Kim Yasuda

LightWorks: Illuminating Community

LightWorks was developed in 2016 as a series of strategic initiatives led by a consortium of regional partners and agencies, including UCSB’s Art Department, Materials Research Laboratory, UCSB Alumni-Isla Vista Affairs, Associated Students, Office of Student Life, Santa Barbara County Arts Commission, Santa Barbara Center for Art Science and Technology, Offices of the Third District Supervisor, Administrative Services and County Sheriff, Isla Vista Recreation and Park District, Isla Vista Community Network, St. George Youth and Family Center and Isla Vista Elementary School. In addition to support from the Santa Barbara Foundation.

The inaugural public art exhibition in downtown Isla Vista featured illuminated commissions by12 California artists/collectives in addition to UCSB visual, media and performing arts undergraduates and graduates. The project was part of a longer-term safety and lighting program for the downtown parks of Isla Vista through the development of an illuminated public art collection for UCSB campus and the community of Isla Vista.

LightWorks IV achieved an unprecedented moment in Isla Vista’s recent history, with the presence of multi-generational families from across the region who came to experience three-nights of contemporary art in an otherwise student-centered college town after dark. As a pilot, it demonstrated the potential for arts and culture to activate and transform public spaces in Isla Vista to function as safe, engaging centers for all members of the community.

Also part of LightWorks, the project, Art + Energy, was executed betweeen faculty collaborators, Professor Kim Yasuda, Public Practice, Dr. Ram Seshadri, CoDirector of the UCSB Materials Research Lab and Dr. Dorothy Pak, Director of MRL’s Educational Outreach. The collaboration between Art, Materials Science and 4th graders from Isla Vista Elementary School was developed as course curriculum, which culminated in a public exhibition of the elementary student work, which was showcased in conjunction with the LightWorks festival in May 2016. An illuminated city, designed and built by 4th graders, was part of their formal curriculum as an interdisciplinary art/science activity, focused on spatial awareness in fulfillment of California teaching standards for the fourth grade energy unit. The conductive ink circuits were drawn on aerial photographs of Isla Vista, using CircuitScribe conductive ink and magnetic modules. Students designed connections and conduits to LED lighting sources and overlayed them on neighborhood maps of the communities where they lived.Also, some links to LightWorks

Bio: Kim Yasuda is an artist and professor of Public Practice in the Department of Art at University of California Santa Barbara. Her work investigates the role of art, artists and educational institutions in community development and civic life.

Yasuda’s past exhibition work has been presented at museums and alternative spaces in the U.S., Canada and U.K., including: the New Museum of Contemporary Art and Art in General, New York; Whitney Museum of American Art@ Champion, CT; MIT List Visual Arts Center, Boston; Art Gallery of Ontario, Canada; Camerawork Gallery, East London. She has been the recipient of individual artist grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, US/Japan Foundation, Howard Foundation, Art Matters, Joan Mitchell Foundation and Anonymous Was a Woman Foundation. Yasuda’s previous commissioned public projects include station designs for the Broad Street Corridor transit system in Providence, Rhode Island, the Green Line Vermont Metrorail and Union Station Gateway Center for the Metropolitan Transit Authority of Los Angeles. Her permanent commemorative works are part of the public art collections for the cities of St. Louis, San Jose and Hollywood, designed to preserve the cultural legacies and local histories of these community.

Yasuda’s current research intersects her university teaching with her public art practice, shaping pedagogical experiments that explore the intersection between institutional knowledge production and a creative practice. Yasuda and her students have undertaken numerous projects together, working on temporary public interventions and permanent urban renewal projects in the student community of Isla Vista, an unincorporated area of 21,000 inhabitants adjacent to the UCSB campus. In 2005, Yasuda established the Friday Academy and in 2014, IV OpenLab, as temporary instructional environments that operate at the intersection of university and community. These open-access, collaborative learning environments maintain a separate academic calendar and curricula to conduct year-round, off-site and multi-disciplinary projects.

Yasuda is principal investigator for recent grants from the California Arts Council, the Santa Barbara Foundation and the Pearl Chase Community Development Fund to support temporary and long-term permanent public arts and development programs in Isla Vista. With the Santa Barbara Arts Commission, Yasuda is the founding director of the inaugural program for LightWorks,a community-based, illuminated public art and residency program featuring temporary works by emerging and distinguished California artists in the downtown central parks of Isla Vista, California.