With sadness, Arts Council Santa Cruz County joins the chorus of those mourning the passing and celebrating the life of Rowland “Reb” Rebele.
Reb was a fierce advocate for the arts and arts education across the county, supporting many, if not most, of our community’s arts organizations. He understood the importance of the creative sector and deeply valued the organizations and people who make this community a vibrant place to live, work, and visit.
Reb not only invested financially, but he also jumped into the daily work as an early Arts Council (then Cultural Council) board member, long-standing thought partner, and effective fundraiser. Reb had a knack for inspiring others to join him and Pat in supporting what mattered to them and was essential for the wellbeing of our community.
A meeting with Reb was never dull. They often included loud laughter, an occasional expletive, lively idea exchanges, and a fist slam on our conference table. One such meeting in 2014, recounted by my predecessor, Michelle Williams, led to a permanent change in our Open Studios Art Tour, making the Guide free to all visitors through a partnership with the Good Times. A man of action, Reb picked up the phone right then and there to successfully recruit four additional investors, making our dream of a more accessible Open Studios a reality. Truly the stuff of legend.
Reb was a powerful force for good, and we’ll remember him for his many contributions, willingness to dig in, and abiding commitment to the arts. Arts County Santa Cruz County’s staff and board wish his beloved wife Pat and his entire family comfort as they mourn this great loss and remember him with love.