Established in 1997 by Founder and Creative/Executive Director, Karsen Lee Gould, MA, CDT, AH! operates under the umbrella of Social Good Fund, Inc., a non-profit 501(c)(3), and is run by a small dedicated group of staff, interns, and volunteers. AH!’s accomplishments include ongoing therapeutic and educational programs through our Community Arts Program and Community Events, which are delivered in collaboration with a variety of non-profit and social service agencies.
Additionally, AH! produced ten Visiting Artists Workshops for Santa Barbara residents with targeted outreach to our constituents in conjunction with the general public. Facilitated by professional artists, these workshops have been well attended and have received glowing feedback from participants and from the community.
AH!’s impact also includes seven original Mixed-Ability Theatre/Dance Productions produced at professional venues, such as Center Stage Theater and UCSB’s Multi Cultural Center, performed by the innovative Blue Moon Players, a troupe of actors and dancers with and without disabilities. AH!’s unique performances, created through a collaborative improvisational process, are a blend of theatre and dance, enhanced by the visual art of artists with disabilities. These full-scale productions play to large community audiences and have received generous press coverage and rave reviews from local media such as The Santa Barbara News-Press, The Montecito Journal, and The Independent. We have captured significant recognition for our imaginative and inclusive work reflecting our audiences’ great appreciation for the wide range of talents and abilities of marginalized and differently-abled people.
Our inaugural Outsider Art Exhibit, “Inside the Outside,” consisting of mixed media by artists with disabilities, was a May “First Thursday” event held at Casa Magazine to a very positive response of about 250 community members. This traveling art exhibit continues to show at Santa Barbara business venues such as The Sojourner, Fresco’s, and il fustino. The exhibit is a tremendous resource for showcasing the artistic talent of these unique artists and serves to help them be accepted and appreciated as part of our arts community.