Montecito, California is a beautiful coastal city that boasts perfect Southern California climate and stunning scenery which has attracted people to it for generations. In this quiet beachside city are a variety of amazing sites to visit, one of which is the Westmont Ridley-Tree Museum of Art. Any art lover, whether casual or devoted, will enjoy an afternoon walking through the current exhibition or attending a lecture. This museum is a great example of some of the best art that Montecito has to offer and is certainly a must-visit!
History and Mission of the Museum
Originally founded as the Westmont Art Center, this Santa Barbara museum of art first opened its doors in 1985 on the campus of Westmont College. A year later, the Art Department was created to support and expand art education. In 2010, the facility was moved into a new building and was rebranded the Westmont Art Museum. After a generous donation from Lady Leslie Ridley-Tree, the museum assumed its final name of Westmont Ridley-Tree Museum of Art as an acknowledge of her generosity.
This art museum in Santa Barbara is devoted to educating both students and the larger community about the influence and importance of art and the artistic process. They explore themes of engagement, impact, and value of the visual arts.
Visiting the Museum
The Westmont Ridley-Tree Art Museum in Santa Barbara is located in the Adams Center for the Visual Arts on the campus of Westmore College. It is open from 10am to 4pm, Monday through Friday and 11am to 5pm on Saturdays. The museum is closed on Sundays and college holidays, as well as in between exhibitions. Admission to the museum is always free!
Past and Current Exhibitions
Gallery space inside the Westmont Ridley-Tree Santa Barbara museum is devoted to displaying exceptional student works as well as exhibiting pieces from the museum’s permanent collection. The museum also occasionally displays exhibitions of juried works, which are submitted by the artists and then chosen and curated by museum staff. As with any art exhibition, there is a uniting theme that brings these works together. One of the recent past exhibitions celebrated the work of modern and contemporary women sculptors. Currently on display is an exhibition entitled “Bowers/ERRE – So Close and So Far,” which displays the works of two artists who explore themes of immigration and activism.
Contemporary Art in Montecito
Combining student works and the works of established contemporary artists, the Westmont Ridley-Tree Museum of Art manages to educate and delight visitors on the merits of modern art. Take in the stunning visuals and deep messages that are inherent in their exhibitions for a truly unique art experience!