La Casa de Maria’s Rebuilding Appears to Be Stalled

••• Former Arts Fund executive director Marcello Ricci, who now has a gallery in New York City called My Pet Ram, is back in town with a show at the old site of the Surfing Museum in the Funk Zone (16 Helena Avenue). Double Up is “a group exhibition showcasing painting, sculpture and photography which amalgamates the stringent retentiveness of abstract geometric art with the sinusoidal exaltations of waves and surfing.” The “first wave” is up now through July 31, and the “second wave” runs August 5-28. Below: “Frankl Locher” by Dan Levenson.

••• A. emailed about the Vons in Montecito: “Since I feel the same way you do about the look of the store, I inquired at the store and I was told they are holding off from renovating [into a Pavilions] because of a standoff with the owner/landlord of Montecito Country Mart, who is asking for major rent increases.” The building actually has a different owner than the Montecito Country Mart, but that doesn’t mean a rent standoff isn’t highly likely. Anyone know more?

••• J. asked me to look into the rebuilding efforts at La Casa de Maria, much of which was destroyed in the debris flow. “If all goes as planned,” says the website, “we hope to start rebuilding sometime in 2022 and open in mid to late 2024.” Websites are often out of date, of course. A video embedded there says to contact Casa de Maria director Cindy Faith Swain with any questions, but an automated reply said she has left the organization; instead, I was told to contact Jean Holsten, interim director of administration at the Immaculate Heart Community, who replied, “I am sorry due to pending litigation I cannot talk about any of it until September and the earliest.” The website does include a master plan for the rebuilding.

••• Here’s Broadway Santa Barbara‘s 2022-2023 lineup.

••• A couple of readers wrote in asking about the “bungalows” under construction at Montecito Union School—including what the structures are for and when the work will end. I went over for a look, and they are indeed a stark contrast to the otherwise handsome school, but I wasn’t able to get any traction with the school administration. I suspect someone out there can enlighten us…. Please email [email protected] or text 917-209-6473; anonymity is guaranteed. UPDATE: “Those are portable classrooms on the school’s terraces,” says a reader. “They will be used this year while major infrastructure work is being done on the campus’s older buildings (plumbing and electrical are something like 70 years old in some of the buildings). They won’t be there forever, but the construction on the main buildings is expected to go on for quite a while, I believe.” And from another reader: “From Superintendent Anthony Ranii’s end of school year message in June to all parents: ‘This summer will be a busy one for us. We have already begun a large-scale renovation of our main building (Building D) which will require temporary portable buildings being placed on the lower terraces for our fourth graders, one of our Spanish rooms, our two music rooms, and moving around many of our other rooms and services. This work will continue through the 2022-2023 school year and should conclude by the summer of 2023, when we begin renovating our Kindergarten and First Grade Classrooms (Building E) during the 2023-2024 school year.’ And there is also more documentation about the project on the school’s website.”


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