Artist Shannon Celia’s “Santa Paula Sojourn” Stays Close to Home

SANTA PAULA, CA – At a time when most of us are feeling stuck in our own towns, artist Shannon Celia is putting the finishing touches on a series of paintings that demonstrates the beauty in staying close to home. For the past two years, Celia has made it her mission to capture the unique “nooks and crannies” of the small, Southern California city of Santa Paula. Her journey will culminate in a solo exhibition entitled “Santa Paula Sojourn,” opening early this summer at the Santa Paula Art Museum.

This isn’t the first time that Celia has immersed herself in a community to paint. Her 2018 “Odyssey Through Oxnard” was a celebration of another Ventura County city that she loves (the artist lives in nearby Thousand Oaks). In depicting both towns, Celia was eager to show the “gritty with the pretty.” Alongside charming views of Santa Paula’s historic downtown and agrarian landscape, the upcoming exhibit will include the kind of “quirky” scenes that Celia prefers to paint: a backroad oil rig, a packed storage shed, an old bridge. “I’m always looking for subjects with interesting stories, unusual shapes, and amazing light,” she explains.

The finished series will be comprised of over 30 paintings featuring 20 different locations around Santa Paula. One of Celia’s favorite spots to explore was Limoneira Ranch where she was accompanied by a longtime Limoneira Company employee. Afterwards, Celia’s guide remarked that seeing the ranch through the artist’s eyes made her fall back in love with the place. “I hope my show inspires people to look at where they live with fresh eyes and gratitude,” says Celia. “There’s always an unexplored garden or park, or a family-owned restaurant or shop, or a neat old building to discover.” It’s the kind of renewed sense of wonder that we could all benefit from right now.

Shannon Celia is a member and vice-president of The Westlake Village Art Guild, a California Art Club Associate Member, a Thousand Oaks Art Association member, and an American Women Artists’ Associate Artist with Distinction. She was Channel Islands Maritime Museum’s first artist-in-residence and is also founder of Pepperdine University’s tri-annual “Alumni Art Showcase.”

In light of evolving public health directives, the opening date of “Santa Paula Sojourn” is still to be determined. For the most up to date information, please visit the Museum’s website at All of the artworks in the exhibit will be for sale.

The Santa Paula Art Museum occupies two historic buildings located at 117 N 10th Street and 123 N 10th Street in downtown Santa Paula. The Museum features rotating exhibitions of vintage and contemporary art, art classes for children and adults, monthly Free Family Days, creative community events, a well-curated gift shop and more. In support of public health directives, the Museum is currently closed through April 30, 2020. Please contact the Museum by calling (805) 525-5554, or by e-mailing [email protected].

Santa Paula Art Museum

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