'Make a Difference'
Each week, Gwen Baker stands at the intersection of art and the Santa Barbara community. As a volunteer docent at SBMA, Gwen gives tours of the Museum for children and adults, for those who may have never seen a Monet and for those who have studied art for decades.
"Our tours are really a gateway for more involvement from the community, a gateway for different people with very different backgrounds to become a part of the Museum," she says.
She knew that she wanted to have a role in SBMA from the first time she visited. She and her husband were living in Los Angeles at the time, and she was struck by the ambition of the Museum. "It had a reach and feel that was so much greater than its physical size," Gwen recalls.
So when she and her husband decided to move to Santa Barbara in 2006, they had one important criterion—they had to be within walking distance of the Museum.
Today, as a volunteer, board member, and donor, Gwen Baker is more connected to SBMA than ever. She says there is something personal about the Museum—whether it’s the annual Free Family Day of Dia de los Muertos celebrations, the plays that are staged in the galleries or the familiar faces that she sees coming back again and again—that compels her to invest her time and resources in SBMA.
"In a community the size of Santa Barbara, the individual can really feel that he or she has made a difference in the life of the Museum," says Gwen. "You can see how your donation has made an impact."