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GOINGS ON SANTA BARBARA : Salvaged Art : Discarded paintings by amateurs find their way into the limelight at the Contemporary Arts Forum.


It's a tale of rags to riches; anascent from the Salvation Army bin to the toast of the town.

It's the story of amateur paintings--some perhaps the pride and joy of art classes; others, possibly, thoughtful birthday presents--that fate cruelly dropped onto thrift shop walls. Discarded and homeless, some of these paintings were rescued by a few Southern California artists and are now in the limelight, traveling from ritzy art gallery to art gallery.

"Thrift Store Paintings," a collection of more than 100 amateur works that artist Jim Shaw and friends found in thrift shops and swap meets for a few dollars each, will be on display at the Santa Barbara Contemporary Arts Forum from Saturday through Feb. 23.

Descriptive titles such as "Indian Maidens Frolic in Bikinis" and "Wolves Attacking Steer Carcass on Snowy Night" were given to these often anonymous pictures. A full-color catalogue of "Thrift Store Paintings" reproductions will be available at the gallery, located in the Paseo Nuevo shopping center. A public reception will be held there Saturday from 5 to 7 p.m. Admission to the exhibit and reception is free. 966-5373.

The Contemporary Arts Forum will be displaying two other exhibits beginning Saturday and ending Feb. 23.

"Exceptional Vision: Things We Love" features works created by students at the Devereux Foundation, a residential school for children with emotional and developmental disorders. Each work depicts, through subject or style, something that its young artist loves.

"Leaving Behind the Scent of Salt" by German artist Nicola von Skepsgardh juxtaposes tool-like objects with fields of salt.

The Esperia Foundation will present a free concert Jan. 20 featuring Hakan Rosengren, a 27-year-old Swedish clarinetist. Rosengren, who earned his master's degree at UC Santa Barbara, has performed throughout Europe, Canada and the United States. Among his many awards is first place at the 1987 Concert Artists Guild New York Competition.

Rosengren will perform works by Schumann, Brahms, Debussy, Berg, Lutoslowski and others with pianist Anders Kilstrom. The concert will be at 4 p.m., Abravanel Hall, Music Academy of the West in Montecito. 969-3340.

The Santa Barbara Symphony will present its winter concert Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 3 p.m. at the Arlington Theatre. Tickets are $11 to $25 on Saturday and $11 to $18 on Sunday. 963-4408.

Camarata Musica of Berlin will play Monday at 8 p.m. at the Arlington Theatre. Tickets for the orchestra range from $24 to $42. 966-4324.

Known for their bold new music and for breaking classical conventions, the Kronos Quartet will perform at UCSB Campbell Hall on Tuesday at 8 p.m. Tickets are $15, $13, and $11. 893-3535.

As part of their first United States tour since 1910, the Andreyev Balalaika Orchestra will perform at the Lobero Theatre at 8 p.m. Wednesday. The orchestra combines woodwinds, percussion and piano with Russian folk instruments. Tickets are $24 and $19. 963-0761.

Wanda Coleman will read from her works Wednesday at UCSB, Girvetz, Room 1004. Coleman grew up on the outskirts of Watts and her poems have been described as tough and street smart. She writes about the life-and-death realities of life on the streets of L.A. Known for her dramatic readings, which she punctuates with cries, whispers, hisses and shouts, Coleman will deliver the free performance at 4:30 p.m. 893-3535.

UCSB starts off the American Adventures Film Series--a tribute to American moviemaking--tonight at 8 p.m. in Campbell Hall with David Lynch's "Wild at Heart." The series continues Sunday with "Hairspray," directed by John Waters. Tickets are $5 for each show. 893-3535.

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