The Wildling Museum in Solvang is a unique institution that is dedicated to showcasing the beauty of wildlife and the wildernesses in which they live. Striving to inspire a greater appreciation of the natural world and the wildlife that lives within it, the Wildling Museum displays paintings, photography, sculpture and other mediums that focus on various themes of wild places and their fauna. The Museum also offers nature-related activities such as nature walks and art classes for all ages.
The mission of the Wildling Museum is to inspire, educate and encourage visitors to take a greater interest in the natural world and contribute towards conserving the fast-dwindling wilderness areas through art. A variety of artistic, educational, and field experiences of nature are offered in line with this vision and mission.
Established in 1997 by artist and conservation advocate Patti Jacquemain and opened to the public in 2000, the Wildling Museum was first situated in the historic Keenan Hartley House in Los Olivos before moving to a larger location in Solvang where it currently resides today. Since its founding, the Wildling Museum has been using art as a tool to inspire and educate the public about caring for and conserving nature’s fast-declining natural and wilderness areas and has hosted over 60 incredible art exhibitions, displays, educational programs, and tours. The Wilding Museum features new facilities such as classrooms and galleries for educational purposes, which can also be hired for private use.
The Wildling Museum has a modest, yet growing permanent collection of nature-related art, ranging from abstract bronze sculptures to large-scale historical paintings. The collection features 105 pieces, which include several oil paintings by historical painter John Fery and photography by artists such as Roger Craton, Richard Salas, Jeff Jones, Tom Millea, and Ines Roberts. Other artists represented in the Museum’s permanent collection include Everett Ruess, Russell Chatham, Lockwood de Forest and Ray Strong.
The second-floor gallery of the Museum features a new permanent exhibit of a mural depicting a Valley Oak habitat created by artist John Iwerks. The iconic painting depicts the typical habitat of the Santa Ynez Valley, as well as a variety of local animals from deer, magpies, owls and red-tailed hawks. The exhibit aims to create awareness of the natural beauty of the area, the broad diversity of wildlife that lives within it, and the threats that the magnificent oaks face today.
The Wildling Museum offers visitors a unique perspective on the vital importance of conserving and preserving natural heritage through a variety of rotating exhibitions held throughout the year. Since opening, the Museum has hosted more than 60 shows, featuring remarkable works that enable visitors to renew their relationship with nature through the eyes of the artist. Featured artists have included Georgia O’Keeffe, Carl Oscar Borg, Ansel Adams, Maynard Dixon, and contemporary artist Clyde Butcher whose exhibition was dedicated to bringing awareness to specific wilderness areas.
The Wildling Museum offers an array of educational programs and events for all ages, ranging from Artist Talk Series and Nature Photography Competitions to a Spring BBQ and KidKraft art classes. KidKraft offers art classes for children of all ages every second Saturday of the month where they will learn how to make a mask or draw an animal under the expert guide of professional teachers. Artist Talk Series occur on the last Sunday of every month and offer the chance for visitors to meet some of the artists behind the amazing works in the exhibitions, learn more about their technique, thought processes and inspiration. The Wildling Museum also partners with Solvang and Buellton Rec to offer fun and educational excursions to explore the beauty of nature, art, and culture in the Solvang area.
Every spring the famous Annual Spring Barbecue is held at a beautiful outdoor venue such as a ranch or wine farm somewhere in Santa Barbara County and offers Wildling supporters the chance to meet other nature and art lovers while relaxing in stunning surroundings. The Spring Barbecue features appetizers, delicious Valley wines, silent auction items and exciting raffle prizes, along with a delicious barbecue dinner and live music – all in support of nature conservation.
The Wildling Museum is located at 1511-B Mission Drive in Solvang and is open to the public Monday through Friday (closed on Tuesdays) from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm, and Saturdays and Sundays from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm.
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1511-B Mission Drive, Solvang, CA 93463, Phone: 805-688-1082