New arts facility serving a dual purpose

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Ojai Valley News photo by Andra Belknap
Cassidy Linder (left) leads a ballet class May 3 at the Ojai Arts Exchange.
Andra Belknap, Ojai Valley News reporter
The Ojai Arts Exchange has a dual personality. A dance studio by day, it transforms into a performing arts venue at night. 
Cassidy Linder and Bernie Larsen, two local artists, opened the space at 1016 W. Ojai Ave. in January to fill what they perceived as a void in Ojai's art community.
“It started with his need as a musician, to be heard,” said Linder. “Because when there's live music, it's mainly at bars. There's not a lot of sit down places to experience music here. And I'm a dancer, I want to dance. There was literally nowhere to dance, to take a ballet class, to take a tap class, to move my body other than Zumba or CrossFit.”
Linder slowly came to the realization that if she wanted to take dance classes in Ojai, she was going to have to teach them.
Linder and Larsen began collaborating when they each worked at The Vine, Linder as a bartender and Larsen as the Wednesday night musician.

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