Students and faculty met to continue plans for an art installation

A planning committee on events in remembrance of the May 23, 2014 Isla Vista shootings met for the second time yesterday in the Arts Building to discuss possibilities for special memorial events and art installations this May.

The committee, which includes representatives from Associated Students, various campus organizations and university departments as well as other university and I.V. community members, reviewed several ideas initiated at their first meeting. The committee discussed specific details of the various event and art installation ideas, and members said they hope to see their plans come to fruition in the weeks surrounding the May 23 tragedy’s anniversary.

A.S. President Ali Guthy opened the meeting by restating the special committee’s objective to plan an event that reflects the student body and I.V. community’s needs.

“I really want this to be something community-generated, something that feels organic and that the community would want to see happen,” Guthy said. “It shouldn’t be something that’s official or that we need to do just because we should. It’s whatever’s right for us.”

Guthy told the committee that A.S. would help with a candlelight vigil on May 23 which she said will be similar to the vigil A.S. hosted in the days following last year’s tragedy.

“Associated Students is interested in helping to facilitate a memorial walk/candlelight vigil like we did last year,” Guthy said. “That is one of the events that I personally would like to attend and see as a member of the community.”

According to Guthy, the Surf Club will likely help with a memorial paddle-out similar to last year’s, which would take place sometime during the week after the anniversary.

“We’ve spoken with Surf Club, who hosted that last year, and they’ve expressed interest in hosting another one,” Guthy said.

A.S. Program Board Commissioner and fourth-year global studies major Benjamin Simons said the board would be able to provide logistical support for the May 23 vigil.

“We would like to help really put on the vigil,” Simon said. “We will be providing our sound system like we did last time and security like we did last time.”

Isla Vista Recreation and Parks District (IVRPD) General Manager Rodney Gould encouraged A.S. to end the walk at Perfect Park, because IVRPD will be dedicating a memorial garden there on May 16.

“We could have a stage or speakers at the end to incorporate the memorial garden,” Gould said.

Spatial Studies Professor in the art department Professor Kim Yasuda said there will likely be an art installation in Perfect Park if A.S. and the art department can gather funds to commission Bamboo DNA Founder Gerard Minakawa, who has designed structures for music festivals such as Burning Man and Coachella, to create something for the anniversary memorial.

“[He] is very interested in contributing his artistic ability … to do something appropriate that would be an illuminated structure,” Yasuda said. “Our goal is that it would be the start of a structure or even a sculpture in that park and that it becomes kind of a centerpiece.”

Yasuda said members of the art department are collaborating on a concept of a blue LED-lit pathway from campus to I.V. that would line the silent walk portion of the May 23 vigil and create a “collective force.”

“I think a concept that would be really powerful would be if we started to light things in May and then people, businesses, community members started contributing to this blue light,” Yasuda said. “Then, by the 23rd, it’s kind of an experiment in how people build solidarity.”

The art department is exploring ways to allow individual students to place the LED lights, so students who cannot or choose not to participate in the vigil can express support for the remembrance events, according to Yasuda.

“The idea is to get all stakeholders contributing something together,” said Yasuda. “If we started in May, it could accumulate by social media.”

Education and Outreach Coordinator at UCSB Alcohol & Drug Program and alumnus Marjan Riazi said the C.A.P.S. clinical staff will make themselves available at the vigil to support students in need of their services.

“A lot of the clinical staff would be happy to be there as emergency first responders for people who are triggered,” Riazi said.

Guthy said the committee is still making decisions on how they will use university emails and social media to publicize the events once plans are finalized.
“We want to get the information out — at least about the dates — sooner rather than later,” Guthy said.

A version of this story appeared on page 9 of the Thursday, April 9 print issue of the Daily Nexus.