The East City Tour begins at the Skate Park on Ojai Avenue and Fox Street. This tour ends at the Ojai Art Center.
A. The Ojai Skate Park
“Skate Wheel” Well-known metal sculptor, Theodore Gall came up with the idea to repurpose an oil wheel from a local well for this public art project. “Skate Wheel”, situated in the southwest corner of Ojai’s Skateboard Park on Ojai Avenue, emulates what goes on inside the park – skateboards, in-lines and roller skates in motion. Painted a bright red (with graffiti resistant paint), it is visible not only to skaters, but also to pedestrians walking along Ojai Avenue. Gall, the same public artist who created “Spirit Chase” in Rotary Park, gifted the Skate Wheel to the City pro-bono.
Drive east on Ojai Avenue to Bryant Street and turn right.
B. Bryant Street and Bryant Circle
B1: “The Business of Bees” The Ojai Valley Business Park in the center of Bryant Circle (407D and 407C) boasts a towering sculpture that honors Ojai’s citrus industry. The sculpture is 8 feet high and weighs 6,000 pounds. Fashioned from golden Peruvian travertine and orange calcite from Utah, it is titled, “The Business of Bees.” The travertine represents a honeycomb and the calcite, an orange. Artist Chris Provenzano, who wanted to bring awareness to the bee colony collapse disorder, worked collaboratively with Paul Lindhard and several other Ventura’s Art City sculptors on various aspects of this amazing piece. The glass wings of the bees are by Michael Racine.
B-2: “The Ojai Table” Down the road at 416 Bryant Street, is a City of Ojai commissioned piece by G. Ramon Byrne, “The Ojai Table.” A Ventura Art City sculptor, Byrne designed the table to match the architectural style of the building where it is placed and to reflect the Sespe mountain range that flanks the Ojai Valley. The table is made of two types of limestone and sandstone and weighs 12,000 pounds. The table top alone weighs more than 5,000 pounds.
Continue along Bryant Circle to Olive. Turn left on Olive to Fulton and turn right on Fulton. Turn left into the first driveway just north of the Weil Tennis Academy dormitory building into the parking lot on your left. The concrete pathway within the quad area is home to the next public artwork.
C. Weil Tennis Academy
When the Weil Tennis Academy and Preparatory School underwent a renovation in 2011, a whimsical Public Art project was installed in the Commons area between the Academy and the Athletic Club’s parking area. Public artist, Jeff Sanders, silk screened over 50 fortune cookie sayings onto 6” by 34” porcelain tile pieces using ceramic glazes in a variety of soft pastel colors. The pieces were then fired for durability and eventually fitted flush into the concrete walkways. Scattered randomly throughout the Commons’ paths, Sanders and Academy owner Mark Weil selected sayings they felt would be particularly meaningful to the students traveling the walks, such as, “The time is right to reach your goals.”
Continue west through the Ojai Valley Athletic Club parking lot to Fox street. Turn on the first side street, Willow. Take Willow to Montgomery. Turn right and park.
D. Los Arboles Condominiums
D-1: “Peacock Bench Mural” Located on South Montgomery, the Mission-Revival style Los Arboles Condominiums incorporates California Pottery and Tile throughout. In front of the complex, sits the extraordinary Peacock Mural bench. Based upon an original fountain created at the famous Malibu Potteries. the bench and tiles were given as a gift to Ojai by the owner of the California Pottery and Tile Works of Los Angeles.
D-2: “The Green Man Fountain“
Adjacent to the Peacock Mural is a variation of the Green Man Fountain at the Adamson House in Malibu. It is also known as the Neptune Fountain.
Walk to the Ojai Art Center just down the street.
E. The Ojai Center for the Arts
E-1: “Big Pear Cactus” Sculptor, Perry Castellano, fashioned the eight foot tall pear cactus from rusted steel. It sits in the actual cactus garden located located in front of the Art Center, the oldest operating Art Center in California. While you are at the Art Center, you may want to visit inside where there are always interesting art exhibitions. A small shop in front has art by local artists for sale.
E-2: “Tile Door Mat, “Copper Light Sconces”, and “Hand Carved Wooden Entry Doors”
When the Art Center was renovated in 1997, an exquisitely detailed door mat mural by RTK Studios was added to the floor of the Art Center’s main entry. bordered with “Cuerda Seca”, or “dry cord”. This is an old Spanish Moor technique that Richard Keit and Mary Kennedy, RTK tile owners and artists, learned – and used to perfection here and throughout Ojai. A line is drawn around colored areas using a bulb syringe filled with manganese carbonate and oil. When the tiles are fired, the mixture burns off leaving the dark outline.
Copper light sconces by Jan Sanchez were incorporated on either side of the door.
Hand carved wooden doors, created in the ‘80s by Jack and Karen Chaney complete the rustic craftsman look.
E-3: “Peace in Man’s Hand”
In the rear courtyard of the Art Center, a six-foot tall Peace Pole is crowned by a Ted Gall (Skate Wheel) sculpture titled “Peace in Man’s Hand.” An expressive hand holds an olive branch and spreading dove’s wings. The Peace Pole was a collaborative effort of twelve Ojai artists. “May Peace Prevail on Earth is written in four languages on the poles sides. The pole was dedicated in 2006 in a ceremony performed by Chumash elder, Julie Tumamait-Stenslie.
E-4: “Wrought-Iron Patio Gate”
A wrought-iron gate with serendipitous details was forged by metal artist, Jan Sanchez in 2001 and defines the back patio area. Exiting through this gate will take you across the Walkway Bridge and into the back of Libbey Park where you may want to pick up the Downtown Ojai Public Art Walk detailed in the Public Art Guide available at the Visitor’s Center and other locations throughout downtown Ojai.