Free alcohol, local artists and environmental activists are coming together this weekend, as the Environmental Defense Center (EDC) hosts a free reception to celebrate the opening of an art exhibition entitled “Santa Barbara Watersheds.”

Saturday evening, the EDC is holding a free reception in the Faulkner Gallery at the Santa Barbara Public Library to mark the opening of the exhibition, which will run in the gallery for the month of February. The reception starts at 6 p.m. and will feature complimentary wine and refreshments. The EDC, a nonprofit environmental law firm, will receive 45 percent of the proceeds raised through art sales at the exhibition.

“The reception is a casual gathering to kick-start the exhibition,” EDC Developmental Associate Marti Fallon said. “It will give people a chance to mingle with the artists, and there will be speeches from EDC representatives to tell people a little bit about our mission.” Paintings and photographs of Santa Barbara’s coastal environment will be available for purchase at the exhibition, Fallon said. She said this is the first time the EDC has held an event of this nature.

“We’ve never done something like this before, at least not in my time with the group,” Fallon said. “We are all excited about the project and hope to get a big attendance, starting with the reception on Friday.”

Several guest artists will display their work at the exhibit, as well, including local artist Kris Buck, who specializes in pastel paintings. Three of her paintings, including one of Goleta Beach, will be for sale at the exhibition. She said she expects her works to sell for between $500 and $600.

The exhibition is co-sponsored by the Oak Group, a collective of artists that helps organize art shows to publicize environmental issues and raise money for environmental groups. Oak Group artists painted many of the works of art that will be on display at the exhibition, as well. The Oak Group has held 54 exhibitions and raised over $1.5 million for local environmental groups.

The EDC was formed in 1977 amidst the national outcry following the 1969 Unocal oil spill off the coast of Santa Barbara. The center helped to prevent construction of a seawall off the coast in Isla Vista in the 1990s, Fallon said. She said the EDC deals with a wide variety of local environmental issues.

“We are regularly involved in space and wildlife protection cases,” Fallon said. “We are also concerned with protecting the marine and aquatic environment.”