In a community still shaken from the Borderline mass shooting, a musuem finds a new home


The California Museum of Art Thousand Oaks—a new nonprofit art space in the Oaks Shopping Center — had planned its opening night exhibition for Nov. 8, the day after the mass shooting at Borderline Bar and Grill devasted Ventura County and its surrounding areas.

With a nightmare-turned-reality unfolding in what was known as one of the safest cities in America, museum officials postponed the opening, and in keeping with its community-focused mission, instead hosted an art therapy project for victims and their families.

Local residents were invited to write their condolences and messages of support on colorful prayer flags that were hung in the gallery.

“We found one of the things victims wanted most were words of support from the community,” said museum Executive Director Tish Greenwood. “Victims’ families have come in and spent an hour reading the flags—you could see the tears in their eyes.”

Four months later, the space, known as CMATO, has become a refuge of sorts, a place of culture and community in the midst of the hustle and bustle of a shopping center. And — inspired by the therapy project and the needs of local residents still coming to terms with the shooting — organizers have big plans.

  • Tish Greenwood, right, executive director of the California Museum of Art Thousand Oaks, and Tony Principe, board of directors chair, look over their new exhibit “In Focus: Ansel Adams Highlights from Lawrence Janss Collection” on Tuesday, February 19, 2019 at the Thousand Oaks Mall. (Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • Ansel Adams 1950 print El Capitan, Winter hangs in the exhibit “In Focus: Ansel Adams Highlights from Lawrence Janss Collection” on Tuesday, February 19, 2019 at the California Museum of Art Thousand Oaks in the Thousand Oaks Mall. (Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

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  • Prayer clothes for the twin tragedies, the Borderline shooting and the Woolsey fire, hang near the exhibit “In Focus: Ansel Adams Highlights from Lawrence Janss Collection” on Tuesday, February 19, 2019 at the California Museum of Art Thousand Oaks in the Thousand Oaks Mall. (Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • A display in the exhibit “In Focus: Ansel Adams Highlights from Lawrence Janss Collection” on Tuesday, February 19, 2019 at the California Museum of Art Thousand Oaks in the Thousand Oaks Mall. (Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • Tish Greenwood, executive director of the California Museum of Art Thousand Oaks, with her dog Oscar, and Roya Alt, communications director, pose so Tony Principe, board of directors chair, can see how to use a view camera in their new exhibit “In Focus: Ansel Adams Highlights from Lawrence Janss Collection” on Tuesday, February 19, 2019 at the Thousand Oaks Mall. (Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • Tish Greenwood, executive director of the California Museum of Art Thousand Oaks, and Tony Principe, board of directors chair, pose before Ansel Adams’ Moonrise and her dog Oscar in their new exhibit “In Focus: Ansel Adams Highlights from Lawrence Janss Collection” on Tuesday, February 19, 2019 at the Thousand Oaks Mall. (Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • Tish Greenwood, executive director of the California Museum of Art Thousand Oaks, and Tony Principe, board of directors chair, pose before Ansel Adams’ Moonrise and a print enlarger in their new exhibit “In Focus: Ansel Adams Highlights from Lawrence Janss Collection” on Tuesday, February 19, 2019 at the Thousand Oaks Mall. (Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

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Greenwood said the project is representative of the kind of exhibitions she plans to curate at the space, which officially opened in December. She described CMATO as a “participatory” museum, where visitors of all backgrounds can take part in interactive exhibits, educational programs and other public events.

“This area has been void of cultural amenities like a museum,” said museum Board Chair Tony Principe. “We felt there was a real need for it out here.”

A unique spot

The museum originally opened in 2015 at a former Taco Bell near the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza. Principe and the museum’s board had been working with the city to build a free-standing space at the site. But when those plans fell through, the nonprofit jumped at the opportunity to move to Oaks Shopping Center.

“Our main goal was to get in a facility with higher visibility and exposure, and we couldn’t think of a better location than to be in the busiest regional mall in the area,” said Principe.

Over 9,000 people have visited the museum since it re-opened, Principe said, adding that its unique location has attracted a range of visitors who might not normally frequent an art exhibit.

Starting Thursday, the museum will look to draw even more new guests with a month-long exhibit featuring the work of renowned landscape photographer and environmentalist Ansel Adams.

The original prints on display—including “Moonrise, Hernandez, New Mexico” and “Moon and Half Dome”—belong to Conejo Valley real estate developer Larry Janss, a museum board member and donor.

“It’s a small exhibition, but it’s all the works you study in school when you learn about photography,” said Greenwood.

Janss, an avid photographer, was a friend of Adams and even assisted him on a number of shoots. He plans to give a public talk at the exhibition and meet with local college classes to discuss Adams’

work.

The show will also display examples from Janss’ collection of vintage large format cameras, which are similar to the ones Adams used to produce many of his most famous images.

Greenwood said the museum’s next exhibit, featuring celebrated Thousand Oaks-based graffiti artist Risk, also aims to bring visitors closer to the art and artist.

Risk, whose real name is Kelly Graval, will paint the installation live at the gallery so passing shoppers can watch him work.

“I don’t think art needs to be pretentious at all,” Greenwood said. “It can be really accessible, and everybody is entitled to their own interpretation. All I ask, is that you come in and talk about it.”

The museum is at 350 West Hillcrest Drive in Thousand Oaks, inside what used to be Baby Gap store.

Admission to the exhibit is free, and a $6 donation is requested.

For information, visit http://cmato.org/.

 


Tags: News, America, Sport, Things To Do, Soccer, New Mexico, Ansel Adams, Local News, Ventura County, Taco Bell, Adams, Greenwood, Conejo Valley, Woolsey, Principe, Baby Gap, Janss, Top Stories LADN, Sarah Reingewirtz, Pasadena Star News, Pasadena Star News SCNG, West Hillcrest Drive, California Museum of Art Thousand Oaks, Borderline Bar, Borderline Shooting, Oaks Shopping Center, Tish Greenwood, Tony Principe, El Capitan Winter, Thousand Oaks Mall Photo, Roya Alt, Ansel Adams Moonrise, Larry Janss, Greenwood Janss, Kelly Graval

Source:  https://www.dailynews.com/2019/02/20/in-a-community-still-shaken-from-the-borderline-mass-shooting-a-musuem-finds-a-new-home/



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