Left to right: Natalia Cardenas, Professor Ann Heferman, and Hector Medina
Paul Wellman

Six blue-and-gold fish, flashing UC Santa Barbara’s colors and ascending upward, have been added to the sea turtle mural on an apartment building in Isla Vista. Representing the six victims who lost their lives in the mass murder on May 23, the fish were included into existing imagery that commemorates the last time Isla Vista was shaken so violently, when David Attias killed four people in 2001.

At the unveiling on Wednesday, community members gathered to show off the refurbished mural at 6568 Sabado Tarde. “I grew up in this town,” said Professor Ann Hefferman, explaining she spent her college years there and “lived at seven different places” in Isla Vista. “My heart is always here, and it will be here,” said Hefferman. Students and onlookers enjoyed free food donated from local eateries and pinned “Gaucho Strong” buttons to their clothing.

Isla Vista Mural
Paul Wellman

Spearheading the effort was a UCSB course titled “Urban Art Workshop,” which is dedicated to creating and preserving Isla Vista murals. UCSB’s art department and community housing office work with property owners to ensure murals withstand changing generations as management companies come and go and old murals risk getting painted over. Students in the course have completed four murals so far — and will continue next fall. The class submits a design to the property manager, who then gives feedback as to what they’d like the final piece to look like.

“Since I’m graduating, why not leave something behind?” said UCSB senior Hector Medina, explaining his style is cartoonish and typically more abstract. “For a mural, I get lost in this little square foot.” Natalia Cardenas, a third-year art major, said she thought the final piece turned out great. “I love the process,” she said.


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