Local organizations have invited artists, architects and designers to sketch out some new plans and redesign the Family Resource Room at the Child and Family Services Building in downtown Santa Barbara.

The Santa Barbara County Arts Commission, the County Art in Public Places Committee and the SB County Dept. of Alcohol, Drug and Mental Health Services have proposed a Percent for Art project, using the funds from the County Percent for Art Ordinance. The ordinance was created in 1978 to help create public art and make Santa Barbara a friendly and more welcoming environment for residents, SB County Arts Commission Visual Arts Coordinator and Curator of Collections Rita Ferri said.

Ferri also said the facility is overdue for this remodeling effort.

“The Family Resource Room as it exists now doesn’t work,” Ferri said. “A new design with art elements will create a user-friendly space for families to explore and use the space together.”

The SB County Arts Commission will consider several art and design solutions for the space, and the selected artist will receive a comprehensive $24,000 contract, while two runner-up proposals will receive $500 each. ADMHS Division Chief of Child and Adult Services Suzanne Grimmesey-Kirk said that the competition will allow artists to express themselves for the good of the community.

“It offers to artists within the community an opportunity to put their talents to work and make an impact on families and children within our community that are in need,” Grimmesey-Kirk said.

Art, Ferri said, can transform feelings of vulnerability and need into sentiments of comfort and joy.

“Where you wait could set the whole tone of your visit and your expectations for your healing with your therapist,” Ferri said.

ADMHS Program Manager Scott Whiteley said a more aesthetic environment will have resonant effect throughout the community.

“It will add to the lives of the almost 1,000 different clients and families that we serve each year, and allow us to put out a better product for them,” Whiteley said.

The deadline for project submissions is Dec. 17. The chosen artists are required to present their final design proposal along with the site plan, material and color samples to the County Arts Commission for approval and review.

An open house held specifically for applicants of the art project will take place held on Nov. 16, at 4 p.m. in the Child and Family Services Building on 429 N. San Antonio Rd. Prospective participants can obtain more information on the project itself, at the Santa Barbara County Arts Commission Web site at www.sbartscommission.org.