PICTURED: Oxnard’s Mullin Automotive Museum was named Museum/Collection of the Year at the 2021 Historic Motoring Awards.

by Nancy D. Lackey Shaffer

Mullin wins international award

The Mullin Automotive Museum in Oxnard, known for its impressive collection of 20th century French coaches and grand prix racing cars from makers such as Bugatti, Figoni and Falaschi, Henri Chapron and Delahaye and Voison, was recently honored at the 2021 Historic Motoring Awards. The museum was named Museum/Collection of the Year at an awards ceremony that took place in London on Nov. 18. 

“We are honored to be recognized by such a prestigious organization as well as an outstanding panel of judges,” said Peter W. Mullin, founder of the Mullin Automotive Museum. “The Mullin Collection’s mission is to share our love for the culture and design we appreciate so much in historic French automobiles.”

The Historic Motoring Awards began in 2011 to recognize the people, events and places that best exemplify the passion and culture of classic car collecting. The car community nominates contenders for each of the HMA’s 14 categories which are then voted on by a panel of distinguished experts including Bruce Meyer, Derek Bell, Jay Leno and Philip Sarofim.

This is the museum’s first HMA win, and the second win for founder Mullin himself, who was honored in 2016 with the Personal Achievement Award. 


Washburn, Mulfinger heading to Taft

The art studio at Taft Gardens will welcome Stephanie Washburn and Jane Mulfinger as Artists in Residence for 2021/2022.

Congratulations are in order for local artists Stephanie Washburn and Jane Mulfinger, who have been selected to participate in the 2021/2022 Artist in Residence program at Taft Gardens and Nature Preserve in Ojai. 

Washburn, of Ojai, works in a range of media, including drawing, photography and video, with an emphasis on the human relationship to materiality and the physical world. During her Taft residency, she will research the history of Western landscape imagery and explore nature through the lens of climate change through photography and drawing.

Conceptual artist Mulfinger, a professor of art at the University of California, Santa Barbara, is known for her sensorial and immersive works that include sculpture, photography, installation, drawing, performance and time-based art. Her work explores the relationship between architecture, memory and the body, often at the intersection of human activity and geological shifts in history. During her time at Taft she will focus on botanical drawing.

The Taft Art in Nature Residency Program began in January 2021 and offers one eight-month residency per year in which chosen artists enjoy access to the studio and garden throughout the seasons for reflection and artistic development. Special events and tours where the public can see the artists at work will be offered throughout the year. The residency will culminate in an exhibition at the art studio.


NEA grants for military, vets

The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) in partnership with the Mid-America Arts Alliance has begun a new grant program as part of the Creative Forces®: NEA Military Healing Arts Network. The Creative Forces Community Engagement Grants will support arts engagement programming for military and veteran populations and family members, providing opportunities for creative expression and strengthening resilience. Active-duty service members, guardsmen, reservists, veterans, military and veteran families, as well as caregivers and healthcare workers providing care for military service members and veterans are eligible. 

Creative Forces is an NEA initiative in partnership with the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs which seeks to improve the health, well being and quality of life for military and veteran populations exposed to trauma, as well as their families and caregivers.

“The projects supported by this grant program will recognize that arts engagement can provide a powerful outlet for fostering community and personal connections,” said Ann Eilers, NEA acting chairperson.

Creative Forces Community Engagement projects will require at least one partner and be led by or include at least one organization with a history of creative or artistic programming. Grants of $10,000 to $50,000 will support projects beginning on or after July 1, 2022. Deadline for application is Dec. 15, 2021.

For more information and to apply, visit www.arts.gov/about/news/2021/creative-forces-community-engagement-grants-provide-arts-programming-military-connected-individuals.

VCAC seeks Artists in the Classroom

The Ventura County Arts Council is currently hiring visual, literary and performing artists for its Artists in the Classroom (AIC) arts teaching residency program. The program brings art educators into K-8 classrooms for eight-week residencies in dance, music, poetry, visual and performing arts. Teaching artists tailor the program to the appropriate grade level, and many incorporate a multicultural and historical perspective into the lessons. 

Artist educators in all disciplines are encouraged to apply. For more information on the program and to apply, contact AIC Coordinator Deby Tygell at education@vcartscouncil.org or visit vcartscouncil.org/programs/artists-in-the-classroom/

O’Leary wins literary medal

Denis O’Leary of Oxnard, a recently retired teacher and longtime Oxnard School Board member, has won the Gold Medal in the 23rd International Latino Book Awards for his book Esteban’s Caravan: From  Hope to an American Cage.  This is the top prize given for the category of Best Young Adult Fiction Book.

Denis O’Leary won the Gold Medal for Best Young Adult Fiction Book at the 23rd International Latino Book Awards for his book Esteban’s Caravan.

Esteban’s Caravan is the story of a 10-year-old boy from Guatemala who becomes separated from his family while seeking asylum in the United States.

“I wrote this story at the height of the shameful policy of separating children from their parents to punish legitimate asylum seekers coming to the United States,” O’Leary stated upon accepting the award during a virtual ceremony on Oct. 16. “A community activist and fifth grade teacher at the time in the immigrant community of the Rio School District, I believed that the children were being used as fodder in the immigration border policy.” He went on to say that he was dedicating the award to the “children and families who seek legal asylum in a country of immigrants.”

The International Latino Book Awards are produced by Empowering Latino Futures, a nonprofit organization founded in 1997 by Edward James Olmos and Kirk Whisler. The awards celebrate  books in English, Spanish and Portuguese, in categories including children’s, fiction, nonfiction, poetry, translation and more. Finalists come from over 20 different countries. www.latinobookawards.org