Paul Mills is one of the great art visionaries credited with bringing
Herbert Bayer’s rainbow “Chromatic Gate” to
Santa Barbara's East Beach. Mills and his family lived the daily
commitment to art. Instead of taking his family to ball games, they
visited art museums on vacations. The family watched crowds sometimes
stop to listen to their family patriarch discuss famous works, assuming
he was the curator giving a tour, according to Mill's son, who spoke
fondly about his father after his death in 2004.
Santa Barbara Museum of Art Director Paul Chadbourne Mills (the longest
serving directory at the Museum), brought flags to the breakwater,
Stearns Wharf, and the courthouse, and helped mold Santa Barbara Museum
into one of the finest galleries in the US for its size and budget. A
well designed flag flying in the breeze has an exhilaration about it few
other forms of art can achieve, Mills used to say.
came to Santa Barbara in 1970, following 17 years as director of the
Oakland Museum. Serving until 1982, the longest tenure of any director
in the history of the museum, Mills instituted an inventory system,
procured grants and gifts, inaugurated research, education programs, and
attained sound financial footing all the while shepherding more than 500
Keck Park Wing was completed during his tenure in 1983 as Mills welcomed
the community, families, special events and festivals to enhance the
learning experience and make art a part of each person's life he was
able to touch.