Carol Metzler Taylor
Carol M. Taylor’s brilliant light went out on September 26, 2021.
Carol’s vibrant spirit burned bright throughout her 75 years in Santa Barbara. She was born to Pattie Metzler née Eaton, a homemaker from Eastern Washington, and Fred Metzler, WWII Airforce Veteran and artist, on August 4th, 1946. She inherited her mom’s love for singing and her father’s passion for art.
After graduating from Santa Barbara High School in 1964 Carol attended Santa Barbara City College, San Francisco State, and ultimately received her degree and teaching credentials from UCSB. Carol returned to the Santa Barbara High School district in 1970 as a teacher at both La Cumbre Junior High and eventually Santa Barbara High School. For 38 years, she was a beloved Spanish and Art teacher to generations of students. Carol loved teaching and simply adored her students. She was immensely proud of the many students who went on to use their creativity to make a life for themselves, whether they were painting, tattooing, doing makeup, cooking food, making music, dancing, writing, teaching, building lowriders, or fashion designing. To her, creative work was one of the highest callings and something everybody should have the chance to do.
Carol was one of the founders of the Visual Arts and Design Academy (VADA) at Santa Barbara High School. She poured her heart into creating a program that integrates rigorous academic coursework with project-based, career-focused art and design instruction, in a supportive and creative environment. In addition to her work at SBHS and VADA, Carol believed passionately in public art and providing access to everybody in our community. She worked closely with the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, to connect students with opportunities like mural painting, internships, scholarships, and VADA’s altar at the now 30-year-old Dia de Los Muertos celebration.
Carol created space for people to explore, understand and be themselves both in her work and at home. She wanted her daughters to have the opportunity to express themselves so they had the freedom to make questionable hairstyle decisions as adolescents. They learned a lot from the experience. Carol and her husband, Art, loved to host parties, and were famous for their Halloween Haunted Driveway that struck fear and joy into the hearts of all who attended. Among her friends, Carol was known for her naughty sense of humor, pride in her family’s history, and constantly repainting the walls of her home every color of the rainbow.
She is survived by her two daughters, Torrey Kightlinger née Balch (and her husband Patrick), and Alexa Senter née Korngiebel (and her husband Aaron); her beloved grandchildren Avery, Bowen, and Brynn Kightlinger; her siblings Karen Wilson (Metzler), Sandy Metzler, and Kurt Metzler; and former spouse John Balch.
In lieu of flowers, Carol’s daughters ask that donations be made in her memory to the Visual Arts and Design Academy at the following URL: https://bit.ly/VADA-CMT
A celebration of life will be held on November 7th at 1 pm at Godric Grove in Eilings Park.