Stephanie Arguera coordinates more mural paintings by Isla Vista’s St. George Youth Center

Thursday, June 30, 2022
students and Stephanie Arguera at new IV murals

Stephanie Arguera, recent Ph.D. graduate of UC Santa Barbara’s Gevirtz School, helped to coordinate two more mural painting projects at Isla Vista’s St. George Youth Center (SGYC) in Estero Park; the murals had their ribbon cutting ceremony Monday, June 27. Throughout her tenure as a graduate student in the Department of Education, Arguera has worked with the Center on this undertaking that grew from a traditional maker space project into a community involvement project.

These are the fifth and sixth murals Arguera has coordinated at SGYC. After two summers off due to the COVID-19 pandemic, teens were more than ready to add to their previous artwork and kick off their summer break with their first major summer activity. The Teen Leadership group of primarily highschoolers brainstormed and voted on final mural themes, then conceptualized various drafts before deciding on the two separate murals—one floral themed and the other an evening sunset over the ocean. After receiving approval from the IV Parks & Rec Department Board in early June, the youth were excited to have such a large and fun project to take on during their second week of summer vacation.

This year’s murals were the culmination of an introductory program, Campus Conexiónes, which is supported by the Center for Publicly Engaged Scholarship and by the Department of Education’s Dr. Rebeca Mireles-Rios and is also coordinated by Arguera. Throughout winter quarter, the same Teen Leadership highschoolers were invited to UCSB for weekly workshops, lab tours, and hands-on activities with primarily Latinx undergraduate and graduate students, faculty, and staff. Each campus visit aimed to engage with local teens in ways that went above and beyond the typical campus tour, familiarizing them with the campus as an expanded community space meant for all residents, and not only enrolled students.

St. George Youth Center has been serving Isla Vista and Goleta youth and families since 1998, providing a safe, fun, alternative space for teens during the high risk after-school hours. The youth center is open to young people in grades 6 -12, and we support the strength and achievement of youth and their families through a variety of educational, recreational, cultural and leadership opportunities.