Out in Lompoc, California, there are 300 acres of land, largely untouched and set aside for a special purpose. Here the some 400 wild horses of Return to Freedom’s American Wild Horse Sanctuary roam free. RTF is dedicated to preserving the freedom, diversity, and habitat of America’s wild horses through sanctuary, education and conservation.
In the service of their mission, RTF has also become an inspiration to photographers, and artists of all types. During the summer months, several photographers from across the country make excursions to RTF in hopes of catching images of horses in nature. The sanctuary even offers guided photo clinics and safaris.
It was on one of these special visits to RTF that staff members of the nearby Wilding Museum in Solvang, California, conceived the idea for their latest exhibit – Wild Spirit: Horses in Art. At first the plan was simply to put on a show to support RTF. But soon RTF began connecting the museum with some of the artists who spend time at the sanctuary regularly, and the connection between sanctuary and show room grew.
Finally, last month Wilding unveiled their new exhibit, which features twenty-three artists representing nine different mediums, including photographer Elissa Kline’s Ghost Herd Installation, painter Douglass Parshall’s grazing horses, sculptor Pat Roberts’ running horses, and the work of RTF photography clinicians Tony Stromberg and Kimerlee Curyl. In addition, the exhibit is filled with useful information about the history of the horse and how it lives in the wild.
This special exhibit will be on view from January 17, 2015 – June 1, 2015 at the Wildling Museum (1511-B Mission Drive, Solvang CA 93463). General admission is $5. Children 16 and under and Wildling members are free.