Studio Channel Islands Art Center has appointed Michael Lattanzio as CEO. Lattanzio brings his business acumen to the nonprofit where he will oversee the organization’s strategic vision and daily operations. Maggie Kildee, president and cofounder of SCIART, said in a press release that Lattanzio is an experienced leader with a passion for business. “We look forward to working with Michael, and are confident that his leadership will be an integral part of our continued growth and success,” she said. “I plan to build on past successes and lead this amazing art center,” said Lattanzio.

Brooks Institute is on the move with plans for a new gallery space next year and new alliances with international educators. Partnering with the Beijing Institute of Graphic Communication and the Malta School of Filmmakers, Brooks Institute will accept students from these institutions and send students to the two international campuses. Along with coursework, students will be able to participate in field trips and excursions to enhance the cultural exchange experience. “We’re very excited to give students the opportunity to learn about other cultures and exchange knowledge on the creative crafts of graphic communication and filmmaking,” said Edward Clift, Brooks president.

Ventura County Arts Council is in the final leg of its search for next year’s poet laureate. The successor to Mary Kay Rummel, the county’s first-ever poet laureate, will be chosen based on a variety of criteria, including published works, a presence in the county’s literary community and willingness to travel. The deadline for nominations is Monday, Nov. 30. For details, visit vcartscouncil.org/poet-laureate-2015.

The Camarillo Café ended its 26-year run with a final concert last week. Hosted by Gary and Kathy Lynch, the coffeehouse-style concert series brought excellent singer-songwriter talent to Camarillo over the years. We wish the Lynches well in their future pursuits.

Congratulations to Ventura photographer Stephen “Schaf” Schafer, who reached his crowdfunding goal to finance his book Don’t Shoot: 66 Reasons NOT to Become a Professional Photographer.

It’s awards season and many of the county’s best and brightest have received their rightful kudos over the past weeks. During a ceremony at the Museum of Ventura County, the Mayor’s Arts Awards were given to the New West Symphony League (Arts Patron), Michael O’Kelly (Artist in the Community), Anna Bermudez (Arts Leader), Andrea Shigeko Landin (Arts Educator) and Miranda Leigh Mize (Emerging Artist). We applaud them and wish them continued success.

An elegant glass award crafted by artist Aya Oki was given to each recipient of a Ventura County Art Council Arts Stars award in October. Among the winners were Jim Rice (Nonprofit Arts Organization Leader), Bill Hendricks (National Recognition) and Xavier Montes, who received the Salvador Bravo Award for serving the community. Montes has been a decades-long community servant and leader through his work teaching music to low-income children and his annual De Colores art exhibition, which showcases Latino artists.

In Memoriam: Elnora McNaughton, one of the county’s treasured literary voices passed away earlier this month. McNaughton was a fixture in the Ventura poetry community. She will be greatly missed.

Opportunities
Moorpark College Theatre Arts: Auditions for Hairspray will be held on Monday, Dec. 7. Dance auditions will be on Tuesday, Dec. 8. The production will run next spring. For more information, contact John Loprieno at 378-1469 or jloprieno@vcccd.edu.

Strawberry Festival: The annual event is soliciting entries in its 2016 poster contest. Entry deadline is Friday, Jan. 8. For details, call 888-288-9242 or visit www.strawberry-fest.org.

Ventura County Music Academy: The academy is offering a free trial lesson to students interested in learning piano, guitar, violin and mandolin. For more information, call 419-5010.

Thousand Oaks Art Association: Submissions for the 2016 Open Juried Art Show are now being accepted. Deadline is Monday, Jan. 4. For more information, visit www.thousandoaksartasoc.org.