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.