This summer hundreds of artist from across the county will gather at the Studio Channel Islands Art Center to take part in one of the largest communitywide arts events ever seen in Camarillo. The first-ever Arts Alive West Coast Interactive Arts Experience will be held June 28-29, bringing together many of the area’s most prominent creative minds in a series of events highlighting the large and talented art community of Ventura County. More than 100 artists and a dozen regional arts organizations are scheduled to participate. “I think having everybody together shows how expansive the art scene is here,” SCIART director Karin Geiger says of the event. “It showcases how rich and diverse the county is in the visual arts.”

Festivities will kick off with a “pre-event” on Saturday evening at 5 p.m. in the Blackboard Gallery, where Donna Granata of Focus on the Masters will moderate a panel discussion of the state of the arts in Ventura County. Many movers and shakers in the art community are expected to attend, although the public is also welcome. U.S. Representative Julia Brownley, D-Westlake, and several city officials from across the county have been invited as well. It should be a lively and informative dialogue.

The real fun happens on Sunday, June 29, when all of SCIART gets into the action. At 10 a.m., studios will be open, organizations (including the Buenaventura Art Association, California Museum of Arts Thousand Oaks and Ojai Studio Artists) will host booths, and artists will be out practicing their crafts, giving the public an intimate (and realistic) glimpse of the creative process. “It’s a chance for the artists to show how they work,” Geiger explains. “We want the public to experience how a piece of art is created.” Painters, sculptors, wood and ceramic artists will all be doing projects, and selling select pieces as well. Attendees of all ages will have the opportunity to make art themselves at the Chalk Paint Out. Reserve a square (each is generously sized at around 3 square feet), grab some of the provided art supplies and let your creative juices flow. Award-winning pastel artist Daggi Wallace will present awards to her top picks.

No festival would be complete without food and music, and Arts Alive has that covered, too. Food trucks Scratch and Rushed Art will be there and John Zipperer and Friends will get the crowd going with their feel-good mix of country and Americana music. A $300 gift certificate to the SCIART gift shop is to be raffled off as well. “We want the event to be educational and fun at the same time,” Geiger says.

Arts Alive is a rare opportunity to see such a broad spectrum of nonprofit arts organizations, individual artists and universities in one place. Geiger first had the idea for a countywide showcase after attending the Arts and Learning Symposium held at California Lutheran University last year. “I was just very inspired by bringing everyone into the same room and sharing their needs to collaborate,” she recalls. It was a popular idea from the outset. Many of the organizations Geiger talked to signed on right away; others contacted her and asked to be included. Numerous artists unaffiliated with SCIART have been eager to take part as well. “I was pleasantly surprised by how positive the response was,” Geiger says. “It’s a wonderful turnout!” SCIART was largely responsible for coordinating the event, but Geiger notes that Brent Hanson and Sharon Taylor of the Buenaventura Art Association were also instrumental in getting the project off the ground — a testament to the spirit of cooperation that has been a part of Arts Alive from the beginning.

Admission, parking and even the raffle are all free of charge. To handle the 1,000-plus visitors anticipated, SCIART is working with Road Runner Shuttle to provide free shuttle service to and from the Camarillo outlet malls. The goal is to make this event as accessible and enjoyable as possible. “We want the public to come out and really see what they have available in this community,” .

For more information, schedule of events, and shuttle service details, visit or call 383-1368.