Dozens of local artists will display their extraordinary talents at the 13th annual Thousand Oaks Arts Festival Sept. 17-18. The two-day event features some 25 live musical, dance and theatrical performances on two stages, along with the artistic creations of more than 60 area artists working in various mediums, including oil, acrylics, watercolor, pastels, mixed media, sculpture, jewelry, photography and digitally created works. Children will enjoy hands-on art experiences, such as getting pointers on painting, music, dance and more.
Headlining this year’s event is the multi-talented Bob Eubanks, serving as the 2016 Art Festival Honorary Chairperson. When it comes to entertainment, Mr. Eubanks has literally done it all. Starting his career as a disc jockey for a major Los Angeles radio station, Bob went on to host and produce a variety of television’s most popular shows, became a concert promoter for superstars, including Merle Haggard and the Beatles, and managed careers of music icons Dolly Parton, Barbara Mandrell and Marty Robbins. A long-time host of the Emmy Award-winning Rose Parade for 38 years, Bob holds nine Emmys and even has his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
No question, Mr. Eubanks has had an unbelievable career and humbly brings it all home, when he notes, “The Thousand Oaks Art Festival is one of the great events in our community and I’m very honored to be involved.”
Two of the many talented individuals who will showcase their immense works in the festival exemplify the high caliber of performance and visual artists in the community.
Katherine Ho – Musician & Student
Katherine Ho is the first-ever Art Festival Junior Honorary Chairperson. She is an accomplished teen, who will be entering her senior year in the fall at Westlake High School. Although nearing graduation, she already has a well-established musical career, but she’s just getting started and is destined for great things.
The high point in her life, thus far, was being a contestant on Season 10 of NBC’s “The Voice,” in which she bested 40,000 other singers and made it through to the Knockout Rounds with “Team Adam.”
“This was an incredible learning experience,” says Katherine. “Not only did I get to work with my musical idols, Adam Levine, Tori Kelly and Miley Cyrus, I also got to meet and befriend amazing fellow contestants. It was life-changing, but it’s really only the first step,” she says.
Music has always been a part of Katherine’s life. From age 5, she began studying classical piano. By 9, she was taking singing lessons and, in elementary school, she participated in musical theater. Around this time, she also landed her first professional singing job in the film titled “Valentine’s Day,” which led to voiceover jobs for Disney and other roles.
Throughout middle and high school, Katherine has continued voice and piano lessons, performing at talent shows and singing in her high school choir. She’s also vice president of the Bazooka Music Club, a community service group of musicians that performs at senior living homes in the area.
In addition, Katherine and two friends produce a song and perform in an annual Chinese New Year celebration. She is also involved with the A Cappella Academy, affiliated with the multiple Grammy Award-winning a cappella group Pentatonix.
With a great deal on her plate, Katherine keeps the stress level down by making food, watching “copious amounts” of cooking videos, and playing doubles tennis for Westlake High School in season. She often posts cover song videos on YouTube; user name singerkho.
She is planning to go to college to further advance her knowledge.
“I have to admit, I am still quite inexperienced in the music industry and I have so much more to learn,” she says. “Pursuing my passion is definitely not an easy road and I know I have to work so much harder to achieve my goals.”
“I believe in music’s ability to bring light to the world. Music has done so many wonderful things for me and I hope to return the favor by improving the lives of others through music,” she adds.
Katherine has already come a long way in her short life. She is looking forward to writing and releasing her own, original music in the future, which looks quite dazzling for this rising star.
Delesprie – Sculptor & Teacher
The featured artist for this year’s Thousand Oaks Arts Festival is sculptor Delesprie, who has been creating life-size statues and monuments for over 30 years. Locally, her work includes all of the statues and the water fountain at the Promenade in Westlake Village, the 18-foot “Angels” at The Grove in Los Angeles, and the featured sculptures at The Commons in Calabasas.
She has also done some amazing sculptures of notables, such as Dwight Eisenhower, Dick Van Dyck, Sylvester Stallone, and the Firefighters Memorial in Orange County. Her works can be viewed on her website Delesprie.com.
Delesprie is currently the owner of Bronze Masterworks in Ventura, where she creates her artworks and teaches aspiring sculptors. She previously owned National Heritage Gallery in Beverly Hills and has taught at Loveland Academy of Fine Arts, Studio Channel Islands Art Center, and California Arts Institute in Westlake Village.
Delesprie, whose name in French means “from the spirit,” taught herself to draw when she was very young. As a teenager, one summer she went kayaking on a Canadian Indian Reservation and discovered the clay near her campsite was the perfect medium for forming solid images of the native children and elders she encountered during her stays.
She loved working with her hands to shape her subjects, but also studied counselling and business, finishing that part of her education at California State University at Northridge. From there, Delesprie intensified her learning with professional art classes to more fully develop her sculpting skills and learn how “to see” her subjects from the inside out.
She begins her sculpting process with a silhouette. Then, clay is applied in coils onto a core structure of wood and a steel pipe, paying attention to all sides of her model. Additional coils are added to fill in the exacting features. Delesprie says her technique allows her students to visualize how the structures of their subjects are put together from the inside.
“Once they learn this process, my students can sculpt anything, regardless of their level of sculpting experience,” she notes.
When she gives live demonstrations, she interacts with her audiences throughout, describing her process and answering questions as she is presenting. Delesprie obviously loves her work because she wants to “bring as much joy into this world as possible.”
“People shouldn’t be dwelling on dark subjects,” she says. “We get enough on television and in our news. I want to bring happiness through my work that can be shared with everyone.”
She holds classes in her Ventura studio on Fridays and can be reached at Delesprie.com or 818.269.8988.
The Thousand Oaks Arts Festival is free to the public and runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily at the Civic Arts Plaza and The Lakes Shopping Center. Free parking is available.