Ojai Offers Artsy Ambience and Fall Festivals to Draw Visitors

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The scenic beauty and small town charms of Ojai, California have attracted artists for decades to nurture their creative spirits and unleash their talents. With a population of just under 8,000, this artsy enclave 90 minutes north of Los Angeles also draws an impressive list of world-class musicians, playwrights and performers from around the globe to perform at the city’s venues and festivals throughout the year. Upcoming cultural events in October -- including the Ojai World Music Festival, Ojai Studio Artists Tour, and Ojai Film Festival -- provide three great reasons for culture seekers to come to Ojai and enjoy its artsy vibe and offerings.


Ojai Press Kit www.ojaivisitors.com/press_kit.aspx

Ojai inspires the artist and creative spirtit in all of us!

Ojai is a place to relax and unwind, rediscover nature, and find creative inspiration. Its charming inns, galleries and shops, award-winning spas, and outdoor recreational options make Ojai a favorite Southern California destination.

Several world-renowned artists have made Ojai their home including famed potter Otto Heino, inspired painter John Nava, and Mad Magazine cartoonist Sergio Aragones. Beatrice Wood lived in Ojai until she passed away at the age of 105, and an art center in her honor was opened in 2000. The Beatrice Wood Center for the Arts, located in the upper Ojai Valley adjacent to the Besant Hill School, provides an opportunity for visitors to see her works she once described as “sophisticated primitive.” The center is complete with beautiful pink walls (her favorite color), an art gallery with changing exhibitions from local artists, a gift shop, and her workroom studio. Ongoing workshops allow for budding artists to work in her studio and create their own works of art. The center is open on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from 11 am to 5 pm. From September 1 through October 27, 2012, the Beatrice Wood Center for the Arts presents two exhibitions: ‘Brilliance: Recent Work by Gerri, Russ and Tom McMillin and ‘Vessels that Dance: Recent Work by Derek Bencomo’. The McMillins are Ventura County artists while Derek Bencomo hails from Hawaii.

A glimpse of Ojai’s history can be found at the Ojai Valley Museum, which traces the city’s early beginnings to present day. Opening September 29, and running through December 2012, is a new exhibit "Shangri-La: Ojai's Untold Stories" featuring five individuals and events that are not widely known. These include Ethel Percy Andrus, who started AARP in Ojai, Effie Skelton, who co-founded the Ojai Valley Museum, Ed Wenig, who was one of Ojai's first popular historians and led the fight against a freeway into town, Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge, who ran Ojai's first music festival in 1926, and Edward Libbey's wealthy friends who helped fund the arcade and pergola. Open Tuesday through Saturday, 10 am to 4 pm, and Sundays noon to 4 pm.

Signature cultural events throughout the year have enhanced Ojai’s reputation as an enclave of creativity. October is art month, bringing the annual Ojai Studio Artists Tour (October 13-14, 2012) attended by thousands of art lovers from near and far. Visitors can go at their own pace, visit the studios, meet the artists, view works in progress, and share interesting conversations with the artists. Ticket holders can also get a behind-the-scenes look during an opening evening reception, which includes entertainment and a silent auction. Taking place over the same weekend, the Ojai Art Detour also features many of Ojai’s exciting artists with another opportunity to meet the artists in their own studios and at local galleries. The Art Tour is free and open to the public.    

Two musical events in October showcase the recently renovated Libbey Bowl, an outdoor 972-seat amphitheater in the center of town. On October 6, 2012, the Second Annual Ojai World Music Festival offers an exciting blend of traditional and contemporary music from the far corners of the world including acclaimed ukulele musician Jake Shimabukuro and Cedric Watson with his Bijou/Creole Band. With concert performances, workshops, and some very special events, the Ojai World Music Festival offers a brilliant new look into ancient musical traditions. On October 13, 2012, solo acoustic guitarist Leo Kottke takes the stage with his steel-stringed guitar. With his fingers racing across the strings with uncommon speed, Kottke has a deep, churning groove that can at times sound like several people playing at once.

Also taking place in October is the annual Ojai Film Festival (October 25-28, 2012) which offers continuous screenings of new and independent films submitted by filmmakers throughout the world. The festival also includes seminars, film classic screenings, and opportunities for visitors to mingle with filmmakers, directors and production staff.

Getting to Ojai is easy - It's a 90-minute drive north of Los Angeles, 50 minutes south of Santa Barbara, or 20 minutes east of Ventura and the Pacific coast. The closest airports are Santa Barbara (45 miles), Burbank (70 miles), and Los Angeles (85 miles). For more information on hotel specials, things to do, and seasonal events, call the Ojai Visitors Bureau at 1-888-OJAI NOW or visit http://www.ojaivisitors.com.

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Janis Flippen, PR Consultant
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