Some familiar faces with names representing Guadalupe’s longtime families now adorn the former Far Western Tavern building and future home of The Dunes Center, thanks to a new mural by a Santa Barbara photographer.
As Ross and William Presley from The Squire Foundation completed installing the final panel — featuring the remainder of Michelle Minetti-Smith’s face — applause broke out among the small audience gathered to watch them work.
“I’m so pleased with it,” Ross said. “I love how everything turned out.
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“The whole community came out. Several of the women who were featured in the portraits came here, so I had a lot of support and enthusiasm from the community on this project. It was really fun.”
Days earlier, the conceptual fine art photographer captured the portraits using the wet plate collodion process from the late 19th century.
She created 5-by-7-inch tintypes and then scanned the photos at a high resolution before having them printed on engineering paper by Color Services in Santa Barbara.
In addition to the Minetti family, others represented on the mural include members of the Masatani and Estabillo families.
Armed with roller brushes, Ross and Presley used a wheat paste to install the enormous panels for the 20-foot-by-20-foot mural on the building’s wall.
“It was just so fun, not something I’ve done very much of,” Ross said.
After the final panel’s installation, she said, a layer of varnish will help protect the mural, which is expected to stay up indefinitely.
Minetti-Smith watched her face get added to the wall of the building that once housed the popular restaurant co-founded by her grandparents.
“It’s beautiful,” she said. “It’s really beautiful.”
The Far Western Tavern’s longtime building at 1065 Guadalupe St., or Highway 1, is set to become the new home for The Dunes Center, a nonprofit organization working to protect and restore the Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes ecosystem through education and research. The Far Western relocated to Old Town Orcutt in 2012.