The Arts in Ventura


QUICK LINKS or scroll below for info about each Ventura arts program

Art Tales writing contest
ArtWalk Ventura
Barranca Vista Center
Bridge Gallery at Ventura City Hall (scroll below)
Children's Celebration of the Arts
Cultural Affairs Commission
Cultural Funding Program
Fairy Tales in the Park
Festival of Talent
4th of July Street Fair
Get ArtSmart
Kids Swap Meet
MAVericks (scroll below)
Mayor's Arts Awards
Municipal Art Collection & Municipal Art Acquisition Program
Music under the Stars
Office of Cultural Affairs (scroll below)
Public Art Commission
Public Art Program
Special Event Permits
State of the Arts (scroll below)
Ventura Cultural Plan
Ventura Photography Contest
VUSD Arts Education Master Plan (scroll below)
Working Artists Ventura (WᾹV) Community Space

●Ventura’s newest website hosts artist profiles, organizations & venues in our city featuring dance, literary, visual arts, theatre, music, arts education, special events. Click on these links: ▪ Join the mailing list  ▪ Submit your event  ▪Like us on FaceBook

Public Art Program

Visit the Public Art Program web pages for public art opportunities & projects; technical assistance & conservation programs; and the permantent collections and temporary installations.

State of the Arts (SOTA) E-Newsletter

Suspended in 2015-Replaced by new free e-bulletin service for arts nonprofits (see above)

View past issues of State of the Arts Newsletter:

Barranca Vista Center (BVC) Cultural Classes

The BVC at 7050 Ralston Street offers a range of classes in the visual, performing and literary arts for over 6,000 adults, children and seniors annually as well as specialty and fitness classes at the center and selected satellite sites.

View current listings in the My Ventura catalog to register and visit the BVC web site.

Get ArtSmart - monthly cable magazine on CAPS TV

Program on hiatus since 2016. For more information contact Office of Cultural Affairs Supervisor Georgeanne Lees at 658-4720 or

View past episodes of "Get ArtSmart" on the Get ArtSmart webpage.


Cultural Special Events

Art Tales writing contest - Visit Foster Library or website, create a poem or short story (500 words or less) inspired by one of the featured artworks and enter it by April 1 ●open to writers worldwide ●prizes in 3 age categories

Festival of Talent - annual showcase of visual and performing arts students from the Ventura Unified School District supported by faculty, parents, alumni and the community in late February

The 4th of July Street Fair -  the Ventura tradition begun during our nation's Bicentennial features the Pushem Pullem Parade, hundreds of fine arts & crafts vendors, savory food and entertainment on many stages

Music under the Stars - summer Saturday night concerts in the Olivas Adobe occurs from July to September

Ventura Photo Contest - enter online by November 1 up to 5 images that celebrate the City of Ventura.

Historic Ventura Walking Tour Guide (pdf) - celebrates our city's downtown cultural district architectural heritage.

Cultural Funding Program

Created in 1993, the Cultural Funding Program annually awards grants to Ventura-based arts nonprofits arts through a competitive panel review process that support the goals of the 2005 Cultural Plan to: increase access to arts education programs for youth; increase the number of programs that celebrate Ventura's diverse community and rich history; and make the arts a major component of the community's fabric

Mayor's Arts Awards

Established in 2005 the Mayor's Arts Awards recognize the contributions to the cultural community by City residents, artists, educators, organizations and business leaders.

Children's Celebration of the Arts (CCA)

●Since 1991 thousands of elementary school children have explored the visual, dance, music and language arts of world cultures as inspiration to create or perform their own pieces in classroom workshops led by professional artists every April and May.●Register in January and February and choose from a dozen plus classroom workshops ($45; 1-1¼ hours in length) in April and May. ●Give the Gift of Art! Purchase a CCA gift certificate by contacting Kathryn Dippong-Lawson at 805/654-7552 or or use the online donor form below.

