A round of applause for . . .

Jodi Farrell, winner of the 2016 Mayor’s Arts Award for Arts Educator.

Jodi Farrell, winner of the 2016 Mayor’s Arts Award for Arts Educator.

The annual City of Ventura Mayor’s Arts Awards were presented on Thursday, Nov. 3, at the Museum of Ventura County. This year’s recipients were Jodi Farrell (Arts Educator), Mark and Janet Goldenson (Arts Patron), Dr. KuanFen Liu (Artist in the Community), Kaylie Pendleton (Student Artist), Geraldine “Dina” Pielaet (Creative Entrepreneur) and Jim Rice (Arts Leader). Each honoree was presented with “Mark of Excellence,” a special-edition work on paper created by artist Lis Schwitters. Heartfelt congratulations to all recipients.

Congratulations are also in order for four individuals being honored by the Gold Coast Performing Arts Association for furthering the performing arts in their community. Winners of this year’s Twilight Awards are Harry Selvin, Stephanie Wilson and Cheryl and Ray Mastrovito. Awards will be presented at a gala on Sunday, Nov. 20, at the Four Friends Gallery in Thousand Oaks.

Rick Najera, creative director for the Oxnard College Institute for Latino Performing Arts, has renewed his contract with CBS to direct its annual Diversity Sketch Comedy Showcase for another three years. The comedy show highlights the talents of underrepresented ethnic groups as well as actors with disabilities and LGBTQ actors, and performances can be seen locally as part of Oxnard College’s Latino Thought Makers series, which Najera hosts.

Changes ahead

The Museum of Ventura County, whose downtown Ventura galleries have been closed since September, will hold a community outreach meeting tonight, Thursday, Nov. 10, from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at the Mexican Consulate in Oxnard. This is the third such town hall-style meeting held by Interim Executive Director Elena Brokaw (October meetings were held in Ventura and Camarillo), who is soliciting input and ideas from the public on the museum’s exhibits and programming. The search for a new executive director continues apace, and a new exhibit on Ventura County history is slated to open in January.

The Chumash Indian Museum in Thousand Oaks has also undergone a temporary closure, citing financial difficulties. Exterior exhibits remain open while the board of directors makes plans to cut costs and generate more revenue. All museum spaces are expected to reopen by Thanksgiving.   

Now for some good news: The Santa Paula Art Museum is expanding and will soon add a second building, adjacent to the museum’s current location. The expansion is made possible by longtime contributors the Lee Cole family. “With the Cole family’s gift of a new building, the staff and board of the Santa Paula Art Museum are excited to create an inspirational space that will allow us to serve the community in an even bigger way,” says Museum Executive Director Jennifer Heighton. Once renovated, the building at 123 N. 10th St. will house a new art education center.

Over in Midtown Ventura, The HUD, which celebrated its five-year anniversary this summer, is now the H Gallery + Studios. In addition to its edgy, carefully curated exhibits, the newly branded gallery will offer classes and workshops hosted by Dabster Arts. We are excited to see what the space and its directors have in store.

Orchestral maneuvers

New West Symphony’s 1999 “Make Some Noise” Music Van has been replaced by a new model, a Mercedes Benz Sprinter sponsored by the Heart of Nieman Marcus Foundation. Its inaugural outing was in September, to Brookside Elementary School in Oak Park. This “musical petting zoo” gives students a chance to see, touch and experiment with over 30 orchestral instruments.

The symphony is also offering two subsidized programs for students and families. The VIP Family Club, for families with children 7-13, and the CONNECT! Club for high school and college students, offer discounted tickets to Masterpiece Series performances. For more information, call 866-776-8400 or visit www.newwestsymphony.org.

Opportunities

After School Youth Theater: Sign-ups have begun for Team High Street’s production of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast Jr., open to children ages 9-17. Rehearsals will run three days a week from Dec. 5 through March 9; performances to run March 10-12, 2017. For more information, call 529-8700 or visit www.highstreetartscenter.com.

The Collection at Riverpark: Oxnard’s outdoor mall is seeking local artists to join its Merry Makers Artisan Faire to be held Dec. 10-11. All makers of handmade original arts and crafts are encouraged to apply. For more information call 209-267-4394 or email pfa@pacificfinearts.com.

Moorpark College Theatre Arts: Music and dance auditions for the musical Hair will be held on Monday, Dec. 5, and Tuesday, Dec. 6 (respectively), with callbacks on Tuesday, Dec. 13. Performances run March 2-12. For more information, call John Loprieno at 378-1469, email jloprieno@vcccd.edu or visit http://www.moorparkcollege.edu/departments/academic/theatre-arts/auditionsrehearsals.

Ventura County Library System: Local authors can now make their self-published works more accessible to the public through the SELF-e program. This collaboration between Library Journal and BiblioBoard® allows authors to submit their e-books and make them available to participating libraries across the state. For more information, visit http://www.vencolibrary.org/library-collection/biblioboard.