Mauricio Robalino, a successful artist and SBCC alumnus, has made his home in the Pacific Northwest for more than three decades. He was born in Ecuador, and his work is a celebration of life rooted in nature and curiosity. In addition to showing his art in gallery settings, he has received numerous commissions to create and build large-scale sculptures and murals, often featuring mosaic tiles, for permanent installation in private and public spaces that include schools, community centers, office parks, and transit stations.

“My time at Santa Barbara City College was one of the most memorable and rewarding times in my life,” Mauricio said. “Attending SBCC made it possible for me to get a college education in art, the field that is closest to my heart as it allows me to use my imagination to express my experiences in ways that bring joy and inspiration to others.” After studying art at SBCC, he received a scholarship and transferred to the San Francisco Art Institute in 1980, where he earned his BFA before returning to Santa Barbara to earn a master’s degree in fine art at UCSB in 1988.

Amazingly, Mauricio discovered Santa Barbara and SBCC by chance. He was young, ready for adventure, and happened to make a stop on his travels to Nevada. After exploring State Street and other parts of town, he decided to stay.

Mauricio says that from the moment he set foot on campus in 1977, his time at SBCC was filled with incredible educational and personal experiences. He decided to enroll in visual arts classes after enjoying a “fantastic $1.00 breakfast” at the campus center with a friend. After breakfast they toured the campus and discovered the brand-new Humanities building and its many art studios. He fell in love with SBCC, and later that day he registered and became a Vaquero!

“On that beautiful, fateful day, I also discovered the job board and found small jobs to keep me fed and housed,” Mauricio recalled. He also had a “fabulous gig” as a peer mentor for EOPS (Extended Opportunity Programs and Services), helping students stay focused on their education.

He had several teachers who helped him grow as an artist and a human. His favorite was Merv Lane, who taught literature and yoga. Another was Paul Lindhardt, who now runs Art City in Ventura—a “fearless but super-cool sculptor who brought life and energy to the studio. He was not afraid to bring a Bobcat tractor to campus and create new areas for his students to carve rocks and wood!”

Other memorable teachers were Ron Robertson, who taught printmaking and was very kind and patient, and Diane Handloser, a wonderful art history professor. He still has good friends from his time at SBCC, including Don Chartrand, who invited Mauricio to walk across Yosemite in the summer of 1979 (“an incredible adventure!”) and Bennett Roberts, who owns a high-end art gallery in Los Angeles.

Mauricio has built an impressive art career and life, and is thankful for having started his college art education at SBCC. You can view his work at

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