The City of Ojai Arts Commission is proud to announce the 2013 Lifetime Achievement Award in the Arts will be awarded to Khaled Alawar on Tuesday, June 10 by the Ojai City Council.
A 1970 emigrate from Lebanon, Alawar moved to Ojai in 1982 from Chicago with his wife, Sheryl, after they fell in love with Ojai’s small town feel. Purchasing the Ojai Playhouse, the Alawars and their family established The Primavera Gallery and have gone on to become an essential part of the Ojai community.
“In choosing Khaled Alawar for the award we focused on his overall support for the arts in Ojai,” said Michael Addison, Ojai Arts Commissioner and the Lifetime Achievement Award Committee Chair. “Khaled has maintained a high profile Arcade gallery, which has featured Ojai artists, both individually and in group shows. He repeatedly makes the theatre available gratis to community groups for meetings and film showings, provides a continuing venue for the Ojai Film Society on Sundays and a showcase for the student films sponsored by the Ojai Film Festival and an artistic home for the Ojai Film Festival. In short, Khaled continually uses his resources in a generous way to support the arts in Ojai.”
Alawar’s Primavera Gallery has been exhibiting American craft for over 29 years representing more than 100 artists from across the country. He focuses on emerging as well as long-established artists working in a variety of mediums including glass, wood and ceramics. It has been a labor of love for Alawar.
“The more galleries and the more art there is in any community, the more we celebrate art in a community, the better,” said Alawar in a recent interview promoting the recent “Discarted” show. Alawar, who is inclusive and ever supportive of newcomers to the arts community continued, “There is an amazing transformation that happens to people
when they walk in and see the art.”
Outside the Gallery, Alawar also has collaborated to bring emerging and established artists together for exhibitions to benefit the Ojai Studio Artists Scholarship Fund and has been an Ojai Music Festival Board Member.
Older Ojai residents will also remember Alawar for saving Ojai’s only theatre during a time when single-screen movie houses were closing nationwide. Alawar purchased the shuttered theatre, made needed repairs and improvements, and then brought back first-run films.
In helping to found the Ojai Film Society, Alawar and his theatre now showcase limited-run art films on Sunday afternoons. Alawar continued to increase accessibility to film by making the theatre available free of charge to the Art21 film series, begun last year by the City.
“There is nothing on this earth that is not an expression of art,” said Alawar, already voted a Living Treasure by Ojai’s Rotary. “Art is everywhere.”
The public is welcome to attend the June 10 meeting of the Ojai City Council at 7 p.m. for the presentation of the award. The meeting will occur at Ojai City Hall, at 401 S. Ventura Street.