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Sulfur Mountain Oak - Photo by William Gray Harris
Sulfur Mountain Oak
Photo by
William Gray Harris



July 20, 2007
James Sloss

James Sloss, Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Happy Valley Foundation, today announced that
Kevin Wallace
has been named Director of the Beatrice Wood Center for the Arts in Ojai, California. The appointment is effective immediately.

“Kevin has been instrumental in the creation of the Center,” Sloss said of the appointment. “His experience in the art world and involvement with the field of contemporary craft makes him ideally suited to the continued growth of the Center.”

Kevin Wallace - Photo by William Gray Harris
Kevin Wallace
Photo by William Gray Harris

Wallace will oversee the daily operations of the Center, including strategic planning, curating exhibitions and developing educational programs. While the Center is committed to exhibiting artists who work in craft media, with an emphasis on ceramic, these works will be juxtaposed in exhibitions with wide-ranging media such as painting and photography. As a Center for the Arts, there will also be presentations of music, poetry, dance and theatre.

In accepting the appointment, Wallace stated: “Beatrice Wood was an important artist and fascinating person. As a pioneer in the field of contemporary craft, an accomplished painter and writer, her life ran the course of the 20th century and included many of the figures that shaped it. Ultimately, her genius was in the marriage of wide-ranging influences in her work, including Dadaism, Modernism, Eastern philosophy, folk art, theatre and dance. While the Center will always maintain a permanent exhibition dedicated to Wood’s life and work, it celebrates her spirit as a living art center, presenting changing exhibitions of contemporary artists, workshops and events.”

Kevin Wallace has guest-curated exhibitions for the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Long Beach Museum of Art, the Craft and Folk Art Museum, Los Angeles, the Cultural Affairs Department of Los Angeles, Los Angeles International Airport and the San Luis Obispo Art Center. He is the author of numerous books, including Transforming Vision: The Wood Sculpture of William Hunter; River of Destiny: The Life and Work of Binh Pho; and Moulthrop: A Legacy in Wood.

Wallace is on the Board of Directors of Collectors of Wood Art (CWA) and on the Advisory Board of the Handweavers Guild of America. He is a contributing editor for American Woodturner and Shuttle, Spindle & Dyepot and a regular contributor to Craft Arts International, Woodturning, Woodwork, Turning Points and American Style.

The Beatrice Wood Center for the Arts is housed in the Happy Valley homes once occupied by Beatrice Wood and her good friend Rosalind Rajagopal, President of the Happy Valley Foundation. Wood originally moved to Ojai in 1947 and was an important part of its fledgling art community. In 1974, she was invited by Rajagopal to build a home and studio on the grounds of the Happy Valley Foundation. She sold her home in lower Ojai to her potter friends Vivika and Otto Heino and moved to her new home, the building of which was partly financed by the sale of a Marcel Duchamp drawing. Wood lived on the 450-acre parcel of land in the beautiful upper Ojai Valley with the understanding that the home would be gifted to the Happy Valley Foundation upon her death. She ultimately gave them much more, including a generous gift of her own work, her library and her massive collection of folk art.

The Happy Valley Foundation, which oversees the Beatrice Wood Center for the Arts, is dedicated to creating and sustaining an environment of compassion where all forms of life are nurtured, with the understanding that constructive change in the human condition and the planet begins with the individual. The Happy Valley Foundation emphasizes development of insight, creativity, and the acquisition of perennial wisdom needed to face the challenges of the ever-changing world. The Beatrice Wood Center for the Arts current exhibition, One Work/One World, is a means of sharing this mission, featuring art in an expansive array of media and approaches, mirroring the manner in which we live in a world full of different points of view and languages, yet are united in our desire for beauty and communication.

“Working with the Happy Valley Foundation has been a very positive experience for me,” Wallace said. “My interest in the arts has always been philosophical in nature, as I believe that art has the power to expand perception. It is a means of communication that transcends borders and cultures, so that we might better understand the human experience.”

The Happy Valley Foundation also oversees the Besant Hill School (formerly the Happy Valley School), a college prep school founded in 1946. In it’s formative years, the school was supported by a community of writers, musicians, artists and philosophers that included Aldous Huxley, J. Krishnamurti, Alan Watts, Christopher Isherwood, Richard Neutra and Arnold Schoenberg. The innovative curriculum has a strong arts program, which will benefit from exposure to the artists, composers and writers who exhibit and perform at the Beatrice Wood Center for the Arts.

Ojai, located 90 miles north of Los Angeles, is celebrated as an arts community and hosts a number of annual events, including the Ojai Music Festival, the Ojai Film Festival, the Ojai Playwrights Conference and the annual Ojai Studio Artists tour. The Beatrice Wood Center for the Arts acts as a bridge between the Ojai arts community and the international art world by bringing leading figures from around the world to Ojai to exhibit and perform. Local artists are promoted in exhibitions, including Ojai Visions, which will be presented September 1 – October 14, 2007.

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