Creating Community 3

Cultivating the Arts

Barbara Hinton, Founder & Executive Director, Ventura County Art Events

NAWBO Arts Advocate of the Year

“Follow your dream and BELIEVE it will happen.”

When Barbara Hinton has an idea, she applies her determination and focus to turn it into a reality, like when she decided the city of Ventura needed an art festival.

“I didn’t give up,” says Barbara, founder and director of the Ventura Art & Street Painting Festival. Hinton’s festival idea has become a popular community event recently featured in Westways Magazine and even helps feed hungry people.

“The festival enables us to raise funds for FOOD Share, Inc.,” says Hinton, who’s working on creating future events. In her free time, Hinton enjoys spending time with her husband and cats and planning a visit to New Zealand.

Kim Maselli, Artistic Director

Pacific Festival Ballet/California Dance Theatre

“Be true to yourself and dream big. Don’t downsize your goals trying to be realistic. Think big, do the work and mentor under an individual you admire.”

Growing up in a theatrical family in Vermont, Kim Maselli developed a love for the arts at a young age.

“My father loved to sing and my mother was a professional dancer. One of my first childhood memories is sitting in the corner of my mom’s dance studio watching the ‘big girls’ dance,” Kim recalls, whose passion for the stage fueled her desire to dance.

Since age 14, Kim’s passion, dedication and perseverance have helped her realize her dreams. “The fulfillment of expressing myself onstage or telling a story through dance gave me deep satisfaction and joy,” says Kim, who credits her mentors and teachers for encouraging her while helping refine her talents and abilities.

With a strong work ethic and a firm belief in God, Kim developed into a teacher and choreographer, cofounding California Dance Theatre and Pacific Festival Ballet. “I have a firm belief that God directs our lives and He opened some pretty amazing doors for me,” says Kim, noting how rewarding it is to instill a love for creativity and dance in the next generation.

“The art of classical ballet is handed down through generations and I feel privileged to be a part of this lineage,” she says. Having trained thousands of dancers in the Conejo Valley over the past 30 years, Kim and her strong professional faculty have made a lasting impact on the community.

Continuing her commitment to excellence in the arts, Kim plans to keep educating and inspiring students and sharing her love of ballet. “Our residency at the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza allows us to stage full-scale productions and bring renowned artists to the Conejo Valley. Our patrons and ongoing community support will keep Pacific Festival Ballet preserving the classics as well as creating original work.”

Angela Rosales, Owner, Very Ventura Gift Shop & Gallery

NAWBO Rising Star of the Year

“My No. 1 piece of advice is to not only ask for help, but LET people help you and not feel guilty about it. …as women, we tend to feel bad if we let someone take a task or load off us, but don’t hesitate to be there when someone else needs our help. The result is feeling overwhelmed and then we may give up. You should not give up. You got this!”

Following her passion panned out perfectly for Angela Rosales, who resourcefully adapted her skills and talents to forge a path down the yellow brick road, leading to the creation of what’s now a community mainstay, the Very Ventura Gift Shop & Gallery. When life served her lemons and she and her husband’s careers in the building industry dipped during the recession, Angela decided to explore other options, beginning in her hometown of Ventura.

“Uncertain that we would even keep our jobs, we founded a website/blog about Ventura, simply because we enjoyed living here. Not really knowing where this would lead, I put my writing skills to use and my husband designed the site,” explains Angela, who has a BA in English from Cal State University, Northridge.

Discovering an abundance of artistic talent in the area, Angela decided to showcase it, renting a small space to store products for online sales.

“It became apparent that the store filled a needed niche in the souvenir market,” says Angela, noting the gift shop has twice outgrown its space in the past 3.5 years. Currently located in the heart of downtown Ventura, the store is open daily and hosts art exhibits.

“I wouldn’t be successful without a whole host of people that support me,” adds Angela, naming husband, Michael, as “No. 1 on that list.” The nonprofit Women Economic Ventures also helped her create a business plan, connect to key members in the business community and hone her business skills.

“Through WEV, I have gained a sisterhood in the business community,” says Angela. She is also grateful for her two part-time employees (one is her mom!) who help keep the store running smoothly and profitably and her customers.

“I feel a great sense of responsibility by having a store named ‘Very Ventura.’ I want to do it right, so I’m grateful for the customers who have awarded me their trust and business.”

Proud to help local artists reach a wider market, Angela hopes to hire a full-time manager. For fun, Angela enjoys staycationing along