“This move was prompted by the results of our strategic planning process which we completed this spring. Our focus is to create a more financially sustainable institution with increased exposure to the public. Essentially, we want and need to serve more people. The new space we’ve secured at 1511-B Mission (corner of Fifth and Mission/246) is larger, which allows us to have 3-5 exhibitions displayed at any one time, and offers better programming spaces. We are very excited by the opportunities this affords us,” said executive director Stacey Otte.
The Wildling will be able to add a new feature in the Solvang space: a wilderness resource center—a “one-stop shop” concept for anyone interested in exploring the natural areas to be enjoyed throughout Santa Barbara County. The museum will work with various groups around the county to offer information, maps and brochures at the new location. “Part of the mission of the museum is to inspire our visitors to get out and enjoy nature for themselves, so this is a way for us to do this more effectively. Our county is incredibly rich in diverse natural areas, and we want to connect our visitors to those opportunities,” explained Otte.
The Wildling will close the Los Olivos location on December 3. Current estimates for opening the new location are March or April. Despite not having a facility open, the staff and volunteers will continue to serve the public by presenting exhibits, lectures, workshops and trips throughout the winter months, until the Solvang facility is ready. “We are looking for spaces in Lompoc, Santa Maria, Goleta, Los Alamos and Santa Barbara to offer exhibits and programs. We also need new volunteers to get involved and help us with presenting the programs,” said Otte.
To volunteer and/or join as a member to support this important local arts and nature institution, call 805-686-8216 or visit their website.