Joanne Schoenfeld and Dr. Stuart Orenstein’s connection to Santa Barbara City College began in 2008 when Stuart, newly retired, began taking classes through the Theatre Arts Department at SBCC. That same year, Joanne and Stuart established-through the SBCC Foundation – the Dr. Stuart Orenstein and Joanne Schoenfeld Visiting Artists Fund. The fund underwrites the cost of guest artists hired for the SBCC Theatre Group’s performances. The duo are also active members of the Foundation’s President’s Circle.
Stuart has taken numerous classes through SBCC and SBCC’s School of Extended Learning over the years. He adds, “I am constantly impressed by the dedication of the SBCC faculty and staff to their students’ education, well-being, and development.” Stuart has appeared in 11 Theatre Group productions to date. His most recent credits include his reading of his autobiographical story “Memory” in SBCC Stories and The Thin Man (in which he took on the role of eight characters). In addition to his work with the Theatre Arts Department, Stuart is also active with the Creative Writing Program, through which he wrote two, one-act plays (one of which he performed alongside Joanne). His poem, “My Father’s Ashes,” received Honorable Mention at the 2021 Emmons Poetry Competition.
Joanne and Stuart are drawn to the work of the SBCC Foundation because of their belief in education for all. Stuart shares, “Joanne is the first person in her family to have completed college, and both of my parents are immigrants to this country. The two of us know firsthand the value and worth of higher education and want every student a chance to have it.”