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The Channels

The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

Raíces hosts a Plática to celebrate local artist Manuel Unzueta’s work

Dalton Beeler
Manuel Unzueta stands at the podium during his presentation for the Plática about “Metamorphosis of Reality,” a mural he painted on the Campus Center on Thursday, Oct. 26 in Santa Barbara, Calif. “Metamorphosis of Reality” came to life in 1976 by Unzueta and SBCC students.

Raíces: First Year And Beyond, a program at City College for empowering Lantinx students, held an event on Thursday, Oct. 26, hosting a Plática highlighting Manuel Unzueta, a Santa Barbara local artist and his work on campus. 

The City College program, Raíces, was designed to fill a hole that was in the community to support first-year Latinx students. The Raíces program provides resources, academic counseling, mentoring, and a safe haven for students, guiding them through transitions as they follow their educational path.

An attendee who feels strongly about Raíces’ impact is City College student and volunteer at the event, Gionna Aguilar, “It’s definitely a larger community thing.”

“There weren’t a lot of events happening in the past years, especially with COVID-19, so it’s a beautiful opportunity to amplify reaching out to each other again,” Aguilar says, asserting that she is optimistic for the future. 

The community gathered in front of Unzueta’s student collaborative mural “Metamorphosis of Reality,” which he painted on the East Campus Cafeteria building in 1976. They embraced each other and admired the mural while waiting to be ushered into the lecture.

Raíces Program Coordinator Sergio Lagunas holds up the Santa Barbara Independent newspaper highlighting Manuel Unzueta, a Santa Barbara local artist on Oct. 26 in Santa Barbara, Calif. On SBCC’s campus, Unzueta was being recognized for his mural titled “Metamorphosis of Reality” that was painted in 1976. (Dalton Beeler)

“It’s about bringing this mural back to life, bringing it back into the conversation of SBCC folks in the community,” Sergio Lagunas said, Raíces program coordinator.

The internationally acclaimed artist Manuel Unzueta discussed his career as a muralist, educator, and community activist by highlighting his 50 years of creation. He is an artist whose works can be found on giant walls full of life, nature, and culture. 

Unzueta’s work can be found all over Santa Barbara county, whether that be at La Casa de la Raza, Ortega Park, the Santa Barbara High School cafeteria, Santa Barbara Junior High School, Goleta’s Ellwood Elementary School, the Eastside Community Center, and Franklin Library. 

At the end of the night, three awards were presented to Unzueta.

Raíces presented its inaugural “Corazón de Oro”, meaning “heart of gold,” award.

The award reads, “With much gratitude for inspiring, educating, and celebrating La Raza!” 

“This was a night to honor and recognize Manuel, not only for what he accomplished as an artist but also as an educator and community activist.” said Melissa Menendez, City College professor and Raíces coordinator. 

Outside of the East Campus Center, community members line up before the Plática hosted by Raíces on Oct. 26 in Santa Barbara, Calif. The Plática was celebrating Manuel Unzueta, a local muralist who curated a mural in 1976. (Dalton Beeler)

Not only did City College recognize him, but recognition was given on behalf of U.S Congressman Salud Carabajal to Untezeta, and Council member and Mayor Pro Tempore Alejandra Gutierrez from Santa Barbara City Council gave a third award.

Following all of the excitement, stepping away from the podium, Unzueta embraced and shook hands with the audience, and the community. 

Correction: Dec. 7

A previous version of this story had incorrectly spelled the program, Raíces. All former spellings of the program have been corrected. The Channels regrets this error. 

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