The Wildling moved into 1511-A and B Mission Drive in Solvang over the winter holidays. Their offices and gift store have been open to the public since mid-January and they have continued to keep a busy calendar of programs at off-site locations. “We miss having our galleries and exhibitions, but are keeping busy by offering a wide range of programs and activities. Planning and executing the renovation is a big project for us as well,” stated executive director Stacey Otte.
The move to Solvang was made in order to serve the community better by having a larger facility more centrally located, allowing them to expand their programming and exhibitions. In their old Los Olivos facility, they had one primary gallery that was about 900 square feet. Solvang, by contrast, has several spaces that combined offer over 2,400 square feet for exhibitions. The new space also features a multipurpose meeting room that will be used for art classes, workshops, lectures, and meetings. It will be made available to local nonprofit groups and can also be rented by outside groups.
“This new facility represents an exciting opportunity for the Wildling and our community. We offer something very unique by our focus on marrying art and nature, something that no one else does and something that is innately collaborative in nature. This new, larger facility will really let our vision and mission flourish,” said Otte.
The process of preparing the space has taken longer than anticipated, in large part due to required seismic building upgrades. In addition, obtaining the building permit has been slower than hoped for, although not unusual for such projects. The staff are anticipating that the museum can re-open its doors this summer but are hoping for continued community support in the meantime. “It’s challenging not having our doors open for such an extended time period,” says Otte. “Now that we are entering our final phase of construction, we really hope people continue to financially support us this spring and summer. We are in the middle of a membership drive and hope to add 100 new members by the end of May. In addition, we do still need funds for the construction, although we’re very grateful for the amount of support we’ve already achieved.”
If you would like to support the Wildling, please visit their newly revamped website at www.wildlingmuseum.org, or gift shop and make a donation in person. The shop is open Wed-Monday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Gift shop purchases support the museum and features a unique assortment of gifts, books and videos.
To learn more about the Wildling Museum visit their website. To volunteer or become a member, call 805-686-8216.