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New Murals by VADA Students to Give Santa Barbara’s Funk Zone a Fresh Look

60 Santa Barbara High School seniors contribute time, talents to public art project, which will be unveiled June 19

Students from Santa Barbara High School’s Visual Arts & Design Academy proudly show off one of the completed works that will be unveiled in the Funk Zone on June 19.
Students from Santa Barbara High School’s Visual Arts & Design Academy proudly show off one of the completed works that will be unveiled in the Funk Zone on June 19. (Lara Cooper / Noozhawk photo)

Six fresh murals will unveiled in Santa Barbara’s Funk Zone next week, showcasing the work of talented artists and students from a local high school arts and design academy.

Students from the Visual Arts & Design Academy, or VADA, at Santa Barbara High School, have completed a new series of murals that will be installed on the exterior doors of the businesses at 137 Anacapa St. — including The Guitar Bar, Area 5.1 Winery and Figueroa Mountain Brewing Company.

VADA allows students to pursue project-based art and design instruction, and serves 175 students in grades 10 through 12 at the campus at 700 E. Anapamu St.

Seniors in the academy have been working with local artists Michael Matheson and Chelsea Locatelli, who served as artists-in-residence for two weeks, designing the mural and acting as mentors to the students.

Sixty students in two different classes helped create the art over just four days.

Students will gather at 10 a.m. June 19 to unveil the murals, which will face out toward Yanonali Street and will be part of the Anacapa Project building, also home to The Lark and Lucky Penny, which is managed by Central Coast Real Estate LLC.

Because the murals will be attached to the outside doors, they’ll be visible from 11 p.m. to 11 a.m.

In addition to attaining some new artistic techniques, the students also learned important skills that will be critical in the future should they choose to do art professionally, like that of meeting deadlines and working with an art director, Locatelli explained.

The artists encouraged the students to try new techniques, and created a base of textured colors that shine through black designs inspired by contemporary patterns.

One of the Visual Arts & Design Academy students’ panels that will adorn a door in the Funk Zone. (Lara Cooper / Noozhawk photo)
One of the Visual Arts & Design Academy students’ panels that will adorn a door in the Funk Zone. (Lara Cooper / Noozhawk photo)

Locatelli said she encouraged the students to treat the work like a sketchbook, allowing them to “just paint.”

The students impressively worked during their one-hour class and then spent extra time during lunch and breaks to finish the 8-foot by 8-foot paintings.

The students also were motivated to create their best work because they knew it would be up for display for the next year in a public place, Matheson said.

“It’s not just a week or two,” he said.

The mural panels will be on display for six months to a year, and after their de-installation, will be used to fundraise for the VADA program, according to VADA’s Calico Brown.

She said the project was funded in part by the Community Arts Grant Program, using funds provided by the City of Santa Barbara in partnership with the Santa Barbara County Arts Commission.

Noozhawk staff writer Lara Cooper 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.

Students and artists took just four days to complete the new Funk Zone mural panels. (Lara Cooper / Noozhawk photo)
Students and artists took just four days to complete the new Funk Zone mural panels. (Lara Cooper / Noozhawk photo)

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