The Wildling Museum will honor renowned underwater photographer Richard Salas with the museum’s Wilderness Spirit Award during a virtual event from 4 to 5 p.m. Sunday, June 6. 

The public is invited to join and advance registration is required.

The event will feature both live and prerecorded tributes to Salas, as well as a presentation by Salas himself, along with incredible underwater video footage, a museum spokeswoman said.

Salas' work embodies the museum’s mission to bring art and nature together as a means of preserving wild spaces, the spokeswoman said, referring to the artist's longtime career spent underwater capturing extraordinary images of marine creatures from sharks and seals to the smallest sea animal.

“While I realize that as an individual I have never been more than a drop of water in the face of the vastness of the ocean, I have also seen that as a species, our collective weight is having a profound and harmful impact on our seas,” Salas said.

He added that with the assistance of lighting and lots of patience, he has been able to create a dimensionality in his photographs that cause his subjects to "leap off the page to meet and greet the viewer."

"Through my images, I hope to convey the profound sense of oneness with the underwater world that I feel when I am diving," Salas said. "I am committed to using my art to spark in others both a reverence and a sense of responsibility for all ocean life.”

To purchase tickets or to sponsor honorary event, visit www.wildlingmuseum.org/news/2021-wilderness-spirit-award, or call 805-686-8315.

Lisa André covers lifestyles and local news for Santa Ynez Valley News and Lompoc Record. 

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