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South Coast Museum Set To Reopen After Physical, Financial Overhaul

Artist Ryan Carr works on a giant 70 foot long mural which is part of the revamp of the Museum of Ventura County

Artist Ryan Carr has been painting a wall in Ventura for more than two months, but it’s not just any wall. Carr is creating a massive mural some 70 feet long, and 14 feet high, which looks at Ventura County’s history through its trees.

The mural is one of the centerpieces of the ambitious physical and financial overhaul of the more than century old Museum of Ventura County, which is reopening this weekend after a more than three month closure to allow the updates.

The museum has gone through a series of executive directors during the last six years, while losing money to the point that its financial situation had become precarious. Last summer, former City of Ventura Parks, Recreation, and Community Partnerships Director Elena Brokaw became the museum’s interim Executive Director.

She says they realized that aside from the financial issues, the community simple wasn’t able to see enough of the museum’s huge 30,000 piece collection. The museum documents the history, and culture of the county, as well as providing a window into its artistic roots.  So, they closed the Museum in September for a major facelift. Brokaw says they got creative, revamping the museum’s layout, and even using areas which were previously corridors and courtyards as exhibit space.

But, it wasn’t just adding pieces of the collection to the exhibition. It was bringing a new vision to what the museum would show, plans developed after a series of community meetings. Museum’s Curator Anna Bermudez says they worked hard to pair historical artifacts with artworks.

The result is a mostly changed exhibition space which adds some mini-galleries.

Brokaw says even before this Sunday’s official re-opening of the museum, the community has shown a huge vote of confidence for the non-profit’s efforts. She says a half-million dollar fundraising campaign hit its target.

The Museum of Ventura County’s grand re-opening is from noon-5 p.m this Sunday, and will feature tours, special kids activities, food trucks, and more. Admission is free, but you need tickets which are available through the museum’s website. 

Link to Museum of Ventura County:

Lance Orozco has been News Director of KCLU since 2001, providing award-winning coverage of some of the biggest news events in the region, including the Thomas and Woolsey brush fires, the deadly Montecito debris flow, the Borderline Bar and Grill attack, and Ronald Reagan's funeral. 
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