Art season kicks into high gear
By Jesse Phelps
Local artists continue to make
Ojai special over the next several weeks with two exhibits worth
The Ojai Art Center has an exhibit full of heavyweights, as usual,
but maybe not the kind you'd think. An entire show dedicated
to the elephant explores the mystical and physical power of these
ancient beasts, in paintings, sculpture and ceramics. And over
at Stir Crazy, a number of Ojai Day contributors have a show
of their own.
This month's exhibit at Stir Crazy, a coffee shop located in
Mira Monte at 11534 N. Ventura Ave., honors 14 of the more than
60 contributing Ojai Day Artists.
According to organizer and contributing artist Linda Harmon,
over the past nine months, these artists have generously volunteered
their time and talents to Ojai Day.
"They provide all the signage for the event itself as well
as the art for stage backdrops, street banners and arcade banners,
the Arnaz grade banner and the highlight of Ojai Day itself,
the street mandala," said Harmon. "Artists also volunteer
their time for workshops with adults and youth."
The Stir Crazy exhibit contains several past Ojai Day Posters.
A highlight of this year's reception was an appearance by artist
Chong Lee, whose painting of the Ojai Day street scene was chosen
for this year's poster.
Lee drove up from Glendale to attend and meet some of the other
artists. "He loves Ojai and has been painting it for years,"
Lee retired from the ceramic business where he was a designer
for more than 20 years, both in the United States and in his
native country, Korea.
For this year's Ojai Day celebrations, many Ojai Day artists
will be at the Ojai Art Center, located at 113 S. Montgomery
St., offering workshops, demonstrations, poetry readings and
In addition, the Ojai Film Festival will be screening some of
their most popular films from past festivals. The main gallery
features an exhibit of the Ojai Studio Artists, and a docent
will be on hand during the day. All events are free.
For now, however, the Art Center is still home to its intriguing
elephant exhibit. Sparked by a conversartion in the park, local
artists Tom Hardcastle and Gretchen Greenberg came together,
and with the recommendation of art center director Teri Mettala,
hatched the idea for "The Elephant in Art."
Said Greenberg, "A year ago June, at Art in the Park, we
were all sitting around talking and we were staring at this giant
elephant painting that Tom had done. We talked about how amazing
elephants are. Teri piped up and suggested we do a show at the
Greenberg said that she and Hardcastle started floating the idea
with local artists. "Some just jumped on it right away,"
she said, while others needed to ruminate some on the concept.
"They gathered facts and then others just clicked in about
how ancient elephants are and the whole thing about how they
played into religion and art and mythology," said Greenberg.
"And some we really lobbied. And lo and behold, people just
really got into it."
The show encompasses many styles of art and the contributors
range in age from 10-year-old Sam Gall (son of metal master Ted)
and two high school students to a host of Ojai all-stars.
A special large decorative elephant head created by Greenberg
and Hardcastle is being auctioned to benefit Ahali, a non-profit
dedicated to identifying, monitoring and assisting captive elephants
living alone or in inadequate conditions ion North America.
The show will continue to run through the first of the month.
The Ojai Valley News
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