Beyond the Windmills

"Beyond the Windmills" assemblage by artist R. Anthony Askew.

CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

With no shortages of windmills or Danish architectural design themes in Solvang, local residents and out-of-town visitors can find inspiration from art exhibits that are a little off the beaten path.

Featuring eclectic works by acclaimed artists, Saturday, Aug. 26, marks the debut of a new art exhibit at the Elverhoj Museum of History and Art. “Beyond the Windmills: The Barry Berkus & Family Collection” features more than a dozen accomplished area artists, who have been busy creating inspired works for the new exhibit.

“Artists are being invited to revisit or reinterpret their original artwork in the Berkus Collection,” exhibition curator Rita Ferri said. “Using the town of Solvang and Santa Ynez Valley as a springboard, artists will look beyond the tourist facade, beyond the windmills and wooden rooftop storks and see what new insights they can find.”

The display features painting, sculpture, photography, assemblage and mixed media works. All will be displayed side by side with earlier works as part of the Barry Berkus and Family Art Collection. Gifted to the Santa Barbara County Arts Commission, the collection includes works by more than 60 area artists, dating back to the early 1970s.

Exhibited artists include R. Anthony Askew, Bob DeBris, Sky Bergman, Macduff Everton, Colin Gray, Mary Heebner, Lenore Hughes, Sheldon Kaganoff, Philip Koplin, Virginia McCracken, Wayne McCall, Nicole Strasburg, Dug Uyesaka and Seyburn Zorthian.

Philanthropist Barry Berkus (1935–2012), a visionary and award-winning internationally recognized architect, began collecting art in the 1950s while in college. As his collection grew to include many important works, he was named among the world’s top 200 art collectors. In 2006, Barry — along with wife Jo and family — donated his collection of area artists in memory of his late wife Gail, where it is presided over by the Santa Barbara County Office of Arts and Culture.

The public is invited to meet the museum curator, artists and members of the Berkus family at a reception on opening day from 4:30 to 6 p.m. A prereception talk begins at 4 p.m., and there is no charge to attend.

The exhibit will be on view through Nov. 12. Related exhibit programming includes a slide lecture on Sep. 9 at 3 p.m. and workshops in drawing and collage on Oct. 7 and 21.

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