Art Museum to Go ‘Walking in the Spirit’

Reverend Howard Finster's "Finster Angels"

Rev. Howard Finster’s “Finster Angels”

The Westmont Ridley-Tree Museum of Art features a unique collection of folk art from all over the United States, showcasing the artists’ spiritual conviction Feb. 20-March 29. The exhibition, “Walking in the Spirit: American Visionary Artists,” opens with a free, public reception on Thursday, Feb. 20, from 4-6 p.m. at the museum.

The exhibition includes Family Day: American Folk Art Festival on Saturday, March 22, from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. in and around the museum and Adams Center at Westmont. This will be a day of free activities, crafts, music, dance, storytelling, food, and more, all celebrating the vibrant culture of America. The Family Festival is free and open to all families and all ages. There will be a small charge for food. It will feature innovative artisans from the Central Coast and Southern California offering their creations for sale.

"Días de México: A Family Festival" in 2012

“Días de México: A Family Festival” in 2012

The exhibition features many diverse artists, including Rev. Howard Finster, J.B. Murry, Rev. Benjamin Perkins, Mose Tolliver, Raymond Coins, Ronald Cooper, Tim Lewis, Elder Anderson Johnson, Felix Virgous, Myrtice West, and R.A. Miller.

“At the forefront of the most engaging contemporary art are works made by outsider artists, whose creations are inspired by their own spiritual fervor and unwavering visions,” says Judy L. Larson, Askew professor of art history and director of the Westmont Ridley-Tree Museum of Art. “We specifically focus on artists who are inspired by spiritual convictions, visions of God, or a passionate desire to spread the Good News through their art. In recent years, outsider art has become highly collectable as the art world discovered the unbridled emotional response communicated through these art forms.”

Sponsors include Michael Kidd (in memory of Benjamin E. Ortega), Neunuebel Barrantes Wealth Management Group of Wells Fargo Advisors and Just Folk in Summerland. Another sponsor, Steven Pattie ’74, has written an essay for the exhibition brochure and lent several objects from his collection to the show.

The museum is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays. It is closed Sundays and college holidays. For more information, please visit or contact the museum at (805) 565-6162.