PICTURED: Bob Cox rebuilding the Rancho Camulos Museum’s arbor. Photo submitted


by Nancy D. Lackey Shaffer



Updates to Rancho Camulos website, grounds

While the Rancho Camulos Museum in Piru remains closed, it has spent the downtime making several improvements. A volunteer maintenance crew has been rebuilding the museum’s historic grape arbor, and local filmmakers Dan O’Connell and Katie Ryan have helped shoot a new orientation film. In addition, a new, improved and mobile-friendly website has been launched. Vintage photographs and articles are now available online, with educational projects and other programming coming soon. 

In other new developments, the Rancho Camulos Museum Research Library has been renamed the Marie Wren Research Library, in honor of Fillmore resident Marie Wren. Wren is a charter volunteer, having served as the museum’s first docent council chair more than 20 years ago. She donated more than 200 books to the research library’s collection and also made a financial contribution used for shelving, furnishings and other supplies. Wren is also a published author, whose Stories to Be Told: Tales About the Pioneer People and Places in Little Santa Clara River Valley, Southern California, came out this summer.

The museum is actively recruiting new volunteers and docents. No experience is necessary; just a passion for history. Training takes place via Zoom, and duties may include supporting fundraising efforts, gardening, maintenance projects and assisting in the archives. For more information, email info@ranchocamulos.org or visit www.ranchocamulos.org.

CSUCI dance instructors honored

Associate Professor of Performing Arts/Dance Heather Castillo and Performing Arts/Dance Lecturer MiRi Park of California State University, Channel Islands, have won a 2020 Faculty Innovation and Leadership Award from California State University.

CSUCI Performing Arts/Dance Lecturer MiRi Park. Photo submitted

Castillo and Park were recognized for their CORontine Corps project, a worldwide virtual dance project which “humanized” the online learning experience and has influenced the way dance is taught virtually. Students from around the world were invited to submit a recording of themselves dancing during the pandemic. Castillo is currently editing together more than 50 submissions, which will be uploaded to YouTube, and might run the project again this fall.

In addition, the duo developed a guide that was circulated far and wide throughout the dance community. “Considerations for Moving University Dance Classes Online” was created in March, shortly after CSUCI switched to online learning due to the coronavirus pandemic, and draws heavily on the instructors’ experience with virtual instruction following wildfires and other crises that CSUCI has faced in the last few years.

“We found ourselves crisis-teaching and conditioned in ways other campuses haven’t,” Park said. “This came from a place of wanting to help others in the university dance community, not because we are experts, but because we were ahead of the curve.”

The guide was shared through the Dance Studies Association and became a resource for universities throughout the United States. Castillo and Park also hosted webinars, and participated in the Christena Lindborg Schlundt Lecture Series at the University of California, Riverside. 

The Faculty Innovation and Leadership Awards honor CSU faculty and staff who have demonstrated extraordinary leadership that advances student success. www.csuci.edu

BAA elects new board

In July, the Buenaventura Art Association elected new officers to its board of directors: Joe Osborne (president), Janet Black (vice president), Donna Zaza (secretary) and Debi Nowak-Hawkes (treasurer). Kathy Bodycombe, Myra Miller, Michelle Nosco and Margie November have been named board members at large. www.buenaventuraartassociation.org

New Associate AD for Rubicon

The board of the Rubicon Theatre Company has appointed Chris Butler as its new associate artistic director.

Chris Butler has been appointed associate artistic director of Rubicon Theatre Company. Photo submitted

Butler is an Ovation and NAACP award winner for his work in Yellowman at the Fountain and Matrix theaters in Los Angeles, and has performed at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival as well as on Broadway (in the Tony-nominated 110 in the Shade). Local audiences may remember Butler from Gem of the Ocean, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and, most recently, Voices of America, live streamed this summer.

In his new role, Butler’s duties will include play selection, casting, directing and community relations. In addition, he will also be responsible for new play development and guiding the Rubicon’s renewed and expanded commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion.

