Ventura Music Festival

Ventura Music Festival
Commitment to Education

Young Artists Fund
Youth Education, Engagement & Performance

Drawing and letter to Nuvi Mehta from young concert attendee

Founded in 1994 by City and civic leaders in response to an identified need for a cultural festival to revitalize downtown and showcase Ventura as a cultural destination, the Ventura Music Festival remains one of the City’s signature performing arts assets. It is the sole nonprofit whose mission is to bring world-class music to the community and enhance the joy of music for audiences of all ages. Youth education and engagement have been essential from the beginning.

The VMF Young Artists Fund supports an array of youth education, engagement and performance activities, chief among them our signature education program, Music in the Schools, developed by Artistic Director Nuvi Mehta. Designed for 3rd through 5th graders to meet California State music curriculum requirements, the program opens children’s minds to new experiences through live performance, one-on-one interaction and exploration. Up to 4,000 children are engaged yearly in more than 20 elementary schools, Boys & Girls Clubs and Casa Pacifica settings. Title One schools are a priority.

Other popular youth initiatives include an admission-free Rising Stars concert in the Spring featuring outstanding young choral, classical and jazz musicians; a delightful concert in the Fall designed for public school third-graders and attended by upwards of 1,000 children and teaching staff; an annual Student Jazz Competition involving high school-age musicians; plus stand-alone concerts and other programs throughout the year.

Music in the Schools and other Young Artists Fund programs are supported by generous donations from Miriam Wille, Aera Energy LLC, Union Bank, Julius Gius Memorial Rotary Foundation, the Harmony Music Center, E.J. Harrison & Sons, Jordan Laby Bill and Elise Kearney, Jennie & David Whaley and from general contributions to the Fund.

Blake Kasting performing  Blake Kasting, Student Jazz winner 2016.
Angelo Velasquez Trio in studio  Angelo Velasquez, Student Jazz winner 2017.
Rachel Flowers performing  Rachel Flowers, Student Jazz winner 2010.
Jerod Frederick performing  Jerod Frederick, Rising Star 2012.


VMF logo art



Julia Campbell & Ben Namba
Freddie & Al Contarino
Janet & Mark Goldenson
Hammer-Hewson Associates
and Shirley & Steve Simms
Jordan Laby
Barbara Meister

Dr. Peter Cannon
City of Ventura
Celine Gillibrand for P.W. Gillibrand Co.
Montecito Bank & Trust
Schwab Charitable Fund
Smith-Hobson Fund
Miriam Wille

Gloisten Family Charitable Foundation
Pierpont Racquet Club

E.J. Harrison & Sons
Joseph P. Reardon Funeral
Home & Cremation Service

Limoneira & Limco Del Mar

Aera Energy LLC
(for Music in the Schools)
Arianna Ashkar, Brett Ashkar,
John Ashkar & Family

Community Memorial Health System
Halter-Encinas Enterprises
Julius Gius Memorial Rotary Foundation (for Music in the Schools)
Dr. Richard & Lori Reisman
The Arts Collaborative