The Lobero Theatre, Santa Barbara, California
All eyes on The Lobero
Photo by David Gala

VADA on the Back of The Lobero

The projection equipment on the back roof of The Lobero
Our equipment on the back roof of The Lobero

As pretty much everyone on the face of the Earth knows, 2020 was a dismal year. Then along came 2021 and many of us got vaccinated and the door for creating events and performances slowly started to creak open once again. 

Our first “proper” show was on the beautiful back wall of the venerable Lobero Theatre in Santa Barbara. The students in VADA (Visual Arts and Design Academy) at Santa Barbara High, were despondent. After all, what’s the use of art if you can’t show it to anyone? To raise their spirits, Kym had talked to Daniel Barnett about doing … something.

We’d done a pro-bono projection show for VADA in 2020 for the students’ graduation on a wall at Direct Relief in Goleta. Everyone had arrived as masked and isolated family units with each small group dutifully sitting in or on their vehicles. Even so, it was a great success. Then in January 2021, we were contacted about putting on a show of the students’ art on that sumptuous Lobero back wall. 

Examining the venue, we realized that the only way we could make it happen was by using two ultra-short throw projectors using identical imagery that were stacked on top of each other, thereby doubling the amount of lumens. It was a tricky affair.  This type of projector is finicky; if either of them moved by a hair the image would be off. Even so, we pulled it off for three nights in a row. 

Daniel sent us hundreds of images that we edited into one long class-by-class movie. Standing on the roof to monitor the projectors we could hear the cheers of students as their art or that of their friends appeared. It was a gratifying experience. 

We did a second show, several months later using the same setup but different imagery. 

Our view from the roof of The Lobero
Our view from the roof top of The Lobero – Photo by Jonathan PJ Smith
Watching the show at a safe distance from others – Photo by David Gala
The view of the VADA show on The Lobero from the adjacent parking garage
View from the adjacent parking lot – Photo by David Gala
VADA art movie on the back of The Lobero, as seen from Anacapa Street
The view from Anacapa Street – Photo by David Gala
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