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6 Women of the Ojai Valley - 2016
A gem
of a
This longtime Arcade business owner shares her passion for downtown
Hallie Katz moved to Ojai in 1980, after a friend invited her and husband Stan to become partners in a little art gallery
called Running Ridge. “We hung up the phone
and 15 minutes later, we called them back and
said 'we're coming,'” recalled Katz.
Now known as Human Arts, the gallery has
become an anchor of Ojai's Arcade, celebrating its 40-year anniversary in 2015.
The move to Ojai gave Katz an opportunity to begin her own career as an artist — she has created jewelry since first learning the craft as a student at Hollywood's Grant High School.
Katz looks like a jewelry-maker — she's a walking canvas. “I like big jewelry,” she said with a smile.
Katz sells her creations in the Human Arts Gallery along with the work of more than 150 artists. All but two are American.
“We now have one artist from Nova Scotia, she came here for archery competitions, I didn't
ing her fellow downtown merchants.
“I was head of the Ojai Village Merchants Committee for about 20 years all together,” she shared, having recently handed over commit- tee leadership to Katrina Sexton of Treasures of
Katz's proudest achievement during that
time was the creation of the “Ojai Village Walk- ing Guide,” a map of village businesses.
The guide was borne out of the 2008 reces- sion.
“Everyone around here just held on by a thread. And our little visitor's guide map, that was my idea. I said, 'Oh my god, we have to do something to get people not only in town, but around the block.'”
The first edition came out in 2009. Katz and company are currently working on the fifth edi- tion.
Katz's own creations give her a deep con- nection to her customers. She crafts wedding and engagement rings for women around the country.
Hallie Katz and her Human Arts Gallery have been a mainstay in the Ojai Arcade.
by Andra Belknap
even know Ojai had archery,” exclaimed Katz. “She does beautiful silver jewelry. And we have a couple from England. A delightful couple in England who have put their three kids through college making this glassware,” she said of her two non-American artists while gesturing to their works throughout her gallery.
“In a way it’s got to do with just get- ting back to grassroots, and back to the way things used to be. You wanted something, you made it,”
— Hallie Katz
“We've dedicated our lives to doing this,” explained Katz. “One of the things that gives us great pleasure is knowing that we've supported a lot of artists for a lot of years.”
Katz also has dedicated decades to support-
Ojai Valley News photo by Tim Dewar

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