The purpose of the Ojai Chautauqua is to engage Ventura County in civil discourse about controversial and highly passionate subjects. The Chautauqua was an adult education movement in the United States, highly popular in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Chautauqua assemblies expanded and spread throughout rural America until the mid-1920s.
The Chautauqua brought entertainment and culture for the whole community, with speakers, teachers, musicians, entertainers, preachers, and specialists of the day. Former U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt was quoted as saying that Chautauqua is “the most American thing in America.” The Ojai Chautauqua is continuing this movement, with a special focus on encouraging civil discourse on controversial and highly passionate subjects. The feedback so far has been phenomenal. Civil discourse is dangerously absent from all aspects of contemporary life. The result of this failing is not only sad… it is dangerous. If we can develop this essential ability, we can begin to affect a positive change to many aspects of life that can extend far and wide.
Preparing for the Next Wildland Fire
Saturday, March 30, 2019
3:00-5:00PM – Matilija Auditorium
703 El Paseo Road in Ojai
Watch the March 30, 2019 panel Preparing for the Next Wildland Fire
Moderator – Andy Gilman – Executive Director of The Agora Foundation
Sean Anderson – Professor at CSUCI
Bryant Baker – Los Padres Forest Watch
Theresa Bulla-Richards – Educator, Community Leader
Will Castagna – Chair of the Ojai Fire Safe Council
John McNeil – Ventura County Fire Division Chief
The Future of Water in the Ojai Valley
What’s Changing and What Might Still Need to Change
Sunday, September 30, 2018
3:00-5:00PM – Matilija Auditorium
703 El Paseo Road in Ojai
In the face of an ongoing drought and a diminishing lake, the Ojai community has paid a lot of attention to water recently. Our government, environmental nonprofits, and water management agencies have also been working on the challenge of securing a sustainable water future for our valley. This Ojai Chautauqua will focus on the changes that are currently underway, as well as additional changes that we may need to consider.
Watch the August 22, 2018 Casitas Municipal Water District Board Meeting on the state water connection, with the General Managers of Calleguas. United, and the City of Ventura The Future of Water for the Ojai Valley
Over the next twelve months, the Ojai Chautauqua will produce up to five events focusing on issues particular to the Ojai Valley. With the success and impact of the November 19, 2017 event on Tourism in the Ojai Valley (watch it here) and the April 15, 2018 event on Water in the Ojai Valley (watch it here), our committee and sponsors realize that the greatest impact we can achieve is through this narrowed focus. The Ojai Valley is in a time of substantial transition and is striving to establish a sustainable vision for the future. The Ojai Chautauqua is pleased to work with non-profit and business groups, the City of Ojai, the public and private school systems, as well as educational institutions outside of the Ojai Valley to bring these communities together to build the momentum we need to become a model community that will inspire others to vibrancy.
The Ojai Chautauqua
Free Community Seminar Series on
The Foundations of Our Republic
Taking place the first and third Thursdays of each month
beginning May 3, 2018
We are thrilled to offer our first free community seminar series, taking place at the Ojai Library from 12:00 – 1:00PM on the first and third Thursdays of each month, beginning May 3rd. Groups will be kept small (12-18 people) in order to facilitate conversation. Registrants are invited to attend as many sessions as they would like, and can begin at any time. Reservations are required and attendees read the scheduled material prior to attending each seminar. Click here to register. Download the first reading here – The Declaration of Independence.
What are the fundamental principles of our Republic? Are these principles based on a view of objective reality/nature, or simply the “consent of the governed”? Are these principles changeable, and if so on what grounds? What authority is given to the Executive, Legislative, and Judiciary branches? What are rights? Are they based on nature or consent? Are they inalienable? We invite community members to join us as we discuss these founding and subsequent documents in an effort to better understand the principles of our ongoing American experiment.
Thursday, April 4, 2019
The Declaration of Independence, selected Federalist Papers, The U.S. Constitution, Dred Scott Decision and Dissenting View (edited), Lincoln Douglass Debates (edited), Letter from Birmingham Jail.
The Ojai Library
111 East Ojai Avenue
Ojai, California 93023
On Sunday, April 15, 2018, at the Matilija Junior High Auditorium, we continued our discussion of Water: Part II.
In addition to our panels promoting civil discourse on topics of national concern, The Ojai Chautauqua is launching a series of events specifically focused on issues facing the Ojai Valley. We kick off this new series with an imminent and critical choice facing all of us – Water. In 2014 we held a panel on The Future of Water (view the event here) and since then the situation has only become worse with the continuing drought. There are several proposals under consideration and the purpose of this panel is to thoughtfully consider all of the options and their implications. We hope you will join us as we work together to ensure the vitality of this beautiful community.
President of the Ojai Chautauqua Committee
Water Conservation Expert and Horticulturalist
Board Member of the Casitas Municipal Water District
Board President of the Ojai Basin Groundwater Management Agency
Member of the Ojai Valley Water Advisory Group
Ojai Permaculture Founder
Board Member of the Ventura River Water District
Managing Director of the Ojai Valley Inn
Ojai City Council Member
On every chair at the Panel on Ojai Tourism event – Sunday, November 19th, 2017, there was a handout containing data about Ojai tourism history, tax revenue, population, traffic, and housing. Click here to download in PDF format.