For over 15 years, the Society for the Advancement of Plein Air Painting (SAPAP) produced an art show on Catalina Island featuring works that told the story of the Island’s everyday life. After many successful years, some members of the SAPAP Board of Directors decided to take a step in a new direction and in 2011 partnered with the Catalina Island Conservancy to create Catalina: The Wild Side, a re-imagined art show that would bring attention not only to the much loved town of Avalon, but the thousands acres of land that lies beyond—Catalina's wild side. Proceeds from this new show benefit the Conservancy and are used to establish a permanent collection of plein air art that documents the Conservancy’s conservation efforts and progress in habitat restoration. The paintings acquired during previous shows are currently on display for the public in the Conservancy’s Nature Center in Avalon Canyon, and a rotating exhibit of pieces from the growing collection will continue to be shown to visitors.
The mission of the Catalina Island Conservancy is to be a responsible steward of its lands through a balance of conservation, education and recreation. Through its ongoing efforts, the Conservancy protects the magnificent natural and cultural heritage of Santa Catalina Island, stewarding approximately 42,000 acres of land, 60 miles of rugged shoreline, more than 200 miles of roads, as well as the Airport in the Sky and the Wrigley Memorial & Botanic Garden. The Conservancy works actively to keep Catalina wild by engaging in conservation and restoration efforts that have roots in sound science. By inspiring visitors to become responsible stewards of the living Earth, the Conservancy helps to ensure that today’s children and future generations will be able to enjoy Catalina Island’s abundance of natural beauty.