Santa Barbara’s spectacular natural beauty takes the spotlight with Take a Hike, Save the World, an exhibition at Santa Barbara Historical Museum inspired by and designed to galvanize visitors to enjoy Santa Barbara County’s trails and public lands and join in the important work needed to help protect them.
A visual journey through historic photographic and fine art, as seen by artists and photographers beginning in 1875, the show runs through November 13.
“Our goal is to inspire our visitors to explore, enjoy, and above all preserve the natural beauty that surrounds us,” said Museum Director Dacia Harwood. “The exhibition is a reminder of the fragility of these landscapes, which are under threat, not just by development, but from the toll taken by effects of climate change, wildfires, mudslides, and extreme drought.”
Designed to encourage visitors to discover how Santa Barbara’s most scenic trails have been traveled over the centuries and how to ensure they are preserved for generations to come, the exhibition is part of the countywide museum initiative “Impact: Climate Change & the Urgency of Now.”
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Featuring late 19th- to late 20th-century paintings from the museum’s collection, the exhibition includes a 1943 painting of the Santa Ynez Valley by Francis M. Sedgwick, who donated a 6,000-acre portion of one of his ranches to become the Sedgwick Preserve. A watercolor by Ellen Cooper Baxley depicts a scene on her family’s Ellwood Cooper Ranch. Once spanning 2,000 acres, portions of the former ranch are now preserved as the Sperling Preserve on the Ellwood Mesa and the Coronado Butterfly Grove. Also featured is the Oak Group founder Ray Strong’s 1982 painting “Beyond Camino Cielo.” The Oak Group is still an active artist-environmentalist group today, using members’ work to promote preservation of open space. —Leslie Dinaberg
Admission to Santa Barbara Historical Museum is free, with current hours Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays from noon-5 p.m. and Thursdays from noon-7 p.m. See sbhistorical.org.