As part of an extensive renovation headed by Gensler of a mixed-use open-air retail center located in the historic Puebla district of downtown Santa Barbara, the client requested a mural which would speak to their commitment deepening engagement with visitors and the local community and create a space celebrating the culture and historical landscape inherent to the site. With limited spatial options and city parameters dictating the scope, the opportunity to beautify a space adjacent to the parking garage was an unexpected ideal site for orienting a public art activation.
Partnering with the center’s on-site tenant, the Museum of Contemporary Art Santa Barbara, we commissioned local artist Cassandra C. Jones to realize a project translating her digital-based practice into a large-scale installation entitled Love Letters. Spanning 470 sq ft, the artist expanded reference to the region’s heritage through a mural that is a kaleidoscope of intricate patterns. Fabricated in ceramic, each tile is in itself a vibrant artwork juxtaposed together to form a pattern: Spanish guitars form beautiful flower patterns, the fans of flamenco dancers take on intricate formations, surfboards combine into a complex structure. Each image reflects Santa Barbara’s culture, providing a visual narrative that is truly a love letter to the community.