The Westmont Ridley-Tree Museum of Art seeks to educate students and the larger community about the power and value of the visual arts in our world through physical, critical and spiritual engagement with the creative process and its result.
The first Westmont Art Center, including Reynolds Gallery, was dedicated in 1985. Courses in visual art have been offered at Westmont almost since its creation, but the Art Department was created in 1986. Both the gallery program and the academic department were located in a restored building that was originally a dorm for the Deane School for Boys in the early 20th century. In 2010, the program moved to a new state-of-the-art facility in the center of Westmont’s campus, the Adams Center for the Visual Arts, and the exhibition program took on the new identity of the Westmont Museum of Art.
After a gift of work from Lady Leslie Ridley-Tree, the museum took on the name the Westmont Ridley-Tree Museum of Art as an act of gratitude for her support and generosity
Adams Center for the Visual Arts
Dedicated in a ceremony on May 6, 2011, Adams Center for the Visual Arts is a state-of-the-art new facility that houses Westmont's art department and the Westmont Ridley-Tree Museum of Art. Bordered by Voskuyl Library on the north, Porter Theater and Whittier Hall on the south and the formal gardens on the east, Adams Center brings the visual arts to the very heart of campus. See photos of the dedication and a video of the ceremony, including comments by Westmont Trustee Walter Hansen about the importance of the arts in a liberal arts education.
The long, narrow three-level form of Adams Center extends from west to east. With 27,972 square feet on three levels, this design provides the classrooms, studios and offices with natural ventilation and lighting. Large window-walls in most of the classrooms open like garage doors, extending studios into indoor/outdoor spaces that make the most of Santa Barbara's temperate climate. The roof of each level of the building is planted with grass, sedums and drought-resistant native plants, helping the building to blend into the environment.
The Adams Center, along with three other buildings on campus, earned certification as Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Gold. The LEED designations highlight the sustainable construction and energy-saving systems. For more information about the LEED Gold rating, see the full press release.
Nestled into the hillside between Voskuyl Library and Porter Theater, the three floors of Adams Center seamlessly blend into their surroundings, and the planted roof increases the impression that each level is the ground floor -- although each also has striking views of the ocean and surrounding hills.
The top floor of Adams Center is level with the ground floor of Voskuyl Library and consists of two separate pavilions. The east pavilion houses the Westmont Ridley-Tree Museum of Art, including the director's office and a conference room.The west pavilion includes the printmaking and painting studios.
The main level holds general use classrooms, including a lecture hall with stadium seating that hosts classes ranging from business to psychology to art history, as well as public lectures and other events. Directly downstairs from the Museum are a student lobby, staff offices, an art history faculty office, and a secure vault to hold the College's permanent collection of art. Adjacent to the vault is a viewing room, used by scholars and class groups to examine objects from the collection. On the western end of the main floor are dedicated studio classrooms for drawing, crafts and design, and a photography darkroom. The main level of Adams Center shares a patio with Porter Theater.
The ground floor on the western end of the building is level with the bottom of Whittier Hall. It includes a well-equipped computer lab used for graphic design classes, and spacious studios for ceramics and sculpture classes. This level also houses a unique photography room where students can document their work.