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Westmont Ridley-Tree Museum of Art to Host ‘Bonjour de France!’ Family Day

A young girl gets her face painted at a past family day event.
A young girl gets her face painted at a past family day event. (Westmont College photo)

“Bonjour de France!” a family day celebrating French culture and including fun activities, crafts, food, music and performances, will be held on the grounds of the Westmont Ridley-Tree Museum of Art from 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. Saturday, March 5, 2016.

The festival, which is free and open to all ages, will have food and items in the French flea market for sale. Parking on campus is free, with overflow parking available at Montecito Covenant Church, 671 Cold Springs Road.

“We’re proud to offer our community another fun and educational family day,” says Shari Isaac, president of the museum board of advisors. “Bonjour de France!’ is sure to be another great success where families can enjoy and celebrate French art and culture right here in Santa Barbara.”

Entertainment will include the Montecito School of Ballet, Santa Barbara Festival Ballet, Destination Dance and Performing Arts, Jessica Fichot and her band, Accordion International Music Society, Derek the Mime and a puppet theater.

Fichot, singing in French, is a Paris-born chanteuse/songwriter, now based in Los Angeles. Her band, which includes P.J. Wyderka (upright bass), Sylvain Carton (clarinet, sax) and Adrien Prevost (guitar), fuses styles to take the listener on a twisting journey. She has performed in France, China, Spain, Mexico, Canada and across the U.S.

The accordion society is a nonprofit public benefit club that plays at a variety of community and cultural events around Santa Barbara.

Inside the museum, a Westmont string quartet and a harpist, Alexandra Nieuwsma, will perform classical French music.

“We have come to every Westmont family day over the last six years with our three kids, and we just love this event,” says Joshua Jensen, museum patron. “There are always lots of activities from which to choose. My three kids love the creative crafts. This is the best free event in Santa Barbara for families to enjoy together.”

The museum, which holds these festivals every other year, has hosted Japanese Family Day (2010), Días de Mexico (2012) and American Family Folk Festival (2014), attracting more than 2,000 people to campus for each event.

“Creativity, productivity and friend and family fun abound at the Westmont Ridley-Tree Museum of Art’s family days,” says Tony Askew, Westmont professor emeritus and art council member. “The enthusiasm and energy of a true cultural experience is what I have experienced at these family events. Young and old have hands-on opportunities to be entertained, to play, to create and to truly enjoy artistic experiences on the beautiful Westmont campus.”

The Westmont Art Council and Jennifer Johnson, art council president, coordinate the Family Day festivities.

Westmont offers the family day in conjunction with an exhibition, “Barbizon, Realism, and Impressionism in France,” which is on display through March 19 at the Westmont Ridley-Tree Museum of Art.

The exhibition features prominent artists associated with the famed Barbizon, realism and impressionism schools, including Eugène Boudin, Gustave Caillebotte, Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, Gustave Courbet, Charles-François Daubigny, Narcisse Virgile Díaz de la Peña, Jules Dupré, Henri-Joseph Harpignies, Charles-Emile Jacque, Henri Matisse, Jean-François Millet, Théodore Rousseau and Constant Troyon.

The museum is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. and 11 a.m. - 5 p.m. Saturdays. It is closed Sundays and college holidays.

For more information, please visit www.westmontmuseum.org or contact the museum at 805.565.6162.

Scott Craig is the manager of media relations at Westmont College.


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