Tuesday, February 10, 2015

The Vera Cruz House

Art in Public Places

I can never drive by 521 Santa Barbara Street without pulling over and coming to a complete stop.  This house amazes me on so many levels, it is hard to know where to begin.  This week, however, I had an epiphany.  I have always referred to the Vera Cruz House as an outdoor art gallery when pointing people in its direction, but I have now renamed it.  To me, it is an Ode to Wanderlust.

The visionary behind this house is Jeff Shelton, a local architect.  That he and the owner got permission from Santa Barbara to create such an anomaly from the sweet, but bland white adobe and red stucco architecture of our fair city, is a miracle in and of itself.  This house would showcase the work of talented local artists, he argued.  There would be no profanity and no clowns!  How could the City object?

It is the mission he gave the artists that intrigues me:  To paint something from a place they traveled to or from the place where they grew up.  Therefore, there are mountains, deserts, freeways, cars, canoes and lots and lots of fish.  These people love to travel.  As do I.  And yet . . . and yet, here are these panels of travel memories attached to a domicile.

It is a paradox that drives me crazy.  When I am home, I want to travel.  When I'm on the road, I want to be home.  If I lived in this green painted house, the door would have to remain open because I would be going in and out all day long. Outside to absorb the memories of those magical moments.  Inside to smell the aroma of fresh-baked bread and vanilla-scented candles,  Outside to feel the adrenaline of adventure course through my veins.   Inside to crawl into a familiar bed and drift into a peaceful sleep.

So, you see, the Vera Cruz House is an Ode to Wanderlust.  It is about finding that balance between the highs in life.  And the lows.



  1. OMG, I love it, totally missed it during our road trip :(

  2. I agree with your sentiments exactly, but I would like to live across the street from this house so I could look at it all the time. It makes me think of a quote by George A. Moore - "A man travels the world over in search of what he needs and returns home to find it."