Wilding Museum Reopens 1

Artist Kevin Gleason's oil painting "Lake Los Carneros After the Rain," is displayed on linen. His work is among 38 works of art on view in Art from the Trail: Exploring the Natural Beauty of Santa Barbara County.

The Wildling Museum of Art and Nature has reopened to the public and is featuring two new exhibitions — Contemporary Meditations on Nature, on view through Sept. 5, and Art from the Trail: Exploring the Natural Beauty of Santa Barbara County, on view through Oct. 3.

Public walk-in hours are 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays, while museum members also may visit by appointment from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday. 

A museum spokeswoman noted that museum hours will be expanded over time.

Holli Harmon and Nicole Strasburg, co-curators of the Contemporary Meditations on Nature exhibit, invite viewers to engage with art through the eyes of 11 artists who created a series of work that explore some element of nature, a museum spokeswoman said.

“This show speaks to a labor of love,” Harmon said. “These artists have invested countless hours and creative reflection from their explorations and recordings of nature, and in doing so, they help us stop time and look more closely and thoughtfully at our natural world.”

Featured artists include Scott Chatenever, Lynn Hanson, Dorothy Churchill-Johnson, Karen Kitchel, Maria Rendón, John Robertson, Sommer Roman, Carol Saindon, Catherine Eaton Skinner, Libby Smith and Nicole Strasburg.

Strasburg explained that the artists' perspectives reveal a diverse commentary on nature "through meditative repetition" from their individual environments, which invite viewers to find beauty in both quiet and dramatic moments in nature.

“Despite the quarantine, creativity bubbles forth just as nature finds a way to survive and thrive,” she said.

The second juried art exhibit, Art from the Trail: Exploring the Natural Beauty of Santa Barbara County, is located on the first floor of the museum and features 38 works of art created by 27 local artists.

Member artists of the Oak Group, SLOPE (San Luis Outdoor Painters for the Environment) and SCAPE (Southern California Artists Painting for the Environment) were invited by the Wildling to participate in the juried invitational exhibition showcasing the trail systems in Santa Barbara County.

Those selected, according to the spokeswoman, were invited to exhibit their works of art. The overall theme celebrates the outdoor treasures of the Central Coast, highlighting trails from the South Coast, Santa Ynez Valley, Santa Maria Valley and Lompoc Valley regions. Other trails featured are located at the Carpinteria Bluffs, Goleta’s Lake Los Carneros and Ellwood Mesa, La Purisima State Historic Park and Cachuma Lake.

She said the primary goal of the exhibition is to raise awareness of the wealth of trails located in Santa Barbara County and to inspire visitors and community members to explore them, while encouraging a healthier lifestyle.

The project was accomplished in partnership with Healthy People Healthy Trails and the Santa Barbara County Trails Council, the spokeswoman noted.

Artists include Liz Alvarez, Anne Anderson, Neil W. Andersson, Rebecca Arguello, Susan Belloni, Deborah Breedon, Chris Chapman, Dennis Curry, Rick Drake, Karen Fedderson, Jan French, Britt Friedman, Kevin Gleason, Sandi Heller, Holly Hungett, Jane Hurd, John Iwerks, Daniel Jones, Bernie Kurtz, Anne Laddon, Manny Lopez, Jerry Martin, Ann Sanders, Rosanne Seitz, Laurel Sherrie, Libby Smith and Nina Warner.

“Through the pandemic, I think we’ve all begun to look for new ways to explore our own backyard,” said Lauren Sharp, assistant director at the Wildling Museum. “Seeing these trails through the eyes of our talented community of artists is an inspiring reminder to get outside and up close with the rich nature surrounding us.”

Museum staff advise visitors to check out www.wildlingmuseum.org/visit for up-to-date hours of operation and COVID-19 notifications. 

For questions or to arrange a museum visit, contact Julie Mock at julie@wildlingmuseum.org or 805-688-1082.

Lisa André covers lifestyles and local news for Santa Ynez Valley News and Lompoc Record. 

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