Friday, July 20 , 2018, 7:08 am | Overcast 66º


Artist John Iwerks Begins Brushwork on Wildling Museum Mural

The Wildling Museum of Art and Nature is proud to announce an exciting new permanent feature at the museum. Since July 19, artist John Iwerks has been hard at work creating a mural depicting a Valley Oak habitat, one of the most iconic natural features of the Santa Ynez Valley.

Amidst the tree will be a variety of local animals, including mule deer, owls, magpies, red-tailed hawks and much more.

The 8’-by-10’ mural will be a permanent feature of the second floor gallery and it is the first effort of a new endeavor to create a gallery that focuses on the Santa Barbara region. 

The first floor gallery will remain an art space that features a variety of nature art from a wide geographic scope.

The goal of the mural is to bring awareness to the unique natural beauty of our area, the diversity of species we see and the threats these oaks face today.

Other components will be added soon to maximize the educational value of the mural for all ages. Pending funding, the Wildling will have a looping audio showcasing the natural sounds to be heard in an oak habitat, video clips, interpretive panels and more.

The mural is the first tangible progress to have come from a strategic planning effort in summer 2015, which was aided by input from many community members.

Artist John Iwerks begins painting his mural at the Wildling Museum of Art and Nature. A formal unveiling of the finished work will take place fall 2016. Click to view larger
Artist John Iwerks begins painting his mural at the Wildling Museum of Art and Nature. A formal unveiling of the finished work will take place fall 2016. (Wildling Museum photo)

The Wilding is very grateful to the Hutton Parker Foundation and other individual donors for their contributions to the mural project.

Artist John Iwerks was commissioned to do the mural based on his extensive experience in other mural projects throughout the area, including Carrizo National Monument, Channel Islands National Park, California State Northridge, Sedgwick Reserve, Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History and more. 

An amateur naturalist, Iwerks is also a member of the respected Oak Group and is a former caretaker of Arroyo Hondo.

The Wildling is posting progress on the mural regularly on their social media outlets (Facebook and Instagram) and its website. A ribbon cutting ceremony will be planned for fall 2016, when the mural is scheduled to be completed.

For more information, to volunteer and/or join as a museum member to support this important local arts and nature institution, visit

Katie Pearson is the assistant director of the Wildling Museum.


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