Thursday, February 22 , 2018, 3:15 pm | Fair 60º

 
 
 
 

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Artists Brighten Up Santa Barbara Construction Zone With Colorful Murals

Youth Interactive works with city stakeholders to display art on Lower State Street

Santa Barbara native Jonathon Hernandez, 23, was one of 15 local youths who were chosen to display art on Lower State Street as part of a joint effort to beautify the area during construction.
Santa Barbara native Jonathon Hernandez, 23, was one of 15 local youths who were chosen to display art on Lower State Street as part of a joint effort to beautify the area during construction. (Gina Potthoff / Noozhawk photo)

Finding a proper venue to showcase an artist’s work can be difficult, but a group of Santa Barbara youths has located the perfect canvas on Lower State Street.

Murals will be displayed there for at least a year, in fact, helping beautify an area overwhelmed with green construction fences and coinciding development projects.

After about a year of wrangling and preparation, the showcase has finally become a reality for the 14- to 24-year-olds involved in Youth Interactive and a host of community organizations garnering support to make it happen.

Fifteen 5-by-10-foot murals chosen from a pool of more than 30 submissions went up in covered walkways across the street from Hotel Indigo this week ahead of Saturday’s 4 p.m. unveiling and ribbon-cutting ceremony with Mayor Helene Schneider.

The group will celebrate collaborators involved, including the city, Santa Barbara Beautiful, Santa Barbara County Arts Commission and others who donated time or money to the first of its kind art installation.

“This has been a really fantastic project,” said Nathalie Gensac, who founded the Youth Interactive after-school art program in 2012.

Youths painted the murals to adhere to a postcard theme depicting an image of a “best day in Santa Barbara.”

Young artists collaborated with professionals inside the Community Arts Workshop space on Garden Street, normally used for Summer Solstice.

Beyond support from downtown business owners and city officials, developers of La Entrada hotel project also signed off on the installation, which will remain until the work is completed in late 2016.

Ginny Brush, executive director of the Santa Barbara County Arts Commission, has been working hand-in-hand with Gensac since last September, helping the project get proper permitting and past the not-always-easy-to-please Historic Landmarks Commission.

They called the collaboration itself historic, especially considering the high visibility of the display.

Fifteen local youths involved in Youth Interactive were chosen to display art on Lower State Street as part of a joint effort to beautify the area during construction. The city, Santa Barbara Arts Commission and more helped make the project happen. Click to view larger
Fifteen local youths involved in Youth Interactive were chosen to display art on Lower State Street as part of a joint effort to beautify the area during construction. The city, Santa Barbara Arts Commission and more helped make the project happen. (Gina Potthoff / Noozhawk photo)

Murals hang feet away from where AMASS Gallery once stood at the corner of Mason and Helena streets — Youth Interactive’s former art venue before it was demolished for La Entrada.

“I’m honored to have something on State Street,” said Jonathon Hernandez, a 23-year-old Santa Barbara City College student who’s been involved in Youth Interactive since 2012.

He used spray and acrylic paints to create his mural, which depicts a brilliant sunset of purples and pinks behind a silhouetted Santa Barbara Mission with the words “Welcome to Santa Barbara.”

Hernandez’s painting could be among those passersby purchase, with 70 percent of profits going to the artist and 30 percent back to Youth Interactive.

“I’ve been putting it all over Facebook,” said an excited Hernandez.

Noozhawk staff writer Gina Potthoff can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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