Discover Art in Ojai – a curated tour by Frederick Janka

Beato Chocolates at Porch Gallery (

Our community, long known as a haven for artists, is now reveling in a dynamic collection of vibrant and innovative art spaces that are exciting and fun to discover and share with our out-of-town visitors and guests. Imagine the following selection of top Ojai arts venues as a virtual gallery crawl to enjoy in one afternoon where one is bound to find one’s self both delighted and inspired by each radically different art experience.

Let’s start our tour at a white well kept historic building from 1874 that houses the Porch Gallery Ojai. Located in the heart of town, the gallery presents a diverse schedule of exhibitions of talented local, national, and international artists.  Also a local hub for events by many organizations and nonprofits based in Ojai and Ventura County, this is a true community gathering space centered around contemporary art. (310 E Matilija St, Don’t forget to visit the Store at Porch Gallery the home of Beato Chocolates and many artist designed and inspired goods. Featured exhibition: John Millei: Works on Paper.

Matisse’s tête de femme, 1935 (

Head back now on Matilija Street and take a quick left up North Montgomery where you will find a handsome recently renovated cottage housing Canvas and Paper, the newest venue on our tour. Founded by a generous and scholarly collector, this is a small private gallery that offers a museum-like setting for contemplating three carefully selected works of art from the founder’s collection of 20th century modern and contemporary master works. (311 N Montgomery St, Featured Exhibition: Henri Matisse drawings.

Porfirio Gutiérrez: Continuous Line, Linea Continua (

The Carolyn Glasoe Bailey Foundation is a great Ojai art space to encounter museum quality artists from the greater Southern California region. The venue and its newest initiative, The Ojai Institute, is an artist residency, gallery, studio, and gathering space for artists and creatives. (248 S Montgomery St, Featured Exhibition: Porfirio Gutiérrez: Continuous Line/Linea Continua. Come by for a special gift to celebrate the Ojai Music Festival when you complete your art tour! Saturday only!

Current Exhibit: Sacred Deities of Ancient Egypt (

And there’s more! If you are attending one of the Saturday performances at the Zalk Theater at Besant Hill Scool, please make sure to visit the Beatrice Wood Center for the Arts, the longtime home and studio of the “Mama of Dada.” The center with its bright gallery and enticing gift shop offers a glimpse into Wood’s dynamic world of fascinating ceramics while also highlighting the works of some of our most talented local artists and artisans. (8585 Ojai-Santa Paula Rd) hours are Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, 11 am – 5 pm, Admission is $5 per person. Tours are $10 per person and include a discussion of Beatrice Wood’s life and work, as well as the Happy Valley Foundation’s fascinating history.


And on Ojai Avenue you will find The Basic Premise. An artists’ space and gallery, this is a great place for the new and established collector alike to discover art by some of the most daring and thought-provoking artists in the region. (918 E Ojai Ave, @thebasicpremise) Featured Exhibition: Tara Jane O’Neil & Jmy James Kidd in Residence.