PICTURED: String trio Time for Three joins the lineup for the 26th Annual Ventura Music Festival.by Nancy D. Lackey Shaffer


OSA announces new board members

Painter Duane Eells has been named president of Ojai Studio Artists for 2021-22. Photo submitted

Ojai Studio Artists recently announced new leadership for 2021-22. Award-winning portrait and figurative painter Duane Eells, a 33-year resident of the Ojai Valley, is OSA’s new president. New Vice President Chris Beirne is a landscape painter who also serves as the office manager and webmaster for Focus on the Masters. Nature and portrait photographer Deborah Lyon has been named treasurer.

While 2020 was as challenging for OSA as it was for all arts organizations, with canceled exhibitions and events, Eells said that, “We are looking forward to a new beginning as we venture into the unknown territory of 2021.”

OSA hopes to resume its Second Saturday mini-tours in the late spring and has

started planning the Ojai Studio Artists Tour for the weekend of Oct. 9. www.ojaistudioartists.org

Free gift with purchase from Ventura Pottery Gallery

The Ventura Pottery Gallery will celebrate love throughout the month of February by offering customers a free gift with purchase. Spend $25 or more at the gallery in Ventura Harbor, and receive a free handcrafted ceramic brown sugar saver. After being soaked in water, sugar savers will help keep brown sugar soft. They can also be used for marshmallows, breads, muffins, dried fruits, fresh herbs and spices; or infused with scented oil and hung as ornaments. 

Visit Ventura Pottery Gallery at 1567 Spinnaker Drive, Suite 105 in Ventura Harbor or visit the online store at ventura-pottery-gallery.square.site. More information on the guild can be found at venturapottersguild.org.

March 25 deadline for Richard and Elaine Williams Legacy Scholarships

The Arts Council of the Conejo Valley has announced its Richard and Elaine Williams Legacy Scholarship program to help support emerging youth artists. Winners will receive financial awards ranging from $500 to $2,000, to be provided to their college or conservatory to reduce college expense.  Art students who legally reside in the Conejo Valley and are high school seniors or college underclassmen are eligible. Categories include visual art, dance, theatre and music.

The entry deadline is March 25, 2021. Applicants are required to submit an example of their visual art or performance, an arts teacher recommendation and a short personal statement. Performing artists are required to submit a link to a YouTube video demonstrating their work. Judges are visual and performing art jurists selected by the Arts Council of the Conejo Valley.  Winners’ work will be showcased on the arts council website.

For more information and applications, please visit the ACCV website at www.conejoarts.org or email conejoarts@gmail.com.

The Museum of Ventura County seeks public input

The Museum of Ventura County recently launched an online survey to gain an understanding of how it can best serve its community. Of particular interest are ideas on engaging with people virtually while the pandemic keeps the museum closed, and ways to aid the rebuilding of the Ventura County community once restrictions are lifted.

To that end, the museum is participating in a national survey sponsored by the American Alliance of Museums and hopes that everyone in Ventura County will take part. According to the museum, the survey should take about 9 minutes to complete. 

As a thank you for participating, all those who fill out the survey will be entered into a weekly drawing. One of the following prizes will be awarded every week through Sunday, March 15. 

  • $45 Value — MVC Swag Bag (two mugs, four free passes, four-pack notecards from the Research Library Image Archives, MVC logo lapel pin);
  • $50 Value — Autographed copy of Chris Hillman’s new memoir, <em>Time Between: My Life as a Byrd, Burrito Brother, and Beyond</em>;
  • $60 Value — Free individual/family museum membership or, if already a member, an upgrade to the Associate Level membership (which includes North American Reciprocal Museums membership).

All responses will be kept confidential, and not be used for future solicitations. Access the survey at survey.alchemer.com/s3/6082694/2021-Annual-Survey-of-Museum-Goers?museum=ventura. Direct questions to survey administrator Susie Wilkening at susie@wilkeningconsulting.com.

Latitudes releases Inspirations

Latitudes Gallery of Ventura recently released its newest book, Inspirations.

Latitudes Gallery in Downtown Ventura released its third book, Inspirations, in February. The hardcover coffee-table book is a compilation of 144 original photographs taken by professional photographers and gallery owners Stephanie Hogue and Steve Munch. Each beautiful photo is paired with bits of poetry to inspire readers with nature’s magnificence and power. 

“This has been such a challenging year for so many of us,” Hogue said. “Nature has the power to heal and inspire, even when our horizons are more limited. We’re excited to share the work that has awed us the most, to invite others to take in nature’s beauty and wonder.”

Inspirations may be purchased at the gallery at 401 N. Oak St., Ventura, or online at LatitudesGallery.com.

VMF chooses 2021 lineup

The Ventura Music Festival is hopeful that it can present its traditional programming by July 2021. To that end, it tentatively has scheduled six live concerts in celebration of its 26th annual festival, featuring trombonist Aubrey Logan, guitarist Andrea Roberto, world music band Adaawe, pianist Sean Chen, jazz fusion outfit Tom Scott and the L.A. Express, string trio Time for Three and the Django Reinhardt-inspired Django Festival Allstars. Events are currently scheduled to take place July 22-Aug. 1.

