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Solvang’s wildlife center renamed to the ‘California Nature Art Museum’

SOLVANG, Calif. — Solvang's wildlife center, formerly known as The Wildling Museum, was renamed to the California Nature Art Museum.

The new name change comes as the museum enters its 24th year since Solvang artist Patti Jacquemain first originally founded the wildlife exhibit and opened its doors in 2000.

On Thursday, January 18th, the Cal-NAM became official and was announced at a special celebration.

Since the museum moved from Los Olivos to Solvang in 2013, its hosted and organized over 100 shows. The museum has included nationally renowned artists like Ansel Adams, Georgia O’Keeffe, Maynard Dixon, Carl Oscar Borg, as well as regional artists like Ray Strong — dedicated to bringing awareness to specific wilderness areas.

According to the Cal-NAM Executive Director Stacey Otte-Demangate, the museum needed a name that could catch the publics eye and says what they do, while still honoring the original vision of its founder.

“The exhibits and educational programs we offer reinforce that, allowing our community and visitors to experience the beauty of art, and the nature all around us which inspires it," said Otte-Demangate. "While not being preachy, our exhibition and education choices will certainly reflect the need for conservation of wilderness and open spaces here in the Golden State.”

Guest will be able to enjoy three to four different exhibitions, says the Cal-NAM.

The first-floor exhibition space has been renamed The Wildling Gallery. The exhibition features larger shows, but it can also be subdivided into different exhibitions.

Valley Oak Gallery, which is the second-floor, is dedicated to telling stories of the Tri-County area (Ventura, Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo) or issues relevant to the region.

George and Barbara Goodall Education Center is the third-floor that features hands-on activities like nature journaling, animal origami and more. According to the Cal-NAM, the exhibition will soon be further developed by new assistant director Rachel Metz.

Kevin G. Walthers, current Allan Hancock College President and incoming Board President for Cal-NAM believes “a more recognizable" name was needed to attract visitors.

"The exhibits curated by our incredible staff are truly amazing, and we are confident the new name will ensure that more people see the California Nature Art Museum as an important must-see destination," said Walthers. "So come visit, take a class, attend an event. We look forward to welcoming you soon.”

A brief presentation, on Thursday, featured Cal-NAM board members, past president Kevin Patterson, Walthers, Otte-Demangate, Jacquemain, California representative Senator Monique Limon and California Assemblymember Gregg Hart, Solvang Mayor Mark Infanti, Buellton Mayor David King and photographer George Rose.

The Cal-NAM will be open from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. (except Tuesday and Wednesday) and during weekends from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

For more information about the Cal-NAM visit their website.

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Bryan Hernandez

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