City of Ojai Grants Awarded for 2018

$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.

2017 Student/Mentor Application

2017 Student/Mentor Application

The City of Ojai Arts Commission is accepting applications for students who wish to participate in the 2017 Arts/Ojai Artists Mentor Program. This is the fifth year for the successful program which pairs working artists with students for a summer internship.

“Last year we selected four Ojai artists for the mentoring program,” said Ojai Arts Commissioner Michael Addison. “After the great success of last year’s program the City has graciously increased our budget enabling the expansion of this year’s program to include five artist mentor positions.”

In addition to City funds allocated for the project, additional funds will again be granted by the Ojai Education Foundation.

Each student commits to a minimum of 50 hours of one-on-one instruction over the internship and works with a mentor to prepare work for an exhibit or performance at City Hall in the fall.

The City is looking for students from Ojai public and private schools. Each applicant will be asked to chose which artist they wish to work with and why. The students will again be chosen on the basis of their application and recommendations of their instructors.

Contact: City Arts Commissioner Michael Addison


2017 Student application

Mentor Program 2015

Mentor Program 2015

The Ojai Arts Commission Pairs Local Students With Artist Mentors

When Nordhoff High School student Audrey Hernandez is not working as a lifeguard at the Lake Casitas water park this summer, she can often be found in the studio of Ojai artist Vera Long, who is mentoring Hernandez as part of the City of Ojai Arts Commission’s summer arts-internship program.

“I am truly grateful for this energizing opportunity to foment Audrey Hernandez’s art career,” Long says. “I am continually impressed with her strong inner resolve and motivation, and all I see as my offering is to expand her parameters a little, and fill her possibility-toolbox just a little more. But this young lady needs no addition of talent and spirit.”

Hernandez is one of four local high school students currently participating in the city-funded Arts Mentor Program, now in its third year. The other students are Dylan Reed of the Oak Grove School, who is paired with the songwriter, producer and recording artist Smitty West; Madeleine Bigger of Nordhoff, paired with the author and writing consultant Catherine Ann Jones; and Felicity Evans of Villanova Prep, who is working with the mixed-media artist Susan Stinsmuehlen-Amend and also with the typographer and Classic Letterpress owner Norman Clayton.

Hernandez, 16, is heading into her junior year at Nordhoff, where she will continue participating in the school’s Advanced Placement Studio Art program. But having the chance to study with Vera Long this summer is an education in itself.

“I feel very fortunate and lucky to have this opportunity to work with her,” Hernandez said. “She’s taught me so much already, and I’m excited to learn more.”

For Long, a member of the Ojai Studio Artists group, the city’s Artist Mentor Program is another example of the community’s commitment to fostering the arts.

“Many thanks to the Ojai Arts Commission for this wonderful program,” Long says. “Ojai is such a truly nurturing nest for proactive creativity. Thank you Ojai community for continually supporting your local artists – past, present and future!”

Ceremony Dedicates Peace Pole at Ojai City Hall

Ceremony Dedicates Peace Pole at Ojai City Hall

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The City of Ojai Arts Commission is pleased to announce the installation of a work of art donated to the City, the Ojai City Peace Pole. The redwood column inscribed with prayers for peace is topped with sculpture of the globe encircled by two doves. The Oc-tober 21 ceremony was attended by over forty members of the public along with the donor Hazel Stillman, project producer Marta Nelson, and City representatives.

Deputy City Manager Steve McClary spoke of the original peace pole concept created in 1955 by Masahisa Goi, a Japanese survivor of Hiroshima.

According to Nelson, Goi’s followers first began distributing the wooden poles as a call to end violence in the United States during the 1980s.

“It is turbulent times like these that again make positive thoughts of peace even more important,” said Nelson, who had previously organized International Peace Day celebra-tions at The Gables. She took on the peace pole project at City Hall after fellow Gables resident Stillman, approached her about donating funds for a new peace pole project.

“Hazel is a wonderful woman and wanted to give us the money for it and I wanted the next peace pole to be at the City Hall,” said Nelson. “I wanted Ojai to be among the first cities to erect a peace pole.”

Nelson spearheaded the project along with Richard Franklin, who drew up design and material plans submitted to the City. The two enlisted the help of fellow artist Larry Carnes to work alongside Franklin, creating a ceramic globe and doves that now sit atop the six by six redwood post. Salvador Ramirez carved the post’s four sides with the peace prayers and City staff installed it.

“Marta is a joy to work with. She has a very clear vision of where she wants to go, what she wants to do. Her energy is contagious,” said McClary, who worked with Nelson and the Ojai Arts Commission to get the new pole approved.

Nelson, who is famous for inciting creative acts, also enlisted local musician and com-poser David Henderson to create Ojai’s own ode to peace, ‘Whispering of the Trees,’ played at the ceremony.

“I hope everyone can visit the new City Hall peace pole,” said Nelson. “We can use all the positive vibrations we can get.”

The peace pole is installed at the entrance to the City gardens behind the Ojai City Hall, 401 S. Ventura St.
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