“I look forward to interfacing between artists, audiences, donors and board members to build and implement a plan and hope to take the organization to new and exciting places,” said Butler. www.rubicontheatre.org

Warner Henry: 1938-2020

Ventura County-based chamber music organization Camerata Pacifica mourns the passing of Warner Henry, one of its most generous patrons, who died Aug. 1 of natural causes. 

The Los Angeles-based philanthropist, along with his wife, Carol, supported a number of organizations throughout Southern California, including the Los Angeles Opera, Chamber Orchestra, Music Chorale and Philharmonic; The Colburn School; and Musica Angelica. 

Warner served on Camerata Pacifica’s board and helped bring the music organization’s performances to LA. In addition, he helped found the Chamber Music LA collaborative, bringing together Camerata Pacifica and other chamber music providers to promote the genre.

“Their support was meaningful and their beautiful home ever open, always hosting a fundraiser for a worthy arts organization,” recalled Adrian Spence, Camerata Pacifica’s artistic director, in an email noting Henry’s passing. “Warner was a passionate and knowledgeable music lover, with a particular fondness for baroque music, and for Mozart and Beethoven.” cameratapacifica.org

New ED for CIMM

Adri Howe has been named the new executive director of the Channel Islands Maritime Museum in Oxnard.

The Channel Islands Maritime Museum in Oxnard.

Howe, a graduate of University of California, San Diego, brings extensive nonprofit experience to the museum, having previously served as president of California Coastal Horse Rescue in Ojai. She will help oversee the museum’s continuing expansion through educational programs, top-notch art, digital experiences and more.

“I look forward to building on the great foundation that was laid down almost 30 years ago by Harry Nelson and has been supported over the years with the kind and generous support of the Nelson family, an engaged board of directors, a dedicated corps of volunteers and hard-working staff members,” said Howe upon accepting the position in August. cimmvc.org

OPC expands, diversifies and goes online

For the first time in more than two decades, the Ojai Playwrights Conference was unable to continue its prestigious play development and residence program in the traditional format. But like most cultural organizations, it took its programming online, offering a series of virtual residencies.

OPC has selected 15 playwrights for play development through its Onward Together initiative — twice the number it has taken in the past. Eight will participate in the OPC Foundry Project through October, working with a team to build new dramatic work needing more writing, further research or other production support to create a Zoom workshop. In November, seven playwrights will develop work online through the OPC 1st Stage Workshop Project, with informal readings and ongoing dramaturgical work.

Aziza Barnes will participate in the Ojai Playwrights Conference’s Foundry Project. Photo submitted

In selecting this year’s participants, OPC aimed to “fulfill its mission to develop plays and artists committed to building a better world.” An effort was made to collaborate with playwrights of color, particularly Black artists, working on compelling stories that address the viral, racial and environmental challenges of today. The 2020 participants include Luis Alfaro, Will Arbery, Jon Robin Baitz, Aziza Barnes, Vivian Barnes, Eboni Booth, Bill Cain, Franky Gonzalez, Samuel D. Hunter, Zora Howard, Elizabeth Irwin and Julia Izumi. All 15 plays will be produced for the 2021 Summer New Works Festival in Ojai, if gatherings are allowed by then. www.ojaiplays.org

New state guidance for language, arts education

This summer, the State Board of Education adopted new guidelines for educators to provide quality instruction in world languages, and in dance, visual and media arts, music and theatre for students from kindergarten through 12th grade.

The newly adopted 2020 California Arts Education Framework for Public Schools, Transitional Kindergarten Through Grade Twelve provides guidance and support for educators and administrators implementing the 2019 California Arts Standards for Public Schools, Prekindergarten Through Grade Twelve. The framework recommends standards-based instruction; teaching through creating, performing and responding; culturally and linguistically responsive teaching to maximize inclusivity; and using the principles of Universal Design for Learning to remove barriers and foster inclusion.

The guidance developed for world languages, called the 2020 World Languages Framework for California Public Schools, Kindergarten Through Grade Twelve, addresses standards related to communication, culture and connection. The framework aims to promote the development of cultural competence, critical thinking and various modes of communication in any language being studied.

Arts framework: www.cde.ca.gov/ci/vp/cf/

World languages framework: www.cde.ca.gov/ci/fl/cf/