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Buellton Rec Center premieres immersive art exhibit 'Walk into Wildfire'

Buellton Rec Center premieres immersive art exhibit 'Walk into Wildfire'

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041521 Buellton Wildfire Art

The multimedia exhibit "Walk into Wildfire" is an immersive experience that features a three-sided installation with 8-by-15-foot video screens that audiences can approach. 

The Buellton Recreation Center will present "Walk into Wildfire" — an immersive multimedia exhibit — from April 24 to May 1 as a way to bring awareness to the start of high fire season. 

Artist Ethan Turpin and the Burn Cycle Project will participate in an opening reception and ribbon-cutting ceremony from 2 to 6 p.m. April 24. The kickoff day also will feature fire awareness resources and presentations, fun activities and live music from Sean and Jaime Montgomery.

“The concept of this exhibit is to allow people to safely experience what happens in a landscape as fire changes it. This is something both awe-inspiring and dangerous, which fire personnel witness but most of us cannot," explained Turpin, founder and director of the Burn Cycle Project and lead artist for "Walk Into Wildfire."

"A simulated wildfire helps us to understand what they face on our behalf,” he added. 

The objective of the exhibit, according to Turpin, is to increase the community's preparedness and build awareness around the risks and natural cycles of wildfires. 

"The experience encourages broader conversations about how to live and thrive in a fire-prone region," Turpin said. "We built this exhibit with the idea that it can travel anywhere, and we work hard to capture mesmerizing footage for it with fireproof cameras in a variety of regions.”

Included in the experience is a three-sided installation featuring 8-by-15-foot video screens. Audiences can approach the installation to experience the sound and texture of walking on a forest floor while witnessing the illusion of glowing embers.

The panoramic audio and video were collected from fireproof camera boxes by Turpin and members of the U.S. Forest Service, a spokeswoman said, noting that having the experience of “being there” captures viewers' attention and encourages important discussions about fire’s place in nature, fire preparedness, defensible space, prescribed burning and resilience. 

The family-friendly exhibit is cost-free and on display until May 1. 

The Buellton Recreation Center is located at 301 2nd St. in Buellton.

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

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