FOTM hiring
Focus on the Masters is in search of a part-time executive assistant to help with day-to-day operations. The ideal candidate will have experience working in the nonprofit sector and be familiar with fundraising strategies, grant writing, membership software, event planning and working with volunteers. Applications are being accepted through March 10. For more information including requirements and application instructions, visit

Theatre grants available
The Educational Theatre Foundation is accepting applications for grants from middle and high schools in California that suffered damage to their theatre programs from wildfires in 2018. Affected schools are eligible to apply for the MTI California Fire Relief Grants, funded by licensing agency Music Theatre International. Ten grants of $1,000 each are available. Applications due March 15; recipients will be notified and announced by mid-April. To apply, visit

Arts Festival Legacy Scholarships
The Arts Council of Conejo Valley is currently accepting applications for the Thousand Oaks Arts Festival Legacy Scholarship program to help support emerging youth artists with their college expenses. Arts students who legally reside in the Conejo Valley and are high school seniors or college underclassmen are eligible. Categories include visual art, dance, voice and instrumental. Applicants must submit an example of their visual art or performance, an arts teacher recommendation and a short personal statement. No live auditions will be held, but YouTube videos of work will be accepted. Deadline for entry is March 15. For rules, application and more information, visit or email

Art Tales Still Open
The City of Ventura’s Parks, Recreation and Community Partnerships’ 11th Annual Art Tales Writing Contest is open and taking submissions from writers of all ages across the globe. This year’s theme is “Objects of Curious Happenstance,” inspired by the whimsy of four pieces of art in Ventura’s Municipal Art Collection. To enter, submit an original short story or poem no more than 500 words based on the selected artworks on view on the second story of Ventura City Hall (look for the Art Tales marker) at 501 Poli St., Ventura. Deadline to submit is April 10. For contest rules, an online gallery and more information, visit or contact Tobie Roach at 805-658-4759 or

BGCSV receives donation
The Boys & Girls Club of Simi Valley received $3,000 from Jon Lam and Deborah Tien (both members of the Simi Valley Sunset Rotary Club) for the renovation of the club’s art room. Rotary Club members Stephanie Sieminski and Joseph Grossman will help with the project (Grossman is a local contractor), and the club will also receive a matching donation pledge from Amgen. The donations will help fund new cabinets, work spaces and plumbing. For more information, visit

Lavender Festival seeks artists, volunteers
The Ojai Valley Lavender Festival takes place on June 29 at Libbey Park, and this year’s celebration of the fragrant purple herb will be its last. There are still opportunities to be a part of the final event, however. The OVLF is seeking volunteers for a variety of duties, and interested parties should contact Maria DePaola at In addition, its 2019 art contest is now open. Cash prizes will be awarded to first, second and third place winners. Entries must be submitted to Ojai Coffee Roasting Company by June 2. For contest details, contact Julie Empson at or visit

Auditions at OjaiACT
Ojai Art Center Theater will hold auditions for Mamma Mia! on Saturday, April 6, 2-5 p.m and on Sunday, April 7, 4:30-7 p.m., at the Ojai Art Center, 113 S. Montgomery St., Ojai. Callbacks on Monday, April 8, at 7 p.m.

The theater company is also still looking for an actor to play the rascally servant La Fleche in its upcoming production of Moliere’s The Miser, onstage April 5-28. The role will require delving into the art of Commedia dell’arte: walks, gestures, movement and character. If interested, contact director Paul Sulzman at 323-273-7285.

 Ventura Photo Contest
The City of Ventura’s 2019 photo contest is now open, and photographers worldwide are invited to submit their favorite photos that celebrate Ventura in one of four categories: Beach Life, Environment, Architecture or City of Ventura Parks and Recreation. All photo entries must be taken within city limits or directly adjacent. Deadline to submit is Sept. 30. For more information, visit

Blame it on the rain
Elite Theatre Company’s 2019 One Act Festival, which was set to kick off earlier this year, was delayed due to roof and ceiling repairs made necessary by the ample rainfall this winter. Luckily, the Oxnard theater’s main stage productions have not been affected, with Breaking Legs currently on stage and Crimes of the Heart set to open in April. Look for the festival’s rescheduled dates later in the season.

VMF names 2019 honorees
Congratulations to Elizabeth “Betsy” Chess and Limoneira, who have been recognized by the Ventura Music Festival for outstanding contributions to the arts and community.

“Betsy has a unique talent for combining service and leadership,” said Susan Scott, VMF executive director. “She gives a lot of both time and treasure to Rotary, church and many other good things. . . . As to Limoneira, this 125-year-old Santa Paula-based company has contributed over $2.5 million in the past 10 years alone to a wide range of community groups for projects in education, health, human services, arts, culture and other areas — all with the goal of enhancing community and quality of life.”

The 2019 honorees will be recognized with a video, dinner and live music performance at the annual VMF Honoree Awards and Cabaret Fundraiser on Thursday, April 11, at the Ventura Beach Marriott.

Spelling bee winners
SAGE Publishing hosted the 54th Ventura County Spelling Bee on Saturday, March 2, at California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks. Kampton Carter of Briggs Elementary School in Santa Paula beat out 126 competing students, accurately spelling “Malversation” to take the championship title. She will go on to represent SAGE and Ventura County at the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C. in May. Serena Eaton of Redwood Middle School took second place and third went to Rithik Kompelli of Oak Hills Elementary.

VCWC short story winners
The Ventura County Writers Club has announced the winners of its 18th annual short story contest.

First place winner in the high school category was Lauryn Trimmer (17), who won $100 for her story Shooting Stars. Second place went to San Jose sophomore Elaine Zhai for Snatched, with third place awarded to El Camino High School student Danielle Shew for The Candy Stalker.

In the adult category, first place went to Westlake author Kathleen Auth, who took home the $500 prize for Todd O’Brian. In second place was Camarillo’s Sheli Ellsworth (The Cat) and in third, Glenn Rowe of Moorpark (Déjà vu).

Woody Woodburn, Charlotte Rossler, Danielle Shew and Annabella Page all received honorable mentions.

Serros works donated to CSUCI
California State University, Channel Islands, is the recipient of a number of works from noted Chicana/o writer, poet and social commentator Michele Serros. The Oxnard native, who died in 2015, left behind an impressive body of work, including original manuscripts, notes, printed copies of her books, skateboards and her desk, as well as her personal library and the rights and royalties to her books. Any monetary gain from reprints will go toward CSUCI’s Chicana/o Studies program and to support the Michele Serros Multicultural Living-Learning Community.

New board members at SCI
Studio Channel Islands in Camarillo recently announced the addition of Bill Paterson and Don Harper to its board of directors. Paterson is a retired partner with Ventura County’s largest law firm, Ferguson Case Orr Paterson, and Harper is a music composer for film, television and the stage and owner of Don Harper Productions.

 Children’s Museum continues to gain support
The Camarillo Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) has invested $50,000 in the development of kidSTREAM, the nonprofit children’s museum to be located at the former Camarillo Public Library and set to open in 2020. “kidSTREAM will encourage visitors from far and wide to come, stay and experience what will be a fantastic new addition to our city,” says CHTA Executive Director Yuliana Gonzalez.