Office of Cultural Affairs

Office of Cultural Affairs


 (805) 658-4720

 501 Poli Street, Ventura, CA 93001

The mission of Office of Cultural Affairs (OCA), part of the Community Partnerships Division of the Department of Parks, Recreation & Community Partnerships, is to: promote broad community awareness of, access to, and education in the arts and the city's historic resources in Ventura; provide opportunities and support to Ventura artists and arts organizations; foster cross-cultural understanding; and support economic development and tourism, especially in the downtown core. The Office of Cultural Affairs (OCA) is overseen by the Cultural Affairs Commission, a volunteer body of 7 members, created in 1994, that advises the Council on cultural matters. Commissioners are appointed directly by City Council. The Public Art Commission, made up of 7 volunteer members, advises the Council on matters pertaining to public art.

The City of Ventura Cultural Affairs Division (CAD) was established in 1992 as the Office of Cultural Affairs, as a direct result of the 1992 Community Cultural Plan. The Plan was formulated through an 18-month process, and involved over 200 citizens who served on eight task forces. The Plan presented a guide for development of the cultural community, with the active leadership of the Office of Cultural Affairs, which initiated numerous new programs to support local and regional artists and arts organizations.

The OCA (Office of Cultral Affairs) provides programs through both direct delivery and extensive collaboration with local arts groups and artists. Its direct programs include: special events, art and history tours, public art, educational outreach, art classes, grants, technical assistance, workshops, the “State Of The Arts” newsletter and more.

By 1998, the Cultural Affairs Division had fulfilled most of the recommendations of the 1992 Community Cultural Plan and took the final steps towards completion by commissioning the Downtown Cultural District Plan. Ventura’s historic downtown was officially designated the Cultural District as a result of this plan. The OCA continues to work on the development of the district, including facilities, activities, and marketing efforts.

The Cultural Affairs Commission, a body of five appointed officials that advise the City Council on cultural matters, was created in 1994 and provides oversight of the Division’s policies and programs. The Public Art Commission, made up of seven members, advises the Council on matters pertaining to public art.