The Ventura public art scene gives visitors some breathtaking scenery, pleasant aesthetics, and historical relevance that elevates a downtown stroll to an enriching exercise of shopping, dining, and cultural appreciation.
The history of murals in Ventura dates back to the 1930s, when the Treasury Relief Art Project funded a sistenesque mural by Gordon K. Grant featuring laborers of many varieties, with fields, horses, cattle, and people of various skin colors milking cows, barreling oil, and sorting and packing citrus and grains together as an organized workforce of industry.
The Grant murals adorn large floor-to-ceiling walls at the U.S. Post Office in Ventura as a remnant of a New Deal era economic stimulus combatting the effects of the Great Depression.
Today, art is still a form of stimulus for the downtown of Ventura, with murals and art large and small finding a home on walls, structures, and utility boxes.
In early May, local resident and artist Pat Mason spent an afternoon putting the finishing touches on her going-away present to her beloved city. Pat was moving from Ventura after decades of life and love, and she was granted approval for her design to enhance the steel utility box at the corner of Oak and Main streets.
Another local resident, Evan Mendel, has put his unique stamp on the Ventura scene with set of large wall murals — one on Hurst Avenue and Main Street, and Awonderfulmistake at 470 E. Thompson Boulevard.
Evan mixes soulful artistry with street-vibration grit that speaks true to the nature of San Buenaventura.
A strong contrast to Evan’s work, a 2016 commemorative visionary creation of 2,300 ceramic tiles covering a wall 50 feet long and 9 1/2 feet tall outside the San Buenaventura Mission on Main Street. Artist Michael O’Kelly worked with city officials, local historians, and other local sources to create a vision that covers 500 square feet and 150 years of history for Ventura.
A step across Main Street from the mission and art takes an indoor setting through the gates of the Museum of Ventura County.
The museum is free on the first Sunday of the month, which can be a nice surprise for TRVLRs stretching their budget and looking for a lifetime of memories in what can be a very short weekend.
The museum has a pair of courtyards that at any given weekend may host a middle school orchestra or jazz band putting on a free show for the community. Inside the doors, an ever-changing art display provides relevant history, art, and multimedia collections.
The kids corner supplies arts and craft materials that keep young ones busy putting their imaginations to work.
The City of Ventura put a Public Art Program in place in 1991 and as art begets art, inspiring others with the support of City management, Ventura continues to bless residents and visitors with one-of-a-kind sceneries and local businesses who thrive in the creative environment.
The City of Ventura has an online Public Art
Locator good for a self-guided tour, go to: