If the exterior walls of the Eastside Library could talk, they would be laughing, singing, and yelling about adventures promised — and delivered — by books, knowledge, and education. This Wednesday marked the grand unveiling of a new outdoor mural, 80 feet wide and epic in scope, painted by teens associated with the Franklin Neighborhood Center and crammed with images and icons taken from an eclectic grab bag of multicultural references. The project was sponsored by the S.B. Arts Alliance in conjunction with the city library system and directed by noted Santa Barbara muralist Manuel Unzueta.
But most of the actual painting, which began last November, was done by a handful of youthful artists now propelling a new wave of civic murals. Many of those involved with the library effort first cut their teeth on the Bohnett Park mural project completed last summer and, more recently, with the transformation of four Franklin Center offices and rooms into a maze of indoor murals, a fusion of reimagined comic-book art, stylized Chicano pride, retro-psychedelia, and classic Japanese woodblock style.