Reservations required but admission is free for time being

October 2, 2020
| 9:00 a.m.

The Santa Barbara Museum of ArtClick to view larger

The Santa Barbara Museum of Art (Courtesy photo)

The Santa Barbara Museum of Art (SBMA) is welcoming visitors back into the galleries with a phased reopening in accordance with California and Santa Barbara County COVID-19 protocols. The museum is offering exclusive access for members Oct. 1-11 and a full reopening to the public on Oct. 14.

To ensure social distancing in the galleries, SBMA is asking all visitors to make reservations through the online ticketing system at While reservations will be required, admission will be free for the foreseeable future. 

New hours at SBMA are 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday. For seniors and at-risk members of the community, there will be early morning admission hours, 9-11 a.m. with reservations also required through the ticketing system.

To ensure the safety of museum staff, members and the general public, SBMA has instituted new visitor procedures including limiting the number of individuals in the museum at one time; frequent cleaning of the facilities; and all visitors over the age of two will be required to wear masks.

To learn more about the museum’s safety measures, designed to ensure the safety of all visitors by complying with local and federal regulations relating to COVID-19, visit the visitor procedure guidelines page,

As visitors return to the galleries, they will be greeted with the following exhibitions/installations:

» In the Meanwhile … Recent Acquisitions of Contemporary Art

The exhibition highlights recent acquisitions of works on paper to SBMA’s permanent collection of contemporary art.

Featuring 20 artworks, the majority of the objects are on view at SBMA for the first time. They include painted works on paper by emerging artists acquired through the recently established Basil Alkazzi Acquisition Fund. Tying these artworks together is a sense of individuality, innovative use of materials, and playful ambiguity between traditional artistic genres. 

» Important Works on Paper from the Permanent Collection

SBMA soon will share a newly constructed Works on Paper Study Center with visitors. In the meantime, an inaugural exhibition of Important Works on Paper from the Permanent Collection showcases drawings, photographs, and prints from all four museum departments, and represents the breadth and variety of the permanent collection, both chronologically and geographically. 

Davidson and Colefax Galleries will be devoted to rotations of works on paper, allowing for the display of rarely shown artworks and new discoveries. This display sheds new light on artworks that are usually kept out of view, precisely because they are so sensitive to light.  

» Highlights of the Permanent Collection

This ongoing installation highlights some of the most celebrated works of art from SBMA’s permanent collection, as well as several of the key gifts and acquisitions in the areas of modern and contemporary art, photography, and the arts of Asia. 

» Small-Format American Paintings from the Permanent Collection

The small-format paintings are a reminder of the breadth of the museum’s holdings of American art from the 18th to the mid-20th century. Oil and brush conjure the illusion of near and far from the close perspective of still life, to the life-size proportions of bust portraiture, to sublime expanses of land and sky.

All are captured within the confines of a canvas no more than 15 inches in diameter.