California Lutheran University announced it will build a 25,000- to 30,000-square-foot art complex and learning facility thanks to a $4 million gift from William Rolland of Malibu. The plans, which will update the existing facility built in 1959, will include classrooms, art studios, offices, computer labs and a student gallery. Rolland is a prominent real estate developer and art collector who previously donated $5.45 million for the William Rolland Stadium and Gallery of Fine Art that opened on the campus in 2011.

Bank of Books in Ventura is launching Meet the Artist evenings to more intimately connect art lovers and artists in a relaxed environment. The first event will be March 26, 7-10 p.m. with Pipi Fotland’s “Ascension of the Heart” show. As the series develops, a new artist will be introduced each month in a relaxed environment.

Congratulations to CSUCI lecturer, photographer and author Larry Lytle for the national attention his book American Grotesque: The Life and Art of William Mortensen (Feral House) is receiving. The retrospective of grotesque, occult and erotic images by the forgotten Hollywood photographer is the result of 20 years of research. Lytle has received acclaim for helping to restore the historical legacy of the photography pioneer that Ansel Adams called “the antichrist.” The book made Huffington Post’s top 10 Best Art Books for 2014 list.  

The Premier America Walkway was officially unveiled last month in Thousand Oaks. The walkway connects the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza to the adjacent Lakes restaurants where many theatergoers stop by for pre-or post-show meals. A gift to the Alliance for the Arts, the walkway represents Premier America’s commitment to supporting the performing arts locally. Also in Thousand Oaks, the operation center for the California Museum of Art (CMATO), headquartered in an old Taco Bell, unveiled its sign this month. CMATO is forging ahead with plans to establish a world-class art museum at the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza. To learn more about its mission, visit www.cmato.org.

Earlier this week, Cabrillo Music Theatre announced that Maureen Feldman will serve as its director of development. With more than 20 years of experience in business development, fundraising and production, she is a communications expert with a knack for fostering mutually beneficial partnerships. “Maureen Feldman is a real dynamo,” said Cabrillo Artistic Director Lewis Wilkenfeld,  “and she’ll make a great addition to the Cabrillo staff.”  

Artist, travel guide and SCIART founder Gerd Koch is offering an art travel grant in memory of William McEnroe, Carlisle Cooper and Lannie Cannon. The United Airlines Alliance Travel Grant for Ventura County Professional Painters includes air miles and cash to cover expenses for trips to Paris, London or New York City. The grant is available to Ventura County art teachers and painters. Complete details will be available at a discussion conducted by Koch on April 18 from 3 to 5 p.m. at SCIART’s Blackboard Gallery in Camarillo.

Oak Street in downtown Ventura is abuzz with activity now that NAMBA Performing Arts Space, home of ALOFT Dancetheatre, is fully operational. In addition to a full roster of classes, the space is also the new home of artist John White’s 5x5x5 First Friday performance art installation. Apparently, dance and fitness luminaries from far and wide have been dropping in at NAMBA with well-wishes and curious minds. ALOFT Dancetheatre will perform for the grand opening of NAMBA on March 27. NAMBA will hold an open house on Friday, March 13 from 11:30 a.m to 2 p.m. All are welcome. To stay abreast of NAMBA doings, visit www.facebook.com/ALOFTDANCETHEATRE.

 
Opportunities
ART TALES  The city of Ventura’s seventh annual writing contest is free and open to writers worldwide with prizes in three age categories.  Each participant writes a poem or 500-word short story inspired by one of a handful of paintings provided by the city. Deadline is April 1. For details, visit www.cityofventura.net/arttales.

CALIFORNIA STATE SUMMER SCHOOL FOR THE ARTS Four weeks of total creative immersion in the animation, creative writing, film and video, music, theater and visual arts for students entering ninth through twelfth grades are being offered at Cal Arts in Valencia. Only 500 students are selected and no one is turned away for financial reasons. Application period is July 11-Aug. 7. For more information, visit CSSSA.ca.gov.

OJAI VALLEY MUSEUM DIRECTOR The Ojai Valley Museum is looking for a new executive director to replace Michele Pracy, who has taken a position elsewhere.  The museum’s board is seeking candidates with backgrounds in museum management and a solid knowledge of art and history. The museum, which was founded in 1966, would like to expand its reach to a younger audience.  If you’re interested, or know someone who is qualified, send cover letter and résumé to ojaimuseumhr@gmail.com no later than March 20.

COUNTY FAIR POSTER CONTEST The Ventura County Fair’s annual poster contest  is open to Ventura County students in grades 5 to 12. The fair’s permanent theme “A Country Fair with Ocean Air,” is the guideline for imagery. Cash prizes will be awarded to first, second  and third place winners. The first place entry will be used as the main promotional image for this year’s fair. Deadline for entry submission is April 1. For rules and other information, visit www.venturacountyfair.org or call 648-3376.