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Photo of Strasburg installation at the Wildling Museum from KCLU

A Central Coast museum has come up with a unique answer to the COVID-19 health safety orders which have kept it closed for most of the last year.  The Wildling Museum of Art and Nature sits on Mission Drive, in Solvang.  Unlike most museums, it has huge windows allowing you to look inside.  So, they came up with an idea.  Maybe people can’t go in, but they can look in. 

The museum’s Assistant Director, Lauren Sharp, says the result is two art installations designed for viewing from windows.

The museum added a new gallery during the pandemic.  It’s called the Tower Gallery, because it’s a round room located in a tower like structure at the corner of the museum.  That’s where Holli Harmon’s installation, called “The Nature of Clouds,” is located.  It’s a ceiling to floor work, which includes live plants.  The plants are suspended in the air, with the piece highlighting clouds, the sky, and the weather.

The artist says what made the process of creating the work interesting was constantly having to go outside of the gallery, to peer at the work in process through the windows.  She would then adjust things so she could give visitors the intended experience.

Sharp describes the other installation, which is called “Wintering: A Fox Tail," created by Nicole Strasburg.  It features hand crafted  papercut fox silhouettes designed by Strasburg.

Sharp says the COVID-19 shutdown really forced the museum to look at creative ways of staying relevant to the community.  Like many museums, it’s done a number of online exhibitions and workshops.  But, the new installations create a way visitors can safely seen an indoor exhibition from outdoors, and do it for free, whenever they want.

Artist Holly Harmon says her art installation is also evolving.  It features live plants, which are growing.  And, it looks different depending on when you see it:  During the day, with natural light, or at night, with lights.

Harmon’s “Nature of Clouds” is set to be on view at the Solvang museum through this fall.  Strasburg’s “Wintering: A Fox Tale will be in place through this Spring.

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