.Respected as one of the Country’s first groups of painters for preservation, the Oak Group is committed to protecting open lands for wildlife, recreation, ranching and farming. Oak artists record the beauty of these endangered landscapes to draw public attention and to help generate funds to protect them.
Co-Founded by Ray Strong and Arturo Tello late in 1985, the Open Airing Klub or O.A.K. as it was known then, began in January of 1986 as a group of seven friends getting together to paint outdoors, sharing inspiration and informal critiques. They grew not only in number but in a strong desire to help save some of Santa Barbara County’s few remaining open coastal spaces from development. Their first exhibition in May of 1986 called “Endangered Landscapes” helped raise money for the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History and started a tradition of fund-and-consciousness-raising for preservation causes. To date, the Group has raised about $2 Million for environmental non-profit organizations, and has been credited with helping to preserve in perpetuity many of the original “Endangered Landscapes”.