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Sunday, December 9 , 2018, 4:27 pm | Fair 64º


Go on Safari in Waller Park to View Animal Sculptures

Wildlife artworks created by late Santa Barbara County artist Morris Squire

A lazy tiger sculpture finds a shady spot at Waller Park.
A lazy tiger sculpture finds a shady spot at Waller Park. (Santa Barbara County)

The Santa Barbara County Office of Arts and Culture, in cooperation with County Parks, will present a temporary exhibition of animal sculptures set near the Duck Pond at Waller Park, 3107 Orcutt Road, Santa Maria.

The exhibit is a nod to the park’s history when it also served as a community zoo. A free public reception and community painting event will take place 2-3 p.m. Saturday, March 3, at the park.

Over the years, Waller Park hosted rabbits and native animals as well as a bear, a buffalo and a camel. The Duck Pond near the upcoming installation was once home to Monkey Island, where monkeys roamed the little island in the middle of the pond.

Over the years, most of the animals were relocated to the Santa Barbara and Atascadero zoos. Waller Park still welcomes four-legged friends at its off-leash dog park, and pony rides are available on weekends for $3.50, provided by Happy Trails Pony Rides.

Bob Nelson, chief of staff for 4th Dist. Supervisor Peter Adam, will attend for the opening. Nelson remembers spending a lot of time at the park as a child.

“Waller Park continues to evolve, from monkeys and BMX race tracks to disc golf and softball fields, its role as a community recreational space for local families carries on," he said. "This exhibit is the next step forward for the park while acknowledging the park’s rich past.”

George Johnston, Friends of Waller Park chairman, said, "Growing up in Santa Maria, I remember the buffalo and monkeys; my sister remembers peacocks. This is a great opportunity to look at animals in the park."

Animal sculptures created by late Santa Barbara County artist Morris Squire are on loan from the Squire Foundation, which is dedicated to civic and educational programs for artists, curators and all manner of creative people.

“We look forward to creating a fun art experience and something to be proud of; a creation the community will want to come back and visit,” said Nicole C. Berry, Squire Foundation artist in residence.

The Santa Barbara County Office of Arts and Culture is a division of the county’s Community Services Department, serving as the local governmental umbrella for arts and culture projects and programs within Santa Barbara County.

The office represents a longstanding partnership between Santa Barbara County and the city of Santa Barbara. For more than 35 years, both governments have shared resources and staff to maximize support for Santa Barbara arts and culture institutions, programs, initiatives and projects.

The Office of Arts and Culture and County Arts Commission is engaged in an ongoing partnership with Santa Barbara County Parks. The Lake Cachuma Recreation Area continues to host the colorful pop-up installation of “Runaway” by SPORTS at its loading dock.

For information about the Office of Arts and Culture and County Arts Commission, visit http://www.sbac.ca.gov/.

— Gina DePinto for Santa Barbara County.


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