Hope Frazier Prize Winner Announced.

The City of Ojai Arts Commission is pleased to announce that the winner of the Hope Frazier Prize this time around is Nigel Chisholm. The Hope Frazier award is an occasional award not given out each year, but at the discretion of the Arts Commission, in order to recognize an outstanding contributor to the artistic life of Ojai.

Nigel Chisholm is best known for turning his two local bar businesses into lively venues for music and arts of all sorts. They have become community hubs for fundraising, incubators of local talent, and beloved local establishments where art truly fosters community and breaks down social barriers.

On the walls of The Jester and the Vine he has offered space to local artists and photographers to display their work, and he hosts their receptions, often collaborating with the artists to show the work off to best advantage.

Chisholm has opened his business to a Youth Music Night each Monday where young singers and musicians can gain invaluable performance experience, and build confidence in themselves and their art. Through this opportunity some young musicians have built mentorship relationships with older, professional musicians that could never otherwise have happened.

On the adult scene, many local musicians have found their footing and grown loyal audiences thanks to Nigel’s faith in their work and his commitment to them in both time and money. He understands that building such audiences doesn’t happen overnight and has the patience and trust in the artists it takes to do so. 

Serendipitous new musical collaborations have arisen as artists meet at Nigel’s bars, and well-known session musicians from LA often travel up to play at The Vine, not for the money but for the vibe and the warm reception they know they’ll get from the Vine scene.

In recent months, Chisholm has opened the Vine up to popular monthly salons led by New York Times best-selling author, Nomi Prins. Prins’ books deal with global finance and the history of how the federal reserve operates, as well as giving advice on personal money management.

A small sample of the artistic events Nigel has personally organized over the years includes:

* A fundraiser for Japan after the 2011 Fukushima disaster, “From The Valley of The Moon to The Land of The Rising Sun.” That event, still remembered fondly by everybody who attended, brought together an extraordinary array of local musical talent with a who’s who of the Ojai music scene singing separately and, finally, all together in an exhilarating and moving massive display of solidarity and support for the victims thousands of miles away.

* A multi-event fundraiser to support a beloved local woman going through cancer and in need of financial help. The fundraiser comprised several musical events and a wildly successful Mystery Science Theater show with local actors giving of their time and talents to raise money. Many silent auction items were donated by local visual artists of all types through their personal relationships with Chisholm.

* A musical benefit for the local homeless shelter which drew upon the audiences already established for the various participating musicians and which raised an astonishing $7000 in one night, surpassing in bounds the projected sum of $1000. 

In these endeavors, Chisholm has involved himself at every level to support both the artists and the cause.

An actor himself, Chisholm also employs actors. parents of young actors, and a director of local youth theater company OYES, and understands their need to make significant schedule changes in order to pursue their art. He has accommodated his staff in this in a way that few other employers would.

Nigel Chisholm’s work in supporting, promoting, and collaborating in the musical, theater, and visual arts has enlivened downtown Ojai for many years, creating a “scene” that continues to grow in scope and richness. He believes in art as a breaker of barriers, a much-needed social and emotional release in our times, and a soul-enhancing experience that benefits every one of us. He has lived his life and run his businesses in support of these ideals and by dint of them has changed the cultural landscape of Ojai indelibly for the good.

The Hope Frazier Prize will be awarded to Nigel Chisholm at City Hall Chambers, 401 S. Ventura St. at 6:30pm Thursday 21st during the regular Arts Commission meeting. It is open to the public and the Commission welcomes anyone who would like to attend. Photos of this occasion will be published here after the event.

City of Ojai Grants Recipients 2019

City of Ojai Grants Recipients 2019

 

We are pleased to announce the 2019 recipients of City of Ojai Grant Recipients.

8 applicants requested funding which totaled $43,010. The Arts Commission had a budget of $27,500 which it disbursed to 7 different valley organizations. The grants, which are awarded each year at the December Ojai City Council meeting, help to ensure the vitality of the arts in the Ojai Valley, and the City of Ojai is proud to be able to offer Art Grants each year as the budget allows.

The process of determining the amounts awarded is multi-layered and rigorous and the Commission would like to recognize the excellence of all the applications and the worthiness of their projects. It was a very difficult task but the break down is as follows.

Focus on The Masters – $2,500
Ojai Art Center Theater – $6,000
Ojai Film Society – $3,000
Ojai Independence Day Committee – $2,500
Ojai Music Festival – $3,250
Ojai Youth Opera – $7,000
The Townies. Inc. – $4,000

2018 Lifetime Achievement Award goes to Jaye Hersh

2018 Lifetime Achievement Award goes to Jaye Hersh

2018 Lifetime Achievement Award Jaye Hersch

The City of Ojai Arts Commission is proud to announce the 2018 Lifetime Achievement Award in the Arts will be awarded to Jaye Hersh on July 10 by the Ojai City Council. Hersh is widely known in the community for her work with the Ojai Shakespeare Festival, Nordhoff High School’s theatre and choral productions, Ojai Performing Arts Theatre, the Ojai Art Center Theatre, and the Ojai Music Festival. She was also voted a 2003- 2004 Ojai Living Treasure by the Ojai Rotary.

“In choosing Jaye for the award we focused on her strong commitment to the arts in Ojai,” said Michael Addison, Ojai Arts Commissioner and the Lifetime Achievement Award Commitee Chair. “The Award is given in recognition of her proven continuous artistic excellence, demonstrated community involvement within the Ojai Valley, and established recognition in her field. She brings it all to the table.”

Besides her involvement as a vocal director in the above Ojai events and institutions, Hersh herself is an accomplished actress and vocal performer. Local audiences may have seen her in roles as diverse as the classic Shakespearean role Ophelia or as Dolly in the Broadway hit “hello Dolly.” As a founder of the Ojai Madrigali she often performs annually strolling through the arcade during the holiday season decked in period costume and giving impromptu concerts to the delight of shoppers and merchants.

According to the Ojai Rotary website, “Jaye Hersh believes that everyone has a voice and nobody should be ashamed to use it. She has made a mission to help people young and old tap into something she thinks is becoming lost in our culture: a connection to music on a personal level.”

Please join us for the Tuesday evening award at the July 10th meeting of the Ojai City Council, 7:00 p.m. in Council Chambers, 401 S. Ventura Street, Ojai, CA.

Arts Commission Accepting Mentor Applications – 2018

Arts Commission Accepting Mentor Applications – 2018

ojai mentor program 2014Applications Due on March 23.

The City of Ojai Arts Commission is accepting applications for artists who wish to participate in the 2018 Artists Mentor Program. This is the fourth year for the successful program, which pairs working artists with students for a summer internship.

“Although this is for a summer internship, we are starting the process earlier this year. This will allow students more time to qualify without interfering with their year-end school activities,” said Ojai Arts Commissioner Michael Addison. “We are currently looking for four Ojai artists for the mentoring program. We are trying to make the process as easy as possible and they can complete their application online.”

Please fill out application below.

Arts Commission Awards $25,000 in Grants to Arts Organizations

$25,000 in grants was awarded among 9 Ojai-based arts organizations, it was announced today by Arts Commission Chairman Michael Addison. “We had 6 recipients last year and this year we’ve awarded 50% more grants for a total of 9. That’s very satisfying,” he said. “The word is getting out to local arts organizations that the City is committed to its artists.”

The nine recipients are: the Ojai Youth Opera, at $6,000, whose goal is to build on the success of their “Brundibar” production in Libbey Bowl last year; the Ojai Art Center at $5,250, which wants to increase production values of its theatrical season’s offerings, including the casting of some professional artists; Focus on the Masters, granted $3,000 to promote a critical thinking initiative they’ve created called Learning to See.

Also, the Ojai Music Festival, at $2,500, to develop its Family Arts Daycare Camp to stimulate children to make art; Performances to Grow On, the recipient of $2,000 which will allow them to created 3 performances especially for children; Ojai Performing Arts Theater at $2,000, which allows the theater-making organization to expand its season to 3 productions while encouraging a conversation between professional actors and those new to theater arts.

Madrigali, Ojai’s legendary early music chamber group, was awarded $1,650 to pay for artistic personnel performing at 6 at senior centers and public schools; and, at $1,500, the visual artist Brian Berman who would continue with his annual Peace Concert.