Ventura Public Art Programs

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Public Art Program

Ventura's Public Art Program was enacted in 1991 and since then has incorporated an artist's vision to capital improvement projects providing visitors and residents alike with a new understanding of urban design in Ventura. Recognizing the substantial economic and social benefits gained through an aesthetic treatment of public spaces and consequent increased retail activity, the City established an ordinance allocating 2% of eligible City capital improvement project costs for the commissioning of artist design services and artwork integrated in the construction of public works. Policy oversight of the program is the responsibility of the Public Art Commission, a seven person volunteer advisory body. The program also includes the Municipal Art  Collection and Acquisition Program, established by City Council to document the history of visual art in Ventura by featuring and highlighting important works of art created by area artists. The collection provides increased access to artwork of high artistic merit and aesthetic quality through its display in the public areas of City Hall and other municipal buildings.

Technical Assistance: Management assistance for arts organizations and artists. This ongoing program includes individual consultations with professional arts management consultants, workshops, and seminars. Services focus on addressing needs identified by the local arts community and providing useful research and information on national, state and local trends affecting the arts.

Goals of the Ventura Public Art Program:

  • Promote and support the work of local and national innovative and accomplished artists
  • Respond to and reflect the diverse nature of Ventura's population, history and growth
  • Cultivate audiences for public art
  • Consider ways in which public art can play a role in achieving other community building goals and objectives
  • Approach the entire city as a showcase for public art
  • Foster sponsorship and stewardship of public art
  • Leverage CIP program resources with other sources of support

 City of Ventura Municipal Art Collection & Acquisition Program

Municipal Art Collection on the first and second floors of City Hall features 100 works by 70 artists: open M-F 7:30-5 (closed alternate Fridays). Call 805.658.4759 to schedule a free school or group guided tour

In May of 1999, the Municipal Art Acquisition program was established by City Council to document the history of visual art in Ventura by featuring and highlighting important works of art created by area artists. The collection provides increased access to artwork of high artistic merit and aesthetic quality through its display in the public areas of City Hall and other municipal buildings.

The Municipal Art Acquisition Committee, a subcommittee of the Public Art Commission, oversees the purchase of master works in a variety of artistic media. The Public Art Commission plans to expand the collection in future years through annual purchase of major artworks created by leading area artists.

To ensure the overall quality of the collection, City Council established the following art acquisition policies:

  • Artworks must be created by artists residing in Ventura County and/or by artists who have made a direct contribution to the history of art in Ventura County.
  • Acquisitions should be directed toward artworks of the highest quality and of distinctive artistic merit.
  • Acquisition of artworks creates a commitment to the ongoing preservation, protection, maintenance, and display of the artworks for the public benefit.

Visit The Art Collection

The Municipal Art Collection is currently on display on the second floor at Ventura City Hall, 501 Poli St., Ventura. City Hall is open from 8am to 5pm Monday through Thursday and alternating Fridays.

If you are heading north on the 101:
Take the California Street exit, turn right off the exit onto California Street. California Street intersects Poli Street, and City Hall sits at that intersection. There are two free parking lots in front of City Hall.

If you are heading south on the 101:
Take the Main Street exit and turn left on California Street. California Street intersects Poli Street, and City Hall sits at that intersection. There are two free parking lots in front of City Hall.

Since its inception in 1999, the Municipal Art Collection has grown to more than 90 distinctive pieces of art, representing the best historical and contemporary works by area artists. The original vision was to make the collection accessible to the community by displaying the artwork in the public areas of City Hall and other municipal buildings.

We are pleased and excited that this is the third year we are able to curate an exhibit beyond the walls of City Hall. Photographs by Horace Bristol, Donna Granata, John C. Lewis, John Nichols, and Stephen Schafer were selected and are now on loan for one year to the E. P. Foster Library in downtown Ventura where they will be enjoyed by thousands of library visitors.

Contact Information
City of Ventura Public Art Program
501 Poli Street, Room 226
Ventura, CA 93002-0099
(805) 658-4793

The Public Value of the Arts:

Makes a Positive Economic Impact

  • The economic impact of the arts in Ventura is estimated to be over $18.5 million annually, with almost one-half of that amount derived from the expenditures of the over 422,000 residents and visitors who attend local non-profit arts events. Source: 2004 Economic Impact of the Arts in Ventura Report
  • A recent study by the Ventura Visitors and Convention Bureau reveals that cultural tourists on average spend $80.55 per person per day, significantly higher than the average visitor who spends $62.13 per day. The study also revealed that cultural tourists stay a day longer than the average visitors. Source: VVCB Economic Impact of Tourism in Ventura in FY 05-06 Study
  • "The nonprofit arts sector of the tourism industry approaches $1 billion. One out of every four dollars spent on tourism is spent on a cultural event." Source: California Arts Council - Impact of the Arts Report, 2004 Update

Fosters Civic Engagement

  • "All the capacities of public art for creating the conditions of civic dialogue also make it a potential force for launching and enriching sustained democratic discussion." Source: "Art for Democracy's Sake" by Martha McCoy
  • People who take their children to arts programs or arrange lessons for them, perform or create art as amateurs, or donate time or money to the arts are more likely to belong to community organizations than those who are involved in arts and culture only as audience members. Source: Arts Participation: Steps to Stronger Community and Cultural Life" by Walker, Fleming and Sherwood, August 2003

Increases Academic Achievement and Public Safety

  • Participation in the arts has been shown to deter delinquent behavior and social problems while also increasing overall academic performance. Source: YouthARTS Development Project, 1996, US Department of Justice
  • A three-year study of arts-based delinquency prevention programs in three sites ? Atlanta, Georgia; Portland, Oregon; and San Antonio, Texas ? showed that at at-risk youths? participation in programs improved their attitudes, behavior and academic performance; decreased delinquent behavior; and increased communications skills.
  • In Ventura, with funds granted through the Cultural Funding program, "Straight Up Improv" was developed; it is a teen arts project designed to prevent underage binge drinking.

Fuels Innovation, Real Estate and Business

In February 2007, Business Week cited Ventura amongst the top 10 areas most ideal for artists. Two articles in the February 2007 Business Week issue, "America's Best Places for Artists" and "Bohemian Today, High Rent Tomorrow," cite that creative types are essential to urban and regional economic growth. The articles state that artists can fuel local economies in a number of ways by stimulating innovation, improving business product design, assisting with marketing, and helping local business attract employees as they create cultural attractions. Source: AFTA Arts & Economic Prosperity III Report & Business Week