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The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

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The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

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“Small Images” art exhibition celebrates the little joys in life

Anneli Larson
The “Small Images” exhibition, opens once again from March 8 to April 6, 2024 in the Atkinson Gallery at City College in Santa Barbara Calif. Complete with 64 smaller sculptures and paintings, the gallery was curated for 43 different community artists.

The Atkinson Gallery has once again opened its doors to the City College community with its “Small Images 2024” exhibition. Small sculptures and images from artists around the community were put together and presented to the public with a grand opening from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. on March 8 in the Atkinson Gallery in City College. 

Beginning in 1985, the “Small Images” exhibition has presented a wide range of small images and sculptures each spring semester that are required to be just 18 inches or smaller. With each artist having a maximum of three works to enter, there is a $30 entrance fee for the first piece of art, any other pieces after are an additional $15. For student artists, it is $15 for the first piece and $7.50 for the extras.

For this exhibition, artists from Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, and Ventura can submit their work before jurors decide which art is displayed in the exhibition, as well as which top-four artists win cash prizes, with first place winning up to $1,000. 

“We include about 30% of the applicants who get in,” Director John Connelly said. “This year, we had 64 works by 43 artists.”

The jurors that pick the winners do not inform the artists whether or not they win. 

“It’s meant to be a sort of surprise for the artists,” Connelly said. 

First place winner of this year’s exhibition was artist Carolina Danu, who crafted three cactus sculptures ranging in size, and named the winning piece “Reaching.”

Carolina Danu’s “Reaching,” first place winning sculpture in the “Small Images” exhibition, winning the $1,000 prize. According to Danu, the piece is part of a larger body of work inspired by desert plants and Southern California plant life. (Anneli Larson)

“This is not my first award in an exhibition, however I feel like it might be the first time I have gotten first place to my recollection, which makes this show even more special to me,” Danu said. “Winning first place is very exciting and reaffirming as an artist. I am very happy that my slightly peculiar sculptures brought some joy and interest to the attendees and am very enthusiastic to have won.” 

Danu originally heard about the gallery last year from a former professor and participated in the 2023 exhibition, hoping to partake in the event once again this year.  

Over the years, Danu has curated many works of art and takes advantage of the “Small Images” exhibition to show off some of her smaller pieces. 

“The cactus-inspired sculptures presented this year are a part of a body of work that explores the idea of making the familiar into more alien by collaging together different aspects of real-life cactus and desert plants into imagined forms that have the familiarity of Southern California plant life,” Danu said.

Inspired by her immigrant experience as a kid and the childlike wonder that came with moving to America, she now uses her art to express a sense of home and comfort to her audience.  

The gallery is located on City College’s East Campus in the Humanities Building Room 202. Gallery hours are Monday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Fridays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. All gallery exhibitions and lectures are free and open to the public.

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