Cristal's Blog


June 4, 2023

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The enchanting coastal city of Santa Barbara, a beacon of creativity and learning, welcomes another creative way to illuminate the community. The Barbakow Family Center for Film Studies, an innovative and versatile space, created by the Santa Barbara International Film Festival (SBIFF), promises to be a transformative hub for education, art, and community engagement. As a Santa Barbara realtor deeply invested in the growth and well-being of our vibrant city, I am thrilled to share the exciting news about this remarkable initiative.

The logo for The Barbakow Family Center for Film Studies in Santa Barbara with black letters, some in cursive, others bold, against a white background

Creating a Dynamic Space for Learning

At the heart of The Barbakow Family Center for Film Studies lies its commitment to fostering creativity and knowledge through a fluid and flexible space. Designed to serve as a classroom, screening room, community meeting space, movie library, and editing suite, this center holds tremendous potential for Santa Barbara residents of all ages and backgrounds.

Addressing Educational Disparities

One of the most commendable aspects of this center is its focus on reaching out to vulnerable members of our community. SBIFF’s engaging Education Programs already attract more than 14,000 people each year, with a particular emphasis on those facing adversity. These programs aim to bridge the gap in arts education caused by program cuts in public-school systems, ensuring that all individuals have access to the transformative power of the arts.

Five pre-teens outside in tall trees, huddled and ready to use a selfie stick and phone

Empowering At-Risk and Under-Served Youth

The Barbakow Family Center for Film Studies recognizes the immense potential within at-risk and under-served youth. By providing them with a safe space to explore their creativity and develop critical skills, the center aims to empower these young individuals and inspire them to pursue their passions. Through workshops, mentorship programs, and hands-on experiences, SBIFF's Education Programs offer a lifeline to those who may have limited resources and opportunities.

Supporting Low-Income Families and Children

In an effort to uplift low-income families and their children, the center offers educational opportunities that might otherwise be financially out of reach. By providing access to film screenings, interactive workshops, and artistic resources, the Barbakow Family Center for Film Studies aims to create a level playing field for all children, regardless of their socioeconomic background. Through this inclusive approach, the center strengthens the fabric of our community and nurtures the next generation of creative minds.

Four senior women smiling in red seats inside a movie theater. The one in the front looking at the camera is holding a bag of popcorn

Enriching Transit-Dependent Senior Citizens

The transformative power of film is not confined to a particular age group. The Barbakow Family Center for Film Studies recognizes the importance of engaging and empowering our transit-dependent senior citizens too. By offering specialized programs tailored to their unique needs and challenges, such as film screenings and discussions, the center creates opportunities for socialization, learning, and personal growth. It is through these connections that the center enhances the lives of our senior community members and fosters a sense of belonging.

Removing Financial Barriers

One remarkable aspect of SBIFF's Education Programs offered at The Barbakow Family Center for Film Studies is that all current programs are offered free of charge to participants. This commitment to accessibility ensures that financial limitations are never a hindrance to those seeking to broaden their horizons and tap into their creative potential. The Barbakow Center serves as a beacon of hope, tearing down financial barriers and creating a space where everyone is welcome, regardless of their economic circumstances.

The Bottom Line

The Barbakow Family Center for Film Studies is set to revolutionize the creative landscape in Santa Barbara, providing an inclusive, dynamic, and accessible space for learning, artistic expression, and community engagement. By nurturing creativity, fostering learning, and bringing diverse communities together, this center will become a catalyst for positive change. It will inspire individuals to dream big, explore their passions, and unlock their true potential. The impact will extend far beyond the walls of the center, reaching into every corner of our city.

This innovative space will not only enrich the lives of individuals but also contribute to the overall growth and vitality of our city.

So, here you have one more reason for making the Santa Barbara area your home or home away from home. With that in mind, if you’re looking to move to (or within) Montecito, Hope Ranch, or any of Santa Barbara's upscale communities, please call me at (805) 886-9378 or email me at I'm always available to answer any questions or concerns you have about buying or selling a distinctive property here.

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    Client Reviews

    “It was an emotional experience selling our mother’s home in Montecito that we all loved so much but Cristal made the process easier on our whole family by guiding us through the transaction every step of the way. She knows the market so well and everything she recommended was on point including the asking price, painting, and staging the home, which looked beautiful and helped the buyer envision her new home. We sold it the first day it hit the market with an offer above asking! Cristal did an incredible job communicating with us and the buyer to ensure that the transaction would run smoothly. We highly recommend using Cristal, she was a pleasure to work with! ”

    - J & A

    “Cristal is a pleasure to work with! Her knowledge of the local real estate market coupled with her amazing listening skills resulted in her showing us an array of homes that were all excellent choices. Her low-pressure patient attitude made us feel extremely comfortable with the whole process. I cannot recommend her highly enough.”

    - M.F.

    “Cristal Clarke is #1 in her field - and you don't become #1 by luck. Cristal works harder, and longer, and with more charm and patience than any real estate agent I have ever worked with in the past; her calendar has no weekend, her days have no clocks, her only concern is selling your property as soon as possible and for the best price on the market. Am I a fan? You bet!”

    - P.B.

    “We have used Cristal now several times and cannot express how grateful we are for her expertise, dedication, and unwavering support throughout the entire home-buying process. Cristal is knowledgeable, patient and attentive. Her attention to detail is remarkable, and she consistently went above and beyond to provide us with all the information and resources we needed to make informed decisions. Cristal is a skillful negotiator and advocate. She can navigate complex negotiations with professionalism and grace and felt like a true partner to us in the home-buying process. Cristal has a genuine passion for real estate and a deep commitment to her clients' satisfaction. I cannot speak highly enough of Cristal and her exceptional service. She is a true expert in her field and her dedication to excellence, combined with unwavering support is the reason we choose to work with her for all our real estate buying needs.”

