Marc Muench photograph of Figueroa Mountain Under the Milky Way on May 26, 2015. (Marc Muench)

The Wildling Museum of Art and Nature will present Starry Nights: Visions of the Night Sky, opening Feb. 1 in the museum’s main gallery, 1511-B Mission Drive, Solvang. The exhibit is on view until June 15.

The expanse of the open night sky has served as a source of wonder for artists, poets and scientists across cultures and millennia. The exhibit celebrates the awe-inspiring beauty and mystery of the night across a range of media, including painting and photography, as well as poetry by Dan Gerber.

“The Wildling is in the middle of the Santa Ynez Valley, which is no stranger to sightings of the Milky Way, but most people don’t get to have nightly visits with the stars the way we do,” said executive director Stacey Otte-Demangate.

“We hope this exhibition inspires wonder and appreciation for our night skies through a wide variety of artistic interpretations, but also reminds people not to take our views for granted,” she said.

Featured works range from astrophotography, captured by Goleta’s Las Cumbres Observatory telescope network, to the nocturne paintings of early California artists including Fernand Lungren, Lockwood de Forest and Charles Rollo Peters.

Contemporary dreamscapes by Nathan Huff; twilight desert landscapes by Eric Merrell; and night sky photography, including recent works by third-generation photographer Marc Muench, are among the works encompassing the exhibit.

Starry Nights: Visions of the Night Sky also serves to illuminate the growing issue of light pollution — a modern phenomenon currently reported to impact more than 83 percent of the world’s population — and current local efforts to reduce its effects for the protection of nocturnal species.

An opening reception for the public is set for 3-5 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 1, at the Wildling Museum. Admission is free. Guests are asked to RSVP in advance by emailing Julie Mock at or calling 805-686-8315.

Starry Nights: Visions of the Night Sky is curated by Otte-Demangate, and Lauren Sharp, assistant Director. Gerber has curated a selection of poetry to accompany the display.

Gerber is the author of nine collections of poetry, most recently, “Particles: New & Selected Poems” (Copper Canyon Press 2017), three novels, a book of short stories, and two books of nonfiction. His work has appeared in The Nation, The New Yorker, Poetry, Partisan Review, Caliban, Narrative, and Best American Poetry.

His books have received Book of the Year awards from Foreword Magazine and The Society of Mid-land Authors, a Michigan Notable Book Award, and The Mark Twain Award.

A former professional race-car driver, Gerber has also traveled extensively as a journalist, particularly in Africa. He has been writer-in-residence at Michigan State University and Grand Valley State University and has taught at universities, libraries, schools and museums throughout the U.S. and England. He and his family live near Santa Ynez.

Las Cumbres Observatory (LCO) is a nonprofit corporation revolutionizing research and education in astronomy. LCO scientists and engineers have created a unique global network of robotic telescopes that operates as a single astronomical Observatory.

Researches from any location are able to make discoveries with the Observatory around the clock. LCO’s own scientists in California study asteroids crossing the orbit of Earth, new planets belonging to other stars, stars being torn apart by black holes, and the characteristics of supernovae and black holes in distant galaxies.

For more information, visit www.

— Lauren Sharp for Wildling Museum.