On Thursday, Nov. 3, the Art, Design & Architecture Museum at UC Santa Barbara hosted a free spoken word and musical performance at its satellite space, the Jane Deering Gallery, as a part of downtown Santa Barbara’s first Thursday.

The evening began with performance poetry by second year CCS Literature students Chanel Miller and Demi Anter.

The relatively intimate group of attendees quieted down to hear Miller perform a thoughtful, funny piece about her half-Chinese, half-Caucasian (“Hapa”) heritage. Miller ended with a poem about a close friend’s suicide, which had the audience utterly silent and at full attention, and she spoke both eloquently and furiously about the experience.

Anter went on second, beginning with a sweet and quirky poem about a significant other. She followed the relatively calm poem with a powerful piece that compared her cushy, first world life with those of her immigrant parents. The poem’s strongest sentiment was the mantra, “Everything is beautiful;” in other words, be thankful for what you have. It seemed to resonate greatly with the audience.

In her last piece, Anter went from affectionately reminiscing over moments with a significant other to passionately calling him out for mistreating her. Though it may have seemed like the subject matter would not work as well with a crowd mixed between students and older community members, it was very well received. Both Miller and Anter received generous applause and spent the rest of the night talking with appreciative audience members.

About an hour after the spoken word performance, UCSB student folk band Junipero rolled in to perform for the small but eager crowd. Their pleasant instrumental sounds had many people dancing and most happily tapping foots and nodding along. Even though the gallery is slightly past State Street, the beautiful tunes definitely encouraged people to come into the space that night.

With the help of several museum interns such as Kaori Nakama and Jennifer Lee Lin, under the supervision of Julianne Gavino, UCSB first Thursday debuted this quarter at the downtown space donated by Jane Deering. These performances by students across many art forms as well as work by professors (Art professor Phil Argent’s show, “Container Love” is also on display at Jane Deering right now) combined in a downtown setting are just one of the ways the AD&A is furthering its goal of stimulating learning about art’s role in society and as a community-building tool.

Throughout the year, the AD&A also sponsors events at the MCC and I.V. Theater, curates shows at Cheadle and Elings Halls and will soon reopen their physical space on campus with the exhibition, “Carefree California: Cliff May and the Romance of the Ranch,” from the end of January to June 2012.

The next UCSB 1st Thursday event will be Dec. 1 at the Jane Deering Gallery from 5 to 8 p.m. There will be free refreshments, entertainment and, as always, great art.

– Staff Report