    - T.C.

    “Cristal is a top-notch realtor who sold my home before it ever went on the market. I had two competing offers that enabled me to get top dollar for my home. Not only is Cristal superb but her team is extraordinary. I cannot say enough about Cristal and her team. They are simply phenomenal, the consummate professionals, who took care of every possible detail, making the sale and transition period, smooth from our end. They are also lovely, caring people, who knew all the right professionals, to get the job done. Thank you, everyone!”

    - D.R.

    “I could list lots of cool adjectives to describe Cristal. All good by the way. But, that is not why I or anyone should hire Cristal. My reason for hiring her, which proved to be correct, is very simple. She got the job done. And, she does it time and time again and with zero issues. And, that is why she is one of the top agents in the country. End of subject. ”

    - M.A.

    “Working with Cristal was a complete pleasure. Cristal was extremely patient with us as we evaluated nearly 2 dozen homes over a span of 2 years. Her knowledge of the market is unmatched. Cristal provided us with exceptional counsel as we evaluated opportunities and negotiated pricing. The closing process was handled thoroughly and efficiently. We could not be happier with our purchase and even more happy to now call Cristal our friend.”

    - D.K.

    “Cristal Clarke has conducted numerous real estate transactions for me beginning 13 years ago with the purchase of a Lemon Ranch. She has handled both large and small purchases and sales with equal dedication. As a negotiator, you can’t find anyone better. Her transactions are always conducted in the most appropriate and professional manner. Cristal has considerable knowledge of the Santa Barbara market.”

    - S.N. Decker Ph.D.

    “Living in Europe, we were to say the least, unaccustomed to the nuances of Real Estate acquisition in California and Cristal steered us through the process with absolute professionalism and personal attention to detail at every turn. Her in-depth knowledge of the market place combined with enthusiasm and drive was the only reason we secured the property of our dreams and will be forever grateful. If you are looking for personal discrete and private representation of the highest quality we suggest you look no further than Cristal Clarke.”

    - Johan and Paula van den Berg

    “Cristal is very straightforward, cheerful, helpful, professional and trustworthy….we felt very lucky to work with her.”

    - John and Lacey Williams

    “After considering our many choices, we are grateful it was Cristal Clarke of Sotheby’s International who represented the sale of our Montecito cottage. We are familiar with Cristal’s reputation of hard work and dedication to clients, but it was her attention to detail that made our experience so positive. She offered suggestions for staging the property, worked in harmony with potential buyers and was even able to secure back up offers. The sale of our cottage was completed much sooner than we expected, due in great part to Cristal’s professional skills and support. We highly recommend Cristal as a first choice for anyone needing representation with real estate.”

    - Michael & Nancy Lee

    “Our experience in working with Cristal Clarke resulted in the successful and discrete acquisition of a property which was not yet on the open market. Her knowledge of the Montecito/Santa Barbara area and vast expertise blended with her passion for real estate and architecture, provided us with the very highest level of professionalism and personalized services. Cristal exhibited a rare combination of excellent communications, attention to detail, creativity and patience.”

    - Richard and Catherine Frinier

    “Cristal really breaks the mold. She knows every nook and cranny of this real estate market, understands value, and follows up on everything, all the time. She was incredibly patient with our two year quest to find the perfect house. Every house hunting trip from across the country was well planned, and our time was never wasted. On top of her professionalism and expertise, she is delightful to spend time with. We are thrilled with the home we purchased, and grateful to Cristal for so wisely advising us through this process, right through to the close and beyond.”

    - Laurie Siegel

    “We met Cristal first in the course of renting a winter home (for three years), then buying a house using her as our agent. She was amazingly good at listening to our wants and showing us homes that fit our needs. Her mastery of the paperwork was perfect. Most importantly, there was never a situation where we doubted her straightforwardness or integrity. If we do another real estate transaction in Montecito (which I doubt, we’re happy with what we purchased), without question we’d use Cristal again.”

    - Ken Saffir

    “Susan and I just want to thank you for your efforts in the sale of our home. You are really quite amazing. Your competence, persistence, optimism and humor made the entire process effortless. Every problem that arose, you somehow fixed; any obstacle, you overcame. We have bought and sold many homes. It has never been such a painless and enjoyable process!”

    - Michael & Susan Marquart

    “A little something about “our” realtor, Cristal Clarke. My wife and I came to Santa Barbara about fifteen years ago looking for a seasonal home from which to enjoy the weather and amenities of the central coast. Being in the real estate business myself I was familiar with agents and brokers so entered the market with open eyes. We “flipped” a few houses in the early years, dealing with various agents and finally ended up in Montecito. That’s when good fortune put us together with Cristal. To say we were impressed is to put it mildly. Cristal really knows the market. She is familiar with the area, its history and trends. When we have questions about a particular property she either has the answers immediately or gets back to us by phone or email. There is no waiting or wondering with Cristal. She is an agent who is “on top of it.” Her recommendations as to price points, contractors, inspectors and title agents have proven to be exceptional, showing great insight and the highest professional standards. We consider ourselves exceedingly fortunate to say that Cristal Clarke is our realtor and would recommend her services to any serious buyer or seller.”

    - Rob & Judi Kelch