Community historian and artist Michael Montenegro — curator of the Instagram account @ChicanoCultureSB — hosted the seventh annual Santa Barbara Mural Ride earlier this month, leading a group on a bicycle tour to visit some of the most important murals and public works of art in the downtown area.
The tour began at Ortega Park, with stops at Santa Barbara High School, Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Bohnett Park, Santa Barbara City College, Cabrillo Boulevard, and La Casa de la Raza. The murals celebrated the city’s deep artistic and cultural heritage and included works by local artists and student groups like Manuel Unzueta, Santa Barbara High School’s Ethnic Studies Club, and UMOJA.
Montenegro provided historical background and explained the language in the imagery at each of the sites, and special guest and Chumash documentarian Spenser Jaimes shared the story behind the Syuxtun Story Circle — a 20-foot-wide mosaic along Cabrillo Boulevard made up of over 200,000 ceramic tiles and jam-packed with Chumash symbols and traditions.
The Santa Barbara Independent tagged along for this year’s tour; watch the video by our own Don Brubaker and check out @ChicanoCultureSB on Instagram for more local cultural history.