In the meantime, VMF continues its virtual programming through Music Connects and Virtually Yours. Nuvi Mehta will curate a six-week series of highlights featuring previous VMF artists; Executive Director Susan Scott presents a special “Diva” series; and a selection of jazz favorites will follow after that. For more information and developments, visit venturamusicfestival.org.

Ventura College receives $50K from Carnegie Cornerstones

The New Media Gallery at Ventura College. Photo submitted

The Ventura College Art Department was recently the recipient of a $50,000 donation from Carnegie Art Cornerstones. The donation will be used to establish a fund to support the college’s visual arts gallery and exhibition programming, and help foster the education and artistic growth of emerging student artists. Funds will be used for art supplies and exhibit preparation once gallery spaces are allowed to open again. 

Currently, art students work in a variety of media, including ceramics, sculpture, photography, painting and digital media. The college typically holds six to eight exhibits a year in the main gallery space, and it is hoped that the endowment will enable more students to show their work. The endowment agreement allows the college to decide how exhibits will be organized and how artists will be selected. 

Carnegie Art Cornerstones was originally founded to support the Carnegie Art Museum in Oxnard. When the Carnegie closed, Cornerstones pivoted to promote artists’ creativity, learning and growth, and inspire appreciation for arts and culture in Oxnard and Southern California. The donation was coordinated by the Ventura College Foundation.

“We’re grateful for the Carnegie Art Cornerstones’ generous donation,” said Kim Hoffmans, Ventura College president. “Art plays an important role in our culture and society. The endowment will help the next generation of local artists find their voice.”

Gutiérrez, Speller win art prizes

Carolyn Glasoe Bailey Foundation art prize winners Porfirio Gutiérrez (left; photo by Joe Coca) and Jovan C. Speller (photo submitted).

The Carolyn Glasoe Bailey Foundation has announced the winners of its art prizes for 2021. Zapotec textile artist Porfirio Gutiérrez of Ventura has received the foundation’s art prize, worth $10,000, while Jovan C. Speller is the recipient of the foundation’s $5,000 Minnesota art prize. Both prizes include exhibition projects at the Ojai Institute in Ojai, the artist-centric initiative of the Carolyn Glasoe Bailey Foundation.

“Porfirio and Jovan have both taken deep dives into their ancestral land and cosmologies in their respective practices and it is an honor to celebrate them and the dynamic legacies they have inherited,” said Frederick Janka, executive director of the Carolyn Glasoe Bailey Foundation. 

Find information on the foundation at carolynglasoebaileyfoundation.org.

For more information on the artists, visit porfiriogutierrez.com and jovanspeller.com.

Ventura Film Society goes dark

The Ventura Film Society (VFS), once lauded for “bringing people together in the dark,” drops the curtain permanently in 2021.

Founded by Lorenzo DeStefano in 2008, it has brought more than 400 quality films to cinema lovers through screenings at a variety of locations in Ventura, including the Elks Lodge, Working Artists Ventura (The WAV) and the Bell Arts Factory. 

“During all that time we have strived to fill a gap by presenting not only entertaining cinema from around the world but films that have helped us discover the world around us,” stated DeStefano in a farewell message via email. “We know from your positive response and loyal attendance over the years that our efforts have been much appreciated.”

VFS’ end comes after a year that saw the closure of nearly all indoor entertainment venues, including theaters, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“The closure of the venues we rely on to properly present these films to you, the unknown future of public events, and people’s increasing dependency on digitally accessing an infinite selection of world cinema, have contributed to this decision,” DeStefano explained, emphasizing that while VFS does not go on, filmmaking — and its value to our cultural well being — does. “No matter what the method of delivery, we still believe firmly in cinema as the most public of arts

and urge you to continue supporting films and filmmakers into the future.”

 BAPAC programming suspended until April

The city of Thousand Oaks recently announced that the Bank of America Performing Arts Center will remain closed to live events until April 1, 2021, due to the ongoing pandemic. All programs that are on the calendar through March 31 will be rescheduled or canceled. While the venue will not hold live events with audiences, the theatres may be used for filming and streaming opportunities without live audiences..

BAPAC will continue to work with TOArts (Thousand Oaks Alliance for the Arts) to present drive-in concerts and movies at The Lakes and Conejo Creek South Park. For more information and updates, visit www.BAPACthousandoaks.com or call 805-449-2787.

Unter joins NWS board

Senior financial executive Marijane Unter of financial services firm BDO USA has been elected to the board of directors of the New West Symphony (NWS). Throughout her career, Unter has worked with clients in a variety of industries including media and entertainment, technology, gaming, hospitality and manufacturing. 

“Marijane knows how important music is to the embodiment and fabric of a community, particularly during these challenging times when music can heal and bring us all together,” said NWS Board Chair Dwight Brown.  “We are thrilled to welcome her to our board and know that her passions and unique skills will be instrumental in the New West Symphony’s ability to continue to provide enriched experiences for all of our concertgoers and supporters.”

Unter said that she is “excited to have the opportunity to work with an organization that not only offers incredible concerts and programming, but also brings wonderful musical experiences to children in underserved communities.”