, who in turn introduced the guest conductor for the weekend’s symphony, Grant Llewellyn, from Wales.

“Everyone around the world has heard of Santa Barbara and I hoped I would get the opportunity to visit,” Llewellyn said. “This is as class an act as I’ve come across.”

He then joked, “I also survived two thousand kids this morning for a concert! All symphonies should have a children’s education program like yours.”

The musical treat of the evening was guest cellist Daniel Mueller-Schott, who gave us a tiny preview of what he would be playing with the Symphony on the weekend. The jewelry treat was the excitement of holding a ticket for a Cartier watch. The lucky winner was Ramon Araiza, the gentleman who uses enthusiasm and humor to give educational talks prior to each symphony performance so people can appreciate the concert even more. He announced, “I don’t use a watch.” Many of us were willing to take it off his hands or, should I say, wrist.

Hearts Open Wide

The Friendship Center in Montecito has a big heart and every Valentine’s Day the center is filled with more than 100 smaller papier-mâché hearts for an annual luncheon. In January, Saks Fifth Avenue fills one of its State Street storefront windows with the artists’ and celebrities’ heart creations to publicize the upcoming Valentine luncheon.

This year, Saks also threw an artist reception by the heart window display on the main floor, where guests enjoyed the harpist, sipped white wine and munched goodies. Friendship Center Director Heidi Holly was mingling and greeting guests. So was Olga Rogers, the center’s development associate who helped organize the reception. Another busy lady was artist Karen Browdy, who was in charge of finding people to decorate hearts. Browdy teaches art for City College Adult Education and enlisted some of her students for the venture as well. One of the artists, Avie Guttman, showed me the two hearts she had done – one in a medieval theme and the other all frou-frou with pink feathers. She knew I’d choose the feathers!

The Friendship Center offers day care for the elderly in a lovely facility centered on a sunny courtyard. It’s not too late to join the fun on February 3 at noon. There’s jazz, lunch, silent and live auctions, Valentine shopping and a free heart for each guest. Honorary host is Mayor Marty Blum.

Call the Friendship Center at 969-0859 for reservations.

Night at the Museum

Did you know that UCSB has an art museum that is free and open to the public? Apparently many of the students don’t know either as we asked directions on campus in vain. We laughed when we found the museum near Storke Tower and there was a sign in front asking the students the same question.

Kathryn Kanjo, the director of the University Art Museum, told us, “This particular evening is the opening reception for two shows: Sounds of the Silk Road and Crafting a Modern World (the architecture and design of Antonin and Noemi Raymond).”

As Don and I strolled about the exhibits, I pointed, “There’s a man over there with a basket on his head!” The man was also playing a vertical flute. When I talked to him, he took the basket off his head and said, “My name is Bob Sedivy from Carpinteria.” He told us the bamboo flute is called the Shakuhachi and was brought to Japan from China more than 1,200 years ago. It is, as we came to learn, the only musical instrument associated with Zen Buddhism. Monks from the Fuke Sect wandered to Japan from 1600 to 1868. They played the flute as a form of meditation and wore large woven baskets over their heads to symbolize humility and anonymity.

Chancellor Henry Yang returned from a trip in time to say a few words. We talked to Dr. Gene Lucas, the executive vice chancellor, and Sheila McGinity, a UCSB trustee. Casa del Herrero docent Larry Disharoon and wife Pat were there along with Montecitan Gene Sinser and two exchange students from Norway and Moldova who are living at his home.

The exhibition continues through April 8, 2007. Call 893-2951 for information or visit www.uam.ucsb.edu for all the lectures, symposiums and Curators’ Tour.

When East Meets West

There are always surprises in Santa Barbara. The latest is the East West Art Gallery at 714 Bond Avenue. I had never been on the street, but it’s only a block from Santa Barbara Junior High School. This evening the gallery’s two-story building amid a neighborhood of homes was all lit up and had a live band, “London Underground,” playing. Instead of cars the small parking lot was filled with cocktail tables, a bar, a banquet of heavy hors d’oeuvres and a crowd of people.

Gallery owner Henry Bristol (whose father Horace was a famous Time and Life photographer and owned a photo agency called East-West) said, “I went to UCSB with John Patrick Salisbury,” referring to the show’s featured artist along with sculptor Darcy Badiali. They were all in attendance, as was Salisbury’s mom Maridel, dad John and sister Jennifer Salisbury Rucks, who provided the event’s wine from their own winery, the Salisbury Vineyards at Avila Beach.

You can check out the gallery by visiting www.eastwest-gallery.com or by calling 963-4041.