LightWorks Announcements

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Illuminating Community

In partnership with the Santa Barbara County Arts Commission and Isla Vista Parks & Recreation, UCSB holds exhibition of light-based artworks by Nora Drake.

Danial Nord's

Southern California artist Danial Nord stands next to his light-based work, “Playground”

Photo Credit:

Courtesy photo

Inspired by art, and in the name of community, downtown Isla Vista will be filled with light for three consecutive nights beginning Thursday, May 19.The first-ever “LightWorks: Isla Vista” showcases contemporary artworks, with light-emitting technologies as the medium. These temporary sculptural installations will transform the central parks of downtown Isla Vista into illuminated spaces for art, performance and community engagement.

The brainchild of Kim Yasuda, professor of art at UC Santa Barbara, the exhibition is part of UCSB’s Visual + Public Art program and is supported by a California Arts Council Creative Communities Grant in partnership with the Santa Barbara County Arts Commission. “This is an opportunity to showcase some of our local and California-based artists who utilize light and projection, while also helping our community to imagine what our parks could be like if they were properly lit at night,” said Yasuda, a resident of Isla Vista for more than a decade.

The artistic director behind LightWorks, Yasuda also part of a group of faculty and students responsible for the 2015 lighting of Pardall Tunnel and the “Blunite” illumination events, organized to commemorate the first anniversary of the Isla Vista tragedy. She envisions LightsWorks as an extension of that project, with the dual goals of remembrance and of hope for healing. It is also a continued exploration of the query that initially inspired her to get involved: “How could we mobilize the resources, talent and intellectual capital of UCSB to directly benefit the immediate neighboring community of Isla Vista?”

For Yasuda, who raised her daughter in Isla Vista, curating the festival and ensuring its legacy bridges the personal and professional areas of her life. “I have personally witnessed the segregation that happens in Isla Vista,” she noted. “The student population doesn’t overlap with the permanent residential population. I think the more positive and engaging opportunities we can create, the greater a sense of connection we will share as a community.”

To that end, the entire community is invited to attend the LightWorks opening reception Thursday, May 19, at 7 p.m. in Perfect Park. Many of the contributing artists will be present for the event, which will include remarks by UCSB professors, refreshments and an artist-led walk-through of the temporary works. The path between each piece will be marked by a line of small blue LED lights, guiding visitors through the parks of Isla Vista.

LightWorks features commissioned media works, selected by a panel of jurors as well as local submissions from Santa Barbara and UCSB artists. Many of the pieces invite viewer interaction. For example, the UCSB students in Art 122, a digital design and programming course, are contributing a piece called “Luminaria,” which will illuminate the pedestrian bridge in Anisq’O’yo Park with LED motion sensor lights that work by detecting weight on the bridge’s wooden planks.

Another piece, “Playground,” by Southern California artist Danial Nord, consists of a light box placed over the existing swing set in Anisq’O’yo Park. Nord has invited aerialists, vocalists, musicians and other performers to use the work as a platform throughout the exhibition, triggering different light patterns through sound and movement.

LightWorks will encourage the entire Isla Vista community to interact at night, transforming previously under-illuminated parks into well-lit areas for conversation and congregation. “There’s a literal meaning behind the show’s title,” explained Yasuda. “Light does work. Lighting our spaces allows us to experience the benefits of a safe and engaging social life after dark. Traditionally, communities share a central plaza or space where people go to gather, walk, eat and enjoy their evenings. In I.V., the public space is underutilized, while the private residential sector is densely overcrowded, without the amenities that would be available in most public spaces.”

Yasuda and the other organizers of LightWorks (many of them volunteers) hope to expand the event in years to come. “I’d like to see this festival become an annual illumination event someday,” said Yasuda. “There is none between Oregon and Santa Monica, so we have an opportunity to create something special here that would draw the community to Isla Vista every year.”

She also hopes to remind everyone that lighting public spaces at night can serve aesthetic and practical purposes equally. “Lighting can be utilitarian and safe while also providing a creative and beautiful solution to our public safety concerns,” Yasuda said. “The economic challenges facing most downtown businesses in Isla Vista, primarily restaurants, would benefit from well-lit public spaces at night that could function as a place for residents to participate in and enjoy the benefits of a shared public life.”

More information about the performances, artists and events associated with LightWorks is available at


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LightWorks: Isla Vista Announces Award-Winning California Artists

Isla Vista, CA – April 19, 2016. The Santa Barbara County Arts Commission with the University of California Santa Barbara announces LightWorks: Isla Vista from May 19-21, 2016 in downtown Isla Vista. A competition for public light-based artworks in downtown Isla Vista was held and a distinguished panel of jurors selected projects to be produced by the following award-winning artists: Madeline Berger, Jamie Birkett, Weslie Ching, Kym Cochran, Chad ‘Fez’ Gaetz, Udo Gyene, Mitchell Jakubka, John Lawrence, Danial Nord, Marco Pinter, Tai Rodrig, Jonathan Smith, Fernando Tapia, Denise Torres, Ethan Turpin, Scotty Slade Wagner, and Shannon Willis.

Artists responded to a Request For Proposals to create temporary sculptural installations designed to transform the central parks of downtown Isla Vista into illuminated spaces for art, performance, and evening engagement by the community. Artists who employ light-emitting technologies as a medium in the creation of site-specific or free-standing installations will present their works at the opening ceremony of LightWorks: Isla Vista on May 19. For updated information on the event, please visit

LightWorks: Isla Vista is part of a long-term community improvement effort led by a strategic group of partners and agencies, including the Santa Barbara County Arts Commission, Office of the 3rd Supervisorial District and County Sheriff, UC Santa Barbara Visual and Public Arts, Santa Barbara Foundation, Isla Vista Recreation and Parks District (IVRPD), Isla Vista Community Network (IVCN), UCSB Materials Research Laboratory, and the Santa Barbara Center for Art, Science and Technology (SBCAST). 3rd District Supervisor Doreen Farr said, “We are excited about the high caliber of artists who are presenting their light-based artworks in Isla Vista. LightWorks is an innovative project that we believe will inspire the campus, county, and community.”

For more information regarding LightWorks: Isla Vista, please contact Maiza Hixson, Chief Curator of the Santa Barbara County Arts Commission at 805-568-3994


Kim Yasuda, Artistic Director of LightWorks: Isla Vista at 805-895-2253

LightWorks: Isla Vista Schedule of Events, May 19-21, 2016

Thursday, May 19th
5:00 pm-6:50 pm: Public Presentation by Artists of LightWorks, Embarcadero Hall, 935 Embarcadero del Norte, Isla Vista

7:00 pm-9:00 pm: Artist Opening Ceremony and Reception, 976 Embarcadero del Mar, Isla Vista

Friday, May 20th
7:30-11:00 pm LightWorks Illumination and Live Jazz & Dance Performances, IV Central Park Locations

Saturday, May 21st
4:00 pm-7:00 pm Isla Vista Conference Art Exhibition & Reception, 970 Embarcadero del Mar, Isla Vista

8:00 pm-11:00 pm LightWorks Illumination and Live Jazz & Dance Performances throughout IV Central Park Locations