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.”

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