I was parking my car to get to a meeting at a local coffee shop near Funk Zone a couple of weeks ago when I noticed a woman was painting/drawing on big wall of a building. While she was working on one section of the wall, there were more paintings along entire side of the building. Her set up looked pretty legit to me with drop cloth, a large bubble level, a gallon or so of paint(s) and several paint brushes, step stool and a small original painting nearby, so I knew she wasn’t just graffiting nor tagging. Her name was Lety Garcia and evidently she was working on a project to revitalize and to transform the Funk Zone. Soon I became one of those Japanese tourists with camera (what else?) from my neck snapping away the process of art being created, and I even made it to my meeting just in time.
The artist at work
Da artist herself
Critics in Santa Barbara are claiming that city and state regulations are preventing development of the so called “Funk Zone” in the downtown area. This part of town is in the heart of the city, where State Street meets the beach.
The State Street Hotel, built in the 1920’s, has 51 rooms but only 6 bathrooms. It’s only two blocks from the beach on prime State Street real estate, but it’s bank owned because the developer couldn’t get his plans approved by regulators.
The Hotel Californian, another relic from the 1920’s has been shut down for years. It’s only one block from the beach on State street.. But it’s also bank owned, development plans couldn’t pass muster. In fact a master plan for upgrading lower state street by Ritz Carlton never got anywhere.
They call this part of downtown Santa Barbara the “Funk Zone.” It’s been designated as an arts area by The Coastal Commission. There are many theories about how it got the name “Funk Zone.”