The Wildling is delighted to now offer an exciting new permanent feature at the museum. In the summer of 2016, artist John Iwerks created a mural depicting a Valley Oak habitat – one of the most iconic natural features of the Santa Ynez Valley. Amidst the tree are a variety of local animals – mule deer, owls, magpies, red-tailed hawks and much more. The 8’ by 10’ mural is now a permanent feature of the second floor gallery and launches a new endeavor to create a gallery that focuses on the Santa Barbara region. The first floor gallery will remain an art space that features a variety of nature art from a wide geographic scope.
The goals of the mural are to bring awareness to the unique natural beauty of our area, the diversity of species we see, and the threats these oaks face today. Other components will be added soon to maximize the educational value of the mural for all ages. Coming soon, thanks to a grant from the Santa Ynez Valley Foundation, the Wildling will have a looping audio showcasing the natural sounds to be heard in an oak habitat, video clips, interpretive panels and more.
The mural is the first tangible progress to have come from a strategic planning effort in summer 2015 which was aided by input from many community members. The Wilding is very grateful to the Hutton Parker Foundation and other individual donors for their contributions to the mural project.
Artist John Iwerks was commissioned to do the mural based on his extensive experience in other mural projects throughout the area including Carrizo National Monument, Channel Islands National Park, California State Northridge, Sedgwick Reserve, Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History and more. Iwerks is also a member of the respected Oak Group and is a former caretaker of Arroyo Hondo and amateur naturalist.