The Wildling Museum was founded in 1997 by Santa Barbara artist Patti Jacquemain who felt that a museum showcasing beautiful art of wilderness areas could help to educate and inspire new audiences to care about the preservation of our country’s dwindling natural areas.
The museum first opened its doors at the historic Keenan Hartley House in Los Olivos in 2000 and began its a tradition of organizing inspiring art exhibitions and programs. In 2008 the Wildling expanded to a new location on San Marcos Avenue. This larger space exposed us to new audiences and allowed us to expand the size of our shows.
In 2011 the Wildling board and staff began an extensive planning process with the support of SCORE of Santa Barbara counselors and the amazing team at Fielding Graduate University and the input of many stakeholders. This process culminated in the adoption of a new strategic plan with five key goal areas: Financial Sustainability, Strengthen Branding and Marketing, Community Collaboration, Expansion of our Programming and Accreditation by the American Alliance of Museums.
In 2012 it was determined that a move to a new facility in Solvang would allow us to address many of these goal areas and that move was accomplished at the end of the year. The new, completely remodeled facility at 1511 B Mission Dr. opened to the public on August 24, 2013. We are excited by the many opportunities the new space offers and are pleased to be part of the Solvang community. We moved our facility to Solvang in 2013 where our exhibition space has grown from 900 sq. ft. to over 2000! At any one time you can enjoy three to five different exhibitions and artists.
Since we opened our doors in 2000, the Wildling has hosted and/or organized over 65 exhibitions. We have shared the awe-inspiring works of giants like Ansel Adams, Georgia O’Keeffe, Maynard Dixon, Carl Oscar Borg, and so many more. Our exhibitions have surveyed the early history of wilderness art and showcased contemporary artists like Clyde Butcher, dedicated to bringing awareness to specific wilderness areas.
Our first floor gallery features our larger shows but can also be subdivided into different exhibitions. Our second floor gallery is now known as the Valley Oak Gallery and is dedicated to telling stories of our tri-county area (Ventura, Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo). A permanent feature of the gallery is a marvelous wall mural executed by local artist John Iwerks. The mural is an excellent educational tool about our local oak habitats and is perfect for use by school groups (the museum does have lesson plans based on curriculum standards for several grade levels).
On the third floor our Barbara Goodall Education Center regularly features rotating community art shows by school groups, senior residence facilities, fellow art organizations, junior photography exhibitions and more. The nearby Overlook Gallery also features artworks from our permanent collection and selections from our library for the public to enjoy.
With a busy exhibition calendar, we rely on foundations and individuals like you to help support those expenses. Please consider sponsoring an exhibition or making a donation to our special Patti Jacquemain Exhibition Fund! Call 805-686-8216 for more information.