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.

Roger Conrad Receives 2016 Lifetime Achievement Award in the Arts

Roger Conrad Receives 2016 Lifetime Achievement in the Arts Award

(Ojai, Ca) At its May 23 meeting, the Ojai City Council awarded artist, designer, engineer, teacher Roger Conrad the 2016 Lifetime Achievement in the Arts Award. Mayor Johnny Johnston honored Conrad by listing his many accomplishments in Ojai and in America’s creative and engineering communities.

Conrad’s service to Ojai is largely behind the scenes in support of the arts: he was an exhibition preparator at the Ojai Valley Museum and Ojai Art Center where he brought his excellent eye to bear on the “professional execution of innumerable exhibits and with a good natured dependability that takes my breath away,” said artist and Vice Chair of the Ojai Arts Commission Linda Harmon. This involved hanging and lighting art shows in a professional manner unseen before in our little town. Conrad moved here in 1995.

He was a longtime member of the Arts Commission where Chairman Michael Addison said he “is sorely missed for his discerning aesthetic…and for the legacy in the artist grants program which was given shape and clarity under his leadership.”

Conrad has said that he is equally exhilarated creating a multi-million dollar project such as designing all of the 3D decorative elements of the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics or “working on a small photomontage alone in my studio”. He is a skilled photographer, serving as the Chairman of the Ojai Art Center’s Photography Branch.  He was the Chairman of the Photography Department at CalArts.  As a designer/engineer, Conrad was project manager for an airport solar project in Saudi Arabia, designed a 144-foot diameter dome for Citicorp Plaza in L.A. and was Vice President of Research and Development for the famed Biosphere outside of Tucson.  Local artist Richard Amend calls him “an engineer with poetic tendencies”.

Harmon says she will miss Conrad on the Commission but knows “he will continue to be one of the Valley’s most valued servants.”  Artist Susan Stinsmuehlen-Amend said, considering Conrad’s body of work, “whatever he did, he did well and completely without fanfare.  Not ego driven whatsoever! And always with that sweet smile on his face.”