Mural celebrates ‘Ladies of Guadalupe’ at future home of Dunes Center

The “Ladies of Guadalupe” mural is on the side of a downtown Guadalupe building that once housed the Far Western Tavern. The building will soon be home to The Dunes Center.
The “Ladies of Guadalupe” mural is on the side of a downtown Guadalupe building that once housed the Far Western Tavern. The building will soon be home to The Dunes Center. Noozhawk.com

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.

The “Ladies of Guadalupe” mural, installed Saturday by photographer Lindsey Ross, features portraits of women with roots in Guadalupe.

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.

“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.

Madison Masatani, left, and Michelle Minetti-Smith pose for pictures in front of a new mural that includes their images in downtown Guadalupe. The installation is on the side of the old Far Western Tavern, which is to become the new home of The Dunes Center. The restaurant, which relocated to Old Town Orcutt several years ago, was founded by Minetti-Smith’s grandparents, Rosalie and Clarence Minetti. Janene Scully Noozhawk

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.

Take a look around the Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes National Wildlife Refuge with Michael Brady from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The refuge is home to several species of rare plants and animals.

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully can be reached at jscully@noozhawk.com. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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