Volunteer Spotlight: Stephen Duneier

Over the past month, Stephen Duneier, also known as the Yarnbomber, has been generously volunteering his time to support several of Youth Interactive’s youth programs, and we would like to use this space to thank him for his hard work and dedication in support of our mission. It has been wonderful having Stephen share his experiences and expertise as a self-taught artist with our young artists and entrepreneurs who are so eager to learn from him.

While it was inspiring to all of us at Youth Interactive to hear his life story and philosophy, Stephen has gone the extra mile to support two of our youth programs in specific efforts. Social media and word-of-mouth buzz have been integral to the magic of his artworks in the field, so the YI Creative Studio social media and communications team have engaged him to mentor their work. As our t-shirt design and screen-printing team, formerly known as Havok, seeks to re-brand themselves, they have also sought advice from Stephen. His work here has been invaluable, and we hope to have him in the center for many more Saturdays to come!

We are not the only group excited about Stephen’s work lately. Earlier this month, Stephen and his work were featured in Newsweek; read “The Guerrilla Art of the Yarn Bomb Goes Natural” to learn more about his work. Also, be sure to visit his site,, to see some striking images of his pieces and the labor that went into each project. We hope these reads make you want to see him at work at Youth Interactive - or to hike into the hills around Santa Barbara in search of his next project!

(Photo credit Stephen Duneier,

Ridiculous Dreams, Beautiful Walls

Last weekend, the YI Creative Studio had a great afternoon meeting with Stephen Duneier, better known as the Yarnbomber, talking about his dreams, art, and accomplishing the ridiculous.

“I’ve had a lifetime of ridiculous dreams, and done everything I could to make them happen,” he told the YI Creative Studio team. This semester, he has generously donated his time to work with our artists and interns to build their presence online and in our community within Santa Barbara.

Check out Stephen’s work online at - or hike into the mountains around Santa Barbara to see them in person!


The gallery team enjoyed a respite outside checking out Zio Ziegler’s mural on Reds down the street. Zio’s mural is stunning, and our artists were excited to watch and learn from him as he worked. The work behind the scenes was typical of the collaborative efforts to make the Funk Zone a hotbed of creativity: Marcello Ricci and the Santa Barbara Arts Fund as well as a grant from the Santa Barbara County Arts Commission made the invite to Zio possible and secured funding for the mural, and the art could not have been realized without the wall donated by Reds, which has been home to so many great works of art.


The collaborative art continues this weekend with a group show at Gone Gallery. Their new show, Made You Look, opens tomorrow night, Friday, March 6 from 5:00-8:00 pm. Several of the artists in the show have volunteered their time and expertise as mentors at Youth Interactive, including Skye Gwilliam, David Diamant, and Danny Meza. In all, the show features over one dozen artists, and they are all helping make the Funk Zone the most creative space in Santa Barbara.

Connecting with the Community: Partners in Education & Living Local


Last week, Youth Interactive attended the San Marcos High School Community Service Fair, which was organized and run by Partners in Education. We brought samples of work produced by our youth groups, asked students about what they wanted to see from the first youth-led gallery and shop in the Funk Zone, and asked how they wanted to help make those goals come true.

Through events like this, Partners in Education helps creative and entrepreneurial students from across Santa Barbara County get involved in our programming. Our youth-led businesses truly would not be the same without them. Partners also helps us connect with the talented volunteers that keep our center running smoothly. The first step to get involved with us - or with any other organization working with students in our community - is to sign up with Partners in Education today!

The event also gave us the chance to catch up with Gail Kvistad, host of Living Local Santa Barbara, a show that highlights local organizations that are integral to the fabric of Santa Barbara and doing good in our community. Gail visited Youth Interactive in the fall and interviewed our youth to learn more about the wonderful work they do. You can watch the Living Local segment on Youth Interactive at Living Local Santa Barbara’s Facebook page. We are so grateful that Gail and Living Local gave us and our youth the opportunity to tell our story, and we look forward to many more chances to connect with our community - whether on television or in high school courtyards!


Thank you for helping make our Valentine’s Day a special one! Youth Interactive’s Creative Studio held its second opening on Saturday, with three hours of live music, food, and art. We were overwhelmed by your turnout and support for the Funk Zone’s first youth-led gallery.

This Saturday, the team will resume planning their next big projects, including another Funk Zone mural. Stay tuned for more details!

And if you couldn’t make it to last weekend’s show, stop by and check out our new art, Funk Zone apparel, handmade bags, pillows, and more! Our shop is open Tuesdays through Saturdays, from noon through 5:00.