I don’t surf. Never learned how. But sometimes, when I watch the waves, I imagine what it would be like to paddle out, find the rolling water and pop up on a board, riding the curl with my arms flung out for balance. Living in Surf City, a title shared with and disputed by Huntington Beach, the chances are good that one day Zee will want to give it a try. Maybe I’ll sign up for lessons with her, when that day comes.
Whether you’re a surfer or an onlooker, the Museum of Art and History in Santa Cruz is honoring the waves with its latest show: Surf City Santa Cruz: A Wave of Inspiration. The show features hand crafted boards, surf photography and videography, plus paintings, sculptures and other pieces done by or inspired by surfers and surfing. While some of the pieces seem to be only loosely connected with the art of catching a wave, others are more direct.
My daughter was fascinated by the three-story hanging piece rotating in the stairwell. Silver diamonds with the names of local surf haunts flashed and winked as they turned. A wave made of local driftwood was also a hit.
The museum, located in the heart of downtown Santa Cruz, is a wonderful size for children — large enough to keep their interest but small enough to tour through in around 40 minutes. A number of exhibits have items in child-reaching distance, so small children — like my one-year-old — will probably do best in strollers. There is an enclosed sculpture garden on the third floor good for letting a child run around for a few minutes.
Whether your child is into surfing or not, the themed-exhibit may make art a bit more accessible. The exhibit runs through July 25.
AT A GLANCE
WHAT: Surf City Santa Cruz: A Wave of Inspiration
WHEN: Through July 25, 2010. Museum Hours are 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Sundays.
WHERE: Museum of Art and History, 705 Front Street, Santa Cruz
COST: $5 general, $3 students/seniors, $2 children ages 12-17.
AGE RANGE: All ages, but recommended for 7 and above
MORE INFORMATION: (831) 429-1964
Image: The Great Wave off Kanagawa by Katsushika Hokusai.