Click here for the most recent  booklet, registration and donor forms.

Ventura City Hall Bridge Gallery

The Ventura City Hall Bridge Gallery, located at 501 Poli Street, on the second floor by building's rear entrance and parking lots, displays a seasonal rotation of current heritage and public art projects of interest to the community. Click here to view a past display: Art-in-Transit bus shelter murals/bike rack public art

Working Artists Ventura -  WᾹV Community Space 

Working Artists Ventura (WᾹV) is the home and workspace for over 70 artists and the WᾹV Community Space for meetings, celebrations, performances and art exhibits, including monthly First Fridays, annual ArtWalk and for private or public events. ●Reservation guidelines ●Coordinator

VUSD Arts Education Master Plan

The Ventura Unified School District (VUSD) Arts Education Master Plan--adopted in 2009 to ensure arts are an integral, sequential, interdisciplinary and equitable part of every student’s education to foster inspiration, creativity and a life-long appreciation of the arts--is a partnership of the VUSD, Ventura Education Partnership (VEP) Arts Collaborative and the Office of Cultural Affairs. The Future of the VUSD Arts Education Master Plan (pdf)    Brochure   Video

Ventura Cultural Plan

"Weaving culture into every aspect of life." Many goals of the City of Ventura Cultural Plan 2005: California’s New Art City" have been realized over the course of the decade ●2005 Ventura Cultural PlanWAVDowntown Cultural District Historic Walking Tour GuideThe Public Value of the Arts

MAVericks Marketing Arts Ventura

Created in 2006 MAVericks helps Ventura’s arts community come together and share ideas for marketing and selling the fruits of city’s creative talents, as well as promoting Ventura as an arts destination with these documents:

MAVericks: Marketing the Arts in Ventura Resource Guide  ●Let's Plan An Event Special Events web page  

The Office of Cultural Affairs

The mission of Office of Cultural Affairs (OCA), established as part of the Community Cultural Plan of 1992, is to: promote broad community awareness of, access to, and education in the arts and the city's historic resources in Ventura; provide opportunities and support to Ventura artists and arts organizations; foster cross-cultural understanding; and support economic development and tourism. OCA is overseen by the Cultural Affairs Commission, a volunteer body created in 1994 that advises the Council on cultural matters. The Public Art Commission advises the Council on matters pertaining to public art. OCA directly delivers and partners with local arts groups and artists on special events, art and history tours, public art, educational outreach, art classes, grants, technical assistance, workshops, the “State Of The Arts” newsletter and more.


Contact Us

Staff and Contact Information

Staff offices are located at:
Ventura City Hall, Room 226
501 Poli Street, Ventura, CA 93001

Director, Parks/Recreation and Community Partnerships Department -
Nancy O'Connor  (805) 658-4736

Community Partnerships Division Manager -
Denise Sindelar (805) 658-4793
Directs programs, activities and staffing of Civic Engagement, Volunteer Ventura! Program, Special Events, Public Art, Office of Cultural Affairs, Marketing and Graphics

Cultural Affairs Supervisor -
Grants/Special Events and Technical Assistance Programs
Georgeanne Lees (805) 658-4720
Supervises Cultural Funding Program, special events and technical assistance programs, edits "State of the Arts" newsletter and curates Olivas Adobe "Music Under the Stars" series

Community Services Coordinator - Education/Class Programs
Kathryn Dippong Lawson (805) 644-6542
Oversees Barranca Vista Arts Center classes and arts education programs including over 700 classes annually, Children's Celebration of the Arts Outreach and "Performance in the Park" series

Community Services Coordinator - Street Festivals and Special Event Permit
Michelle Godoy (805) 654-7749
Coordinates the July 4th Street Fair and and provides technical assistance for film, special event and block party permits as well as City Hall rentals

Public Art Project Manager
Tobie Roach (805) 658-4759
Directs current public art opportunities and programs