Amid a chilly economic climate and a sometimes apathetic public, the arts have managed not only to weather another year in Ventura County, but also to thrive. Going forward, there are many opportunities for artists of all disciplines to shine and maybe even prosper.

Sylvia White, who was named Creative Entrepreneur of 2011 by Ventura Mayor Bill Fulton, continues to innovate pathways to success for local artists. Most recently, White opened a co-op gallery in downtown Ventura. Arts on Main, between Palm and Figueroa on Main Street, provides a high-profile location for artists to show their work by renting space for limited, affordable time slots. In February, White will also bring back the Be a Saint Valentine’s Day Art Advance Lottery. The event includes a juried art auction, and selected artists will be entered in a lottery where they will be in the running for $500 to $1,000 cash awards. Deadline for artists to submit work is Jan. 22. For details, visit www.sylviawhite.com.

The Ventura Film Society (VFS) announced its partnership with the Museum of Ventura County for 2011. Thanks to a generous donation by Barbara Meister and the Barber Automotive Group, VFS will begin screening films on the first and third Tuesdays of each month in the museum’s Martin V. and Martha K. Smith Pavilion.

Scores of Ventura artists and arts advocates met at the WAV last month to reimagine ArtWalk and/or brainstorm a community-facilitated cultural event to replace it. Facilitated by Chris Velasco, the first meeting in a planned series yielded interesting ideas but no decisions were made. Previously a city-funded and -administrated event (but originally created by artists), ArtWalk has been in peril due to budget limitations.

After many years under the authority of the city of Oxnard, Carnegie Art Museum is now being managed by its board of directors. This long-sought-after change will allow the museum eligibility for sizable grants that the board plans to put toward expanding its educational mission and enhance its cultural offerings.

Focus on the Masters (FOTM) announced its 2011 schedule of artists for documentation. On the list are John White, Len Poteshman, David Gallup, Colin Gray, Jackie Cavish, Beverly Decker, Neil Barr and Patti Post. Artists are interviewed on film before a live audience at the Brooks Institute Ventura campus on eight Saturdays during the year.

The films are then archived along with other materials pertinent to the artists’ careers. For more information, visit www.focusonthemasters.com.

The Baroque Chamber Players are back with a beautiful program of baroque-era music by Bach. They will perform “Orchestral Suite No. 1,” Brandenburg Concerto No. 6” and “Concerto for Three Violins and Strings” at Heritage Square in Oxnard on Sunday, Jan. 23, 4 p.m. Admission is free but donations are urged.

The Transport Theatre company is returning from hiatus with a production of Molly Sweeney, starring Ron Rezac, from Jan. 7 to 30. The play will be staged in a Ventura city-owned arts incubator space. For more information, visit www.transport theatre.com. Elite Theatre Company, Santa Paula Theater Center and the Simi Valley Cultural Arts Center have joined forces to provide special deals on season tickets and ticket packages.

Congratulations to performance artist and workshop facilitator Elaine Muray, who was awarded a grant by the Museum of Ventura County to produce a digital storytelling project on bullying.

Opportunities
Elite Theatre Company One-Act Play Competition is accepting submissions for its annual contest, beginning Feb. 1. Five winners will have their one-act plays produced by the theatre company for performances in January 2012. Cash prizes of varying size, will also be awarded. Deadline is March 31. For details, www.elitetheatre.org.

Ventura County Writers Club Poetry Contest is accepting submission in adult and youth categories until Feb. 28. Winners will be announced and published in The Write Stuff, the club’s anthology book, and will be featured speakers at the club’s general meeting in April. For details, visit www.venturacountywriters.com.   

michel@vcreporter.com