It’s moments like these that remind me of the power of art to bring people together to create a place where diverse ideas are shared and people connect. This exhibition brings artists, scholars and visitors together with the goal to examine what is powerful today. This endeavor is made possible by the generosity of Larry Janss, Shawn and Letal Skelton, Margaret Fieweger and the City of Thousand Oaks.

As you will discover, each artist in the exhibition sees Power a bit differently. Michele Benjamin-Miki reflects on the power of the individual; Douglas Turner sculptures speak to the power of the human spirit; Luciana Abait’s works examine the powerful relationship between humans and nature; and David Weed’s boxes encourage the power of thinking independently. In addition, we are extremely proud to showcase four local emerging artists that are pursuing a fine arts education right here in the Ventura County. Each of their works addresses power in their own terms.

The jurors, who are themselves well-respected artists and tastemakers in the region, had a difficult time selecting only four artists to exhibit out of over a hundred submissions. I witnessed how they used their critical eye to focus on the works that stood out from the rest. There were many contenders, but they unanimously chose Michele Benjamin-Miki as the featured artist. Is it her technique? Is it her message? Or is it a combination of several factors that brings Benjamin-Miki’s works to the forefront?

In this catalogue, we have essays from established art critics to emerging arts professionals who are all united in believing that art matters. I’m reminded of Ray Bradbury’s quote, “While our art cannot, as we wish it could, save us from wars, privation, envy, greed, old age, or death, it can revitalize us amidst it all.”

I encourage you to take a moment in front of one of the works that “speak to you” and see if you can connect with the artist’s approach, their skill, their intent or if it just simply touches your spirit.

If you had to submit an artwork that addressed what’s powerful today, what would you create?

Tish Greenwood, is the Executive Director of California Museum of Art Thousand Oaks (CMATO), who is dedicated to creating cultural spaces where ideas are shared and people connect. Her professional experience includes positions at the J. Paul Getty Museum and serving on the NEA Art Works Grant Review council. Greenwood received her BA in Art History at John Cabot University, Rome, Italy; her MA in Art and Museum Studies at Georgetown University and Sotheby’s Institute of Art, New York City.


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