Barbara Hirsch To be Awarded Ojai Lifetime Achievement in the Arts Award on Tuesday, May 11, 2021

The City of Ojai Arts Commission is proud to announce the 2020 Lifetime Achievement Award in the Arts will be awarded to Barbara Hirsch on May 11, 2021 by the Ojai City Council. 

Mrs. Hirsch has devoted significant time and resources in Ojai to almost every aspect of the arts. She served on the City’s Arts Commission from 2007 to 2013. Her contributions included adding to the City’s public art; acquiring art works for the City of Ojai Art Collection displayed in City Hall; enhancing art at the Ojai Museum, and in the landscape throughout the City under the City of Ojai Arts Ordinance.

The Award was founded by the Arts Advisory Committee (now the Arts Commission) in 1987 as an important tribute from the City Council and citizens to Ojai artists who have enhanced our understanding and appreciation for the arts.

Mrs. Hirsch has chaired the local organization Operation Picasso since 2003, creating a healing environment through art installation, an art collection of local artists and programs for Ojai Valley Community Hospital. The collection has also expanded to beautify the new Continuing Care Center of the Ojai Valley Community Hospital, a long-term residential and rehabilitation facility.

Since 2013, Barbara has co-chaired the committee to create a contemporary art collection for Community Memorial Hospital. The over 700-piece collection is a reflection of community.

For twenty-one years, Mrs. Hirsch has donated her time, expertise and resources to the boards of the Ojai Music Festival; the Ojai Festival Women’s Committee; the Ojai Valley Hospital Foundation Guild; the Community Memorial Hospital Arts Advisory Committee; the Community Memorial Hospital Architectural Oversight Committee, and the Ojai Women’s Fund. She continues to serve as art advisor to the Jewish Community of Ojai temple where two new stained glass windows are being added.

With her keen eye for artistic excellence she spied the windows years ago on a trip to the Jewish Museum in New York City. When she realized they were the work of Ojai’s master glass artist, Susan Stinsmuehlin Amend, Barbara worked to bring the windows home.

Please join us as the award is presented to Barbara at the Tuesday, May 11, 2021 City Council meeting. The meeting is set to begin at 7:00 p.m. and can be viewed by visiting

2019 Lifetime Achievement Award Goes to Gai Jones

2019 Lifetime Achievement Award Goes to Gai Jones

Gai Jones

At its regular meeting on November 21, 2019 the Arts Commission recommended that the City Council ratify its selection of Gai Jones for the 2019 Lifetime Achievement in the Arts Award. The City Council ratified this selection after a slight delay due to coronavirus, in June of 2020. The Award was founded by the Arts Advisory Committee (now the Arts Commission) in 1987 as an important tribute from the City Council and citizens to Ojai artists who have enhanced our understanding and appreciation for the arts. The criteria for the award include (in descending order of importance): proven continuous artistic excellence, demonstrated community involvement within the Ojai Valley, established recognition within their field, and residency within close proximity of the Ojai Valley. A recipient may be of any age.

Ms. Jones, Founder of CA Youth in Theatre, entered educational theatre by way of a small liberal arts college for women in Oklahoma which offered a specialized degree, BA in Speech and Drama (equivalent of a BFA). She completed an MA in Theatre as the first woman to receive the degree at CA State University, Fullerton in 1968.  She taught Theatre at El Dorado High School, Placentia, CA, for thirty-four years. Upon her retirement, the Black Box Theater was named The Gai Jones Theater.

Ms. Jones is an Ojai resident.  Her local activities and achievements include:

  • Interim Director of Ojai Performing Arts Academy;
  • Performer for Theater 150, professional Ojai Theater for Off the Page staged readings;
  • Director for Ojai Art Center Theater;
  • Secretary of Ojai Art Center Theater Branch;
  • Volunteer at the Ojai Library as a Story Reader;
  • Actor in Ojai Rising’s production of Our Town;
  • Education Director of Ojai Rising;

Gai Jones currently serves as President of Educational Theatre Association (EdTA), which sets policy for 2.4 million middle and high school honor Theatre students and their teachers and is   National Board Member of Educational Theatre Foundation (ETF), CETA (CA Educational Theatre Associate) Executive Board, DTASC (Drama Teachers Association of So CA.) Advocacy Director, and a SAG-AFTRA Member presenting national workshops for Theatre conferences.

