An Appreciation for Communion



On the eleventh of June 2014, Professor Ann Heferman along with two UCSB students, Natalia Cardenas and Hector Medina, unveiled their finished work representing their views and sense of communion.


Curios to see the many murals in my community, I, along with my skateboard and camera, rode around and admired the community as a whole and the many works of art.


Throughout my freshman year I walked by and acknowledged the sea turtle mural but had no idea of its meaning rather saw it as a piece of art like many others in Isla Vista. I recently moved into an apartment on the block of 6500 Sabado Tarde and find myself waking up to the view of this beautiful mural outside my window representing the collective memory throughout our community. After a couple weeks being welcomed into the wonderful community of Isla Vista, I noticed the plaque on this mural which I then learned of what happened here. Every morning and night I see this mural and feel this sense of remorse for the many family members and friends who lost loved ones, but also see a community coming together to acknowledge the beauty of what Isla Vista offers and its sense of communion.


Plaque remembering the ones whom we lost in the 2001 tragedy

The mural was painted in 2014, thirteen years after the tragedy occurred. Fortunately, to the current members of the Isla Vista community this event is only spoken of, as the majority of the people whom experienced the loss of fellow peers have moved out of the community. When the two student artists and Professor Ann Hefferman came about creating this mural, their intentions were not to recreate or relive this terrible moment, but to create a place of beauty and happiness to reminisce over the lives lost. Thirteen years after the incident, many students and community members probably did not and still do not know that this block lay witnessed of the active horror leading to the lost of peers. Thus, why would these two students and a professor choose to make this mural? After over thirteen years of collective forgetting the student artists choose to remind the community of the terror that has taken place outside many of our houses in a form of beauty and remembrance of an event that created a stronger community for years to come.


(6582 Sabado Tarde rd) Just down the street from the turtle mural, twelve student artists had the opportunity to leave their mark in the community.


A group of students, whom intend to spread a sense of empowerment to fellow peers, that is well known for their free hamburgers; also known as”Jesus burgers.”


(6674 Sueno rd) Another perfect example of the beautiful art found throughout this small community. A form of collective memory for a smaller group within the community that wanted to bring positivity and creativity to their college community.


“About.” Jesus Burgers. N.p., n.d. Web. 06 Sept. 2016. <;.

Britton, Dee. “What Is Collective Memory?” Memorialworlds. N.p., 27 June 2012. Web. 25 Aug. 2016. <;.

Brugger, Kelsey. “Isla Vista Mural Updated to Honor Six Murder Victims.” Isla Vista Mural Updated to Honor Six Murder Victims. Santa Barbara Independent, 12 June 2014. Web. 25 Aug. 2016. <;.

McNerney, Georgina. “The Isla Vista Car Massacre: Ten Years Later.” The Isla Vista Car Massacre: Ten Years Later. N.p., 07 Mar. 2011. Web. 09 Sept. 2016. <;.

Ward, By Angelina. “Mural Unveiled in Isla Vista.” Mural Unveiled in Isla Vista. N.p., 09 June 2012. Web. 06 Sept. 2016. <;.


2 thoughts on “An Appreciation for Communion

  1. I have a concern on how to approach my lack of focus towards the purpose I attempted to betray. The purpose is the sense of communion throughout this community and how this mural has created or demonstrates this.


  2. The key here may be, since the format here seems to be a digital photo essay, to develop an opening text block or prologue that set up the series of photos as examples of sites that use murals to do the work of community building. Some (but not all?) of the examples do this through externalizing collective memory?


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