Now in its 6th year, this popular, growing, and enriching program returns! 5 artists are selected to mentor 5 students over the summer in a program that, time and time again, proves enormously rewarding, and even life-changing for both artist and student. Upon completion of the program, The students work will be on display in City Hall for at least a month. Artists’ work will also be displayed for the same amount of time in the Wilson Gallery at the Ojai Valley Museum.
Details may be found on our website, here. Or click the Ojai Grants and Awards Programs tab above, and select “Mentor Program” from the drop-down list.
Please send any questions you have about the program to firstname.lastname@example.org
To check out what last year’s program was like, here is an article about the ceremony which was the culmination of the highly successful and much-applied-for 2018 program.
By Sami Zahringer and Linda Harmon. 2018
It is always gratifying to see young adults who are genuinely enthused about their growth and accomplishments waxing eloquent about their work, and infectiously excited to progress in their chosen field. This was the vibrant and inspiring scene on Friday evening at City Hall where four young artists were honored at a reception to mark the opening of an exhibition of their art in the City Gallery.
These students, from public and private valley schools, each spent 50 hours during the summer working with one of four professional local artists participating in Ojai’s annual Student-Artist Mentor Program. Each gave a fascinating account of their learning experience, and their challenges and triumphs. Just as striking as the students’ enthusiasm, was the zest with which the mentors described their overwhelmingly positive involvement with their mentees.
The program, run by The City of Ojai Arts Commission in partnership with the Ojai Educational Fund, is now in its 5th year and growing in popularity. Chair of the Arts Commission, Michael Addison, reported that this year 18 students applied to work with 4 artists and that, given the clear appetite for the program and the resoundingly positive student responses to it, the Arts Commission is working to increase the number of participating professional artists in 2019 and beyond.
The Friday reception marked the end of 50 hours instruction and collaboration. Each student presented their work, received a $500 scholarship for future studies, and their work will be on display to the public at City Gallery until October 20th. The mentors receive $750 for their time and expertise, and an exhibition of their work runs in the Wilson Gallery at the Ojai Museum, also through October 20th.
These are merely the tangible benefits, though, of a remarkable program that is expanding both the possibilities and realities of motivated young Ojai artists. Apart from the hands-on experience, each student emphasized the value they had gleaned from simply just talking to their mentors. To see real people actually making a living through their art was one of the things each student described as being enormously encouraging and inspiring. For the mentors, just talking to their students was also one of the best aspects of the program.
Printmaker, Gail Hercher, one of the artists chosen to be a 2018 mentor, explained how she tried to introduce her student, Occidental University-bound Villanova student, Liz Spiller, to ideas for different careers in printmaking, such as fabric or wallpaper design. She also spoke about the value to her own art of working with “a fresh and un-jaded” student. Hercher, an M.F.A. who has taught art extensively in public colleges and museums, privately and in local Ojai schools, introduced Spiller to techniques such as ink-stenciling, gelatin-printing and silk-screening, culminating, with impressive results, in actual book and card-design.
Internationally-renowned sculptor and glass artist, Stephen Dee Edwards, worked with Madison Parnell to create some stunning pieces involving many different techniques. Parnell was justifiably proud to show the beautiful fusions and laminations she had made using glass, goldstone, and other stones, and described the extensive moulding processes with clay and wax involved in the making of a series of anatomically-correct glass hearts. Edwards, a career educator, and second-time mentor in the program, described eagerly how rewarding it was to work with “Maddie,” and detailed with enthusiasm the ways in which collaborating together was just as important as the resulting art.
Jocelyn Gonzalez, a sophomore from Ojai Valley School, gave a lively and engaging presentation on how her “fun” summer with pastel artist Jannene Behl had progressed and how the new techniques she had learnt using both alcohol and watercolor underpainting had brought fresh ideas and vibrancy to her own already accomplished pastel work. Behl studied with legendary pastel-artist Bert Collins, also an Ojai resident famous for her fine, realistic landscapes on sandpaper. Through Behl’s mentorship, therefore, Gonzalez was lucky enough to work in Collins’ studio too in the company of adult students and was able to experience a community of artists.
To provide a really detailed account of the inner-workings of the student-mentor experience, artist Patricia Anders kept a comprehensive blog (www.artpropensity.com) of her time with budding artist Joshua Jacober, a young man of great promise eager to learn everything he could from his summer. Anders, whose specialty is drawing, especially in symbolic imagery, also works in mixed media, both traditional and alternative. Jacober, at the start of the summer, primarily worked in charcoal but was looking to elevate his own design and learn the “really tough fundamentals” of drawing. Under Anders’ influence, Jacober moved into pen and ink drawing – a more stringent medium with no ability to erase mistakes! – and discovered a whole new level of detail was now available to him. The introduction of color enlivened his art and delighted Anders, who declared early on in her blog,“I like his thinking!”
The glowing testimony of the participants in the Ojai Student-Artist Mentor program is proving, year after year, what a meaningful and rewarding experience it is for all involved. “It’s thrilling to hear the mentors talk about how exciting it’s been to see the students’ creativity expand in the course of the summer,” said Addison. “It’s clear that the Mentors and Students have poured their hearts into their work together.”
Application forms for 2019 will be available soon and artists and students interested in applying should contact The City of Ojai Arts Commission. For the latest news on when and how to apply, check out their website at www.ojaiarts.org, which will show that information as soon as it is available; to keep up-to-date with the arts in Ojai. To participate, students must attend one of the Ojai Valley high schools, either public or private, and their parents must reside in the Valley.
To see the 2018 student art, visit he City Gallery (located in Ojai City Hall at 401 S. Ventura St.) which welcomes visitors Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., except holidays. To experience the art of the mentors in the program, visit the Ojai Valley Museum,130 W. Ojai Avenue, which is open Sundays 12 noon -4 pm., and Tues-Sat 10am – 4pm. Both highly creative shows run through October 20th and are well worth the visits.
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.
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
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.
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.”
$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.