Staff Report

Solvang student photography

Photography by students in Solvang School’s Yearbook and Media class is on display at the Wildling Museum through Memorial Day.

Two dozen students at Solvang Schools opened a show of their nature photography on March 22 at a reception at the Wildling Museum of Art and Nature, where it will be on view through Memorial Day on May 27.

The students turned their lenses to nature for the show, some finding beauty in their front yards and others during travels to faraway places such as Costa Rica.

“Nature is everywhere, and if this show helped the students to realize that and improve their photography skills, then I feel like the show is a major win already,” said Wildling Executive Director Stacey Otte-Demangate. “The Wildling is grateful to professional photographer Bill Dewey of Santa Barbara for coming to judge the show.” 

First place went to Zoe Kazali for “Evergreen,” for which she won $100. Evan Gotschall took second place for a fascinating image of Nojoqui Falls, and he received $50. Third place went to Sebastian Cote for a vibrant sunset fronted by an oak tree silhouette; he won a family membership to the museum.

Teacher Alyssa Spanier of Solvang School’s Yearbook and Media Class for seventh- and eighth-graders was enthusiastic about sharing her students’ work with the community.

“Evergreen” by Zoe Kazali won the top prize.

“We were so excited to partner with the Wildling Museum for this exhibit. As soon as I told the students about this opportunity, their eyes lit up; they were eager to show their best work in a professional setting. In particular, our framing day at the museum was an incredibly rewarding experience. The reality of the show set in as the students carefully framed their work and decided where to hang each piece,” Spanier said.

Wildling staff are working on plans for another juried art show for juniors that will be an online competition, and they anticipate announcing details soon.

Besides offering community and juried art show opportunities for students, the Wildling also offers free tours to school classes. Teachers may call Otte-Demangate to reserve a tour and help develop a custom tour to fit their classroom needs at 805-686-8216 or email her at

The museum is also recruiting educational docents to work with more classes. Call Mitra Cline at 805-686-8315 for details.

For other information, visit