Saturday, January 10, 2015

Santa Barbara's Funk Zone

Art in Public Places

I drove over to this neighborhood on the other side of the tracks (literally) this week to check out Mermaid's Chest.  It's a hidden gem, a hole-in-the-wall shop loaded with fun old stuff.  I found a vintage tablecloth and six linen napkins and oh . . . a silver pin of a locust!  The man behind the counter wrapped it up in green tissue paper "because these little guys like green," he said.

  But as I walked around the Funk Zone shooting pictures of the art that's on every wall and fence, I ran into a newcomer in town:  The Blue Door.  Now cash poor, I had to forego the navy blue vintage Coach bag and the silk Dries Van Noten jacket, but I'll definitely be back.
It's been a while since I've been over here-- long before it was given the trendy name, the Funk Zone, and the Urban Wine Trail put it on the tourist map.   Hipsters, old and young, now roam its streets on an endless quest for good wine and art.  I used to bring my little boys down here for swimming lessons at the Diver's Den and then we'd go to an old used book store where we picked up many illustrated classics for their growing library.  Both are now gone.

Despite the wineries and restaurants that have opened their doors, the area still has a true funky vibe to it.  Serious artists live here and open up their studios on an appointment-only basis.  There are caterers, bakers and artisans tucked away in cheap (well . . .cheap for Santa Barbara) rentals and struggling to make it.  I will be back to shop here, both for vintage clothes and casual tee's at the surf shops.

But you know what?  Seeing people out on the wooden decks enjoying a glass of wine made me realize I need to follow the Urban Wine Trail myself.  I need to eat at The Lark.  I need to join the crowds on the monthly Art Walk.  I need to give the Funk Zone a second chance!

1 comment:

  1. I never imagined there was a Funk Zone in Santa Barbara, but it looks cool! You definitely should get on that Urban Wine Trail, just like I should go to the Oregon Wine Lab and any number of other hip places here in Eugene. It shouldn't all be wasted on the young.