Dennis Curry, Sedgwick Reserve, 2013, Oil on canvas. | Credit: Courtesy the Artist.

The beauty of Santa Barbara County’s natural environment has drawn people from all over the world for centuries. However, unknown to many local residents, a natural treasure, Sedgwick Nature Reserve, lies within the San Rafael Mountains, and it has recently become the subject of Wildling Museum’s latest exhibit, Sedgwick Reserve: A Conservation Story

Nina Warner, Early Moonrise (Sedgwick Reserve), Oil on panel, | Credit: Courtesy the Artist.

“When we saw the news that Sedgwick had just celebrated a big anniversary last year, we realized we had never had our own exhibition of artwork from the reserve,” said Wildling Museum Executive Director Stacey Otte-Demangate. “We knew of many artists who painted out there and began reaching out and quickly put together a show that illustrates the diverse landscape of Sedgwick. We’re so pleased to raise more awareness of this hidden gem and the wonderful scientific research that happens there, as part of the UCSB natural reserve system.”

Sedgwick Nature Reserve is one of seven reserves managed by UC Santa Barbara and is known for hosting a diverse array of wildlife as well as being among the largest reserves in the county. With approximately 6,000 acres of land and a number of different habitats, conservators have looked to protect and maintain its unique beauty for years and became a part of the Natural Reserve System in 1997. Some artists featured in the exhibit, such as partners John Iwerks and Chris Chapman, were even a part of the conservation effort and have taken inspiration from Sedgwick for years.

Bruce Everett, Figueroa Creek, 2012, Oil on canvas, Courtesy the Artist.

Wildling Museum celebrated the opening of the exhibition in Solvang with a public reception on April 16. The exhibit itself features the works of 11 Santa Barbara County-based artists, including Iwerks and Chapman, as well as Whitney Abbott, Dennis Curry, Camille Dellar, Bill Dewey, Bruce Everett, Russ Hunziker, Manny Lopez, Mark Oliver, and Nina Warner. With a range of mediums such as paint and photography, their work highlights not only the beauty of the reserve but also much of the important conservation work taking place there. 

“This small exhibit has some great images in it that show the beauty and diversity of the area,” said featured artist and plein air painter Nina Warner. “If my work helps to bring a broader awareness and appreciation to this special place, it is worth sharing with the public.”

Sedgwick Reserve: A Conservation Story can be viewed in the Valley Oak Gallery at the Wildling Museum until October 16. For more information, visit

Bill Dewey, Sedgwick Reserve, December 2016, Digital photograph


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