Originally founded as Jose Lobero’s Opera House in 1873, the Lobero is the oldest continuously operating theater in California, and the fourth oldest performing arts theater in the country. Whether hosting events of great societal importance, launching the careers of Hollywood legends, serving as an influential jazz venue, or providing a stage for some of the world’s finest performers, the Lobero inspires diverse audiences of all ages.
An Ovation Celebration
To commemorate this occasion, the theater will mount a public celebration and awareness campaign to pay tribute to this remarkable landmark, and position the Lobero Theatre to be a prominent, integral, and essential stage for the performing arts in Santa Barbara well into the future.
As part of that acknowledgment, The Lobero Theatre Foundation’s Board is launching a $6 million endowment and capital campaign.
Endowment – Community
Access Fund (CAF) - $2.5 M
For 150 years, the Lobero Theatre has enjoyed a symbiotic relationship with the wonderful arts organizations that perform on its stage. The Community Access Fund (CAF) supports a vibrant arts scene and fosters a new generation of artists and audiences that will significantly impact the future of the industry. The CAF will allow the theater to meaningfully subsidize the community’s use of the Lobero, reducing their expenses and allowing them to focus their limited resources on production and audience development – thereby strengthening the health and growth of each organization.
Endowment - $2.5 M
The Lobero’s remarkable sesquicentennial represents a key milestone in the city’s cultural timeline. The building itself is the Lobero Theatre Foundation’s greatest asset and the main focus of its stewardship. The Building Maintenance Endowment ensures that a significant annual investment is made toward the building’s technical systems and historic aesthetics. Every effort will be made to prioritize maintaining state-of-the-art technology, while honoring the unique architectural design created by George Washington Smith and Lutah Maria Riggs. This vital fund will systematically reduce the need for a major capital campaign.
Capital Items - $1 M
Several major capital needs have developed since the last capital campaign in 2013, including a new LED lighting system and the addition of solar panels. Once the Building Maintenance Endowment is fully funded, it will be possible to address system upgrades on an annual basis. Immediate capital priorities include facility security measures, courtyard enhancement, exterior painting of the theater, stage floor replacement, PA (Public Address) system improvements, and green room refurbishment. These goals strengthen the Lobero Theatre’s capacity to serve its mission, while adding stability to its annual financial position.
Web developer and philanthropist Brett Hodges is a fifth generation Californian, who has lived in Santa Barbara since 1980. After growing up in West Los Angeles, he then attended college in England, where he received a degree in religious studies. Upon graduating, Brett wrote and produced educational and documentary films for schools and PBS, then went on to develop several websites. His RemedyFind site was one of the most active health communities on the web, and was sold in 2006 to Steve Case’s Revolution.com. Brett’s current website, RightPet, helps pet owners find the health and wellness products and training methods which are right for their animals.
After enjoying countless diverse performances at the Lobero over the years, Brett eventually became a Lobero “superfan.” Having been introduced to the Lobero’s Board through his childhood friend, Board President Steve Hayes, Brett now serves as Ovation Chair and Chair of the Development Committee. He has also taken on the prodigious task of being the Lobero Theatre’s Historian, working on the theater’s archives and creating the Intermission Series blog posts. Brett has served on the board of his daughter’s school (Laguna Blanca School), and is currently a Santa Barbara Historical Museum board member. He is also involved with the local equine community and riding trails network. Through the WWW Foundation, Brett and his wife Natalie support a variety of educational and animal-focused charities. Their daughter, Lillie, who graduated from Middlebury College in 2016, is also honored to now be able to participate in the family foundation’s philanthropic ventures.