Artist Who Created Iconic South Coast Landmark Dies

Sep 24, 2018

An artist who created an iconic South Coast landmark has died.

You might not know his name, but sculptor Bud Bottoms was the man behind Santa Barbara's Dolphin Fountain, at the base of Stearns Wharf.

Bottoms created the fountain for the city more than three decades ago. Talking to KCLU News in 2015, he said he was in a Santa Barbara City College art class, and created a small dolphin sculpture. His teacher suggested he enter it in a city contest for an art project for the base of the wharf, which he won. He admits he was first worried about taking his small sculpture and turning into a life sized work, but figured it out over the three years it took him to make it.

Bottoms later created replicas for Santa Barbara’s sister cities in Mexico, Ireland, and Japan. Santa Barbara’s Dolphin Fountain is photographed an estimated million times a year.

Bottoms was also known for his environmental activism, and was involved in efforts to stop oil drilling in the Santa Barbara Channel.

He died over the weekend, as the result of a long illness. Bottoms was 90 years old.