City of Ojai Arts Grants 2021

City of Ojai Arts Grants 2021

The City of Ojai Arts Commission is pleased to announce that the 2021 Grant Program begins accepting applications on Monday, July 27, 2020. The deadline for applications is Friday, September 25, 2020 and all applications and supporting materials must be received at City Hall by that time. Postmarks will not accepted.

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 Grants Program funds non-profit arts organizations and individual artists whose primary purpose is to produce or present arts and cultural programs, primarily in the City of Ojai. Arts Grants are made for one year and requirements include that grantees provide a dollar-for-dollar match for the amount requested funding and must complete their project within 2021.

A grant application workshop will be offered at Ojai City Hall or via Zoom on Thursday, August 13 from 5:00-6:00 p.m. Only complete applications will be considered and all applicants are highly encouraged to attend this workshop to ensure they are meeting all the parameters and requirements of the application process. Past recipients of grants have found the workshop to be invaluable. Please RSVP by noon on Monday, August 10, 2020 to Luis Gomez, Art Commission Liaison, at 805 646-5581 ext. 103.

Goals of the Arts Grant Program include: encouraging artistic excellence; developing new audiences for the arts; promoting diversity in Ojai’s cultural life; promoting and encouraging arts and cultural activities in the City of Ojai; and encouraging community partnerships and artistic collaboration.

To obtain an application please click here . To obtain the guidelines please click here.

Applications for the City of Ojai Arts Commission THE PAINT BOX PROJECT now available.

Applications for the City of Ojai Arts Commission THE PAINT BOX PROJECT now available.

The City of Ojai Arts Commission is pleased to announce applications for THE PAINT BOX PROJECT are now available. Artist are invited to apply to transform selected City-owned utility boxes into works of art. This is a limited competition as per the Public Art Ordinance (Sec. 4-16.211(c). Artist wishing to be considered must reside in the Ojai Valley and be 18 years of age or older.

To obtain an application and a comprehensive project description, artist should visit Ojai City Hall, 401 S. Ventura Street or click here. Completed applications must be received at Ojai City Hall by 5:00 p.m. on Friday, September 25, 2020. Postmarks will not be accepted.

For further information about THE PAINT BOX PROJECT, please contact Luis Gomez in the City Manager’s Office by calling 805-646-5581 ext. 103.

OSA 2019 Scholarship Awards Reception

OSA 2019 Scholarship Awards Reception

Brett Childs receiving his 2018 OSA scholarship in front of a piece of his own work.

Recently, the Ojai Studio Artists (OSA) Scholarship Committee met to select 7 students who, this year, will receive a total of $10,000 in scholarships. A reception to disburse the awards will take place at 5:30pm on Monday June 17th in Council Chambers at Ojai City Hall.

OSA awards its annual scholarships to qualified juniors/seniors in local public and private schools, and to college students who are resident in the Ojai Valley and are pursuing a career in the visual arts.

Since its inception, OSA, a 501 (c) (3) California non-profit organization, has raised over $244,000 for educational support. The scholarship program is a vital part of the organization’s mission and is financed by donations and funds raised during the Annual OSA Studio Tour.  The 2019 OSA Tour takes place on October 12-14. 

Speaking for OSA, local artist Carol Shaw-Sutton said “We see this program as an important educational opportunity for young artists. They write an artist statement, organize photographs of their work, request letters of support from their teachers, and participate in an exhibition where they are asked to speak briefly about their artistic goals. We are hoping to grow this important aspect of OSA, and give more money to talented students every year.”

This year’s recipients are Shay Beckson, Brett Childs, Matthew Etheridge, Kamile Fargher, Artemisia Grasso, Arley Sakai and Aliyah Zweig.  Two students are attending Nordhoff H.S., and the others will be going to the College of the Atlantic, California College of Art, Otis College of Art and Design, and Santa Monica College in the fall semester.  

One student, Brett Childs, a local who studies Photography at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, is receiving an OSA Scholarship for the second year running in order to help him finish his degree. In his testimonial he expresses gratitude saying “It is so amazing that Ojai Studio Artists are able to raise money from the Ojai community and give that money back to artists working in the community. More than just an affirmation of the artistic work being produced, it also helps to secure much needed supplies – always helpful for the working artist!”

Student Applications for 2019 Mentorship Program

Student Applications for 2019 Mentorship Program

Now in it’s 6th year, this popular, growing, and highly rewarding program returns! There are 5 mentorships available, with local, professional artists of all genres each mentoring one high-school student in an unforgettable, sometimes life-changing experience for both artist and student.

The Nuts and Bolts.
The Ojai Arts Commission has funding for 4 mentor-mentee pairings, while the Ojai Education Foundation funds a fifth. The minimum commitment is 50 hours of mentorship, which may be completed at any time and in any way over the summer vacation. Artists and students make their own schedules together.

At the end of the mentorship, artists and students will be honored at a ceremony at City Hall in late August, where they will give a short presentation about their experiences during the program. Students will have an opportunity to publicly and professionally display – for at least a month – any work they may have produced with their mentor during the summer.

Visual artists will also be given the opportunity to display their work to the public for the same amount of time in the Wilson Gallery at the Ojai Valley Museum.

Once the artists have been selected, students interested in the particular fields of art offered for mentoring may apply. Students applying must be resident in the Ojai Valley. They must be Sophomores, Juniors, or Seniors and may come from any school, public or private, but must not be boarding students. Scholarships up to $500 are available. The deadline for student applications is May 20th 2019 and application forms, when they are available after artist selection, may be completed online here, or in person at City Hall.

Each year an increasing number of students apply but, because funding is limited to just 5 mentors and 5 mentees, selection is unfortunately not guaranteed. The only requirement of students, however, is that they be enthusiastic about learning their chosen art form, and committed to at least 50 hours of mentoring.

UPDATE: The 2019 Artist Mentors have been selected! Each has long professional experience in their field and we are excited to offer such a broad range of opportunities in different fields of the arts under the mentorship of such outstanding individuals.

The 2019 artist mentor are as follows.

Amy Lynn Stevenson, Artist and Illustrator. “I will encourage my student to explore and find their own unique style using drawing and acrylic painting techniques. we will do research and discover a variety of artists’ works that will challenge and inspire us, reaching to new levels.”

Tim Arlon, Songwriting and Development, Band Mentoring: “I intend to develop my student’s musical ideas, exploring the passion they have for their art. We will work on songwriting, song structure, arrangement, and either or both individual and band practice , as applicable.”

Angela Sowers, Metal-Smithing, Art, And Jewelry: “I have a home studio in downtown Ojai that includes 3 work stations to work easily with a student. I work with a variety of tools and materials including texturing hammers, mandrels, flex shaft, and soldering torch with Oxygen. I will teach my student safety precautions in using these items, as well as how to create beautiful art using them.”

Richard Kuhlman, Acting, Directing, Improvisation and Comedy: “I have an extensive library of plays to draw upon, not to mention what is available online. Together, the student and I will develop a simple acting piece that can serve them well in their college years and beyond. My approach to this kind of work is to discover and utilize the student’s existing strength and to stretch their abilities towards new achievements.”

Dave Cipriani, Guitarist in Many Styles, Introduction to Music from Different Cultures:“My intention with the student is to develop a repertoire of songs and ideas for them house for composition and improvisation. My student will learn pre-existing (traditional) repertoire as well as create original work. The student will learn music concepts from around the world and choose ideas from different cultures of India and Africa. We will perform both traditional and original style pieces.”

More information about the individual artists will follow in a separate post as soon as possible, so check this website again, and our Facebook Page entitled City of Ojai Arts Commission. This is a really exciting opportunity for students who are keen to develop their own art form or to try something completely new.

Students, apply below!

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