The Campaign


Imagine three new galleries for the permanent collection and 25 percent more space to showcase some of the world’s most engaging artistic achievements. Envision more public spaces for school groups and community groups and a goal of reaching every child in the Santa Barbara region through the Museum. Think about a seamless 21st-century museum experience where visitors can move easily from one gallery to the next and get a sense of the global diversity of art spanning from ancient China to contemporary California.

These are the overarching goals of the Santa Barbara Museum of Art’s $50 million capital campaign. Since the Museum’s founding in 1941, SBMA has played a vital role in the cultural and community life of Santa Barbara. The Museum’s founders were visionary individuals, and the campaign seeks to continue to extend the reach of the institution to, at once, make essential renovations and upgrades while expanding the scope of SBMA’s exhibitions, programs, and place as a public forum for the arts in Santa Barbara.

SBMA's Reach:
  • 25,000 students
  • 1,100 teachers
  • 75 public schools
  • 16,000 adults
  • Over 100,000 yearly visitors

Preserve and Protect

For John Walsh, the director emeritus of the J. Paul Getty Museum, the transformation of SBMA represents an ideal combination of preserving the historical character of the building and creating a state-of-the-art facility. "The plan is a remarkably smart use of space that will do justice to the very fine works in the collection," Walsh says. "What’s more, it will provide a coherent experience for visitors as they move from gallery to gallery."

SBMA’s Transformation:
  • 25 percent more gallery space
  • Preservation of 28,000 precious works of art through seismic upgrades

The need is great, and it is urgent. Just as we must preserve and protect the art that has been entrusted to us, we are stewards of the Museum and must make needed repairs and renovations to optimize the visitor experience and better serve the community. The comprehensive renovation plan minimizes the impact on museum programming during the course of construction, allowing us to continue to present the collection and develop new exhibitions.

Renovating, enhancing, and expanding the Museum is expected to take approximately six years. Work will take place in multiple phases to allow for continual occupancy of the Museum and its galleries throughout construction.

Download the Case Statement
Download the Case Statement

We have created a publication to articulate the story and priorities of the campaign.


Imagine More

View a video featuring the people and programs that make the Museum such an important part of life in Santa Barbara.


Imagine More Video

"Art can be a gateway—to distant periods and cultures, from 17th-century Spain or to modern China. I believe in the power of art to educate and inspire and offer people a richer life."

Robert and Mercedes Eichholz
Director and CEO
Larry J. Feinberg