Along the Way Tour
Below, you will find a detailed map with exact locations for each of these wonderful examples of the public art found within the City of Ojai. You can access these artworks as a separate tour of its own, or, you may wish to add these stops to your Downtown Tour. For a sneak peek at the art, please see the Along the Way Tour slideshow.
Chantico Inn: “Sunflowers”
Completed in 2007, Chantico Inn and Suites sports several noteworthy architectural features including a bell tower, a stone chimney, and paving—all done in Old World style. Deanna Pine crated the hand painted glazed ceramic sunflower tiles that were commissioned as part of the City’s Public Art program. Pini has an MFA from UCSB and teaches ceramics at Westmont and Ventura Colleges.
Bello Plaza: “Iron Archways”
Two expertly crafted hand-forged steel archways by Oak View public artists, Doug Lochner, grace the entries to E’Bello Plaza. Indentations into the leafy vines were hammered while the metal was hot, creating the detailed texture. Lochner works in a broad range of materials including glass, wood, and ceramics. Lochner’s versatility as an artist can be seen in “Fun for All”, a major public artwork at the Libbey Park Playground featured on the Downtown Tour.
The Emerald Iguana Inn: “The Emerald Iguana Fountain”
Located at the far end of Blanch Street, the Emerald Iguana Inn offers both cottages and rooms for long and short Ojai stays. Designed and furnished by Marc and Julia Whitman, the grounds feature extensive tile and stone work, copper art, and a mural—but it’s centerpiece is surely the fountain designed by Marc Whitman with a giant iguana covered in broken tile from RTK Studios. The horn, tongue, tip of the tail, and toenails are made of copper by metal artist Jan Sanchez, who has left a legacy of beautiful metal artwork throughout the City including Cluff Vista Park and the Ojai Center for the Arts. Be sure to check out her copper light fixtures, that, when lit, look like flames.
The Oaks at Ojai: “The Bounty of Ojai”
Richard Keit and Mary Kennedy, owners and artists of RTK studios, created four scenic tile murals that grace the front walls of the Oaks at Ojai under the overhang. The colors of the tiles’ design stand out in beautiful contrast to a dark border that was created using an Old Spanish Moor technique called “Cuerda Seca,” or “dry cord.” A line is drawn around the colored areas using a bulb syringe filled with manganese carbonate and oil. When the tiles are fired, the mixture burns off leaving the dark outline—a technique the artists perfected,
Libbey Park: “Lion Head Fountain”
The Lion Head Fountain was built in 1917 as an integral part of the pergola designed by San Diego artists, Mead and Requa. In 1999, the pergola, that had been demolished some years earlier, was restored. Ojai sculptor, Dennis Shives, was commissioned to recreate the deteriorated lion head from the original.. The smaller lion’s head, perched on the back wall facing the park, is the original 1904 creation. Original 1904 Lion Head Sculpture pasted-image.tiff F. Libbey Park: “Gardenia Fountain” In the courtyard entrance to Libbey Park is Ojai’s iconic Gardenia Fountain. Water glides gracefully over its twotiered bowls designed to represent the petals of gardenia flowers. The fountain serves as a centerpiece for many memorable community events. On hot days, children can be seen splashing and playing in the cool waters.
Libbey Park: “Anson Thacher Memorial Bandstand”
The Libby Park Bandstand was built in 1993 from a design donated to the city by Ojai architect, Marc Whitman. The bandstand’s posts are topped by metal brackets in the shape of tree branches and are embedded in support columns of Ohio River Rock. The meticulously crafted roof is made of Douglas Fir. Hand glazed art tiles rim the steps and the floor designed and donated by RTK studios. The tiles pay tribute to the crow – a much maligned, yet highly intelligent bird.
Libbey Park: “Rotary Family Walkway”
Susan Weaver, Anna Cho-Wagner, and Linda Taylor oversaw the creation and installation of hand-decorated tiles by children near and dear to both Rotary Clubs of Ojai. Tiles were purchased with a $100 dollar donation that helped to fund the Libbey Bowl renovation of 2011. Children worked with Ojai artists to decorate the tiles, some with musical themes, that were later fired at Nordhoff High School. The creators of the project even invited non-local Rotarian youths to submit their designs by mail. They were then transferred to a tile and fired by volunteer artists. The tiles were unveiled at the Libbey Bowl “Day of Music” Grand Opening Celebration on June 5, 2011.
Chevron Station: “Otto Heino Tile Niche” and “RTK Design Panels”
Even the Chevron station on the corner of Montgomery and Ojai Avenue sports the artistic spirit. RTK Tile Studios created tile pieces to decorate the outside walls of the building. There are both quatrefoil shaped and square shaped design panels on all the outside columns of the Spanish style building that houses the convenience store. Inside the building, two lovely pottery tile niches by renowned potter, Otto Heino, grace the walls. J. Su Nido Inn: “Wrought Iron and Tile Gateway”
Su Nido Entry Arch
Su Nido, meaning “your nest” in Spanish, is an architectural gem located down from the Chevron Station on Montgomery Avenue. The Inn’s entry arch is flanked by intricately forged wrought iron and tile gateways that were designed by Ojai artist, Kent Butler, with fabrication by Enrique Hernandez of Artistic Ironworks of Oxnard. Accents throughout the Inn’s courtyard are provided by unique hand-painted Talavera tiles from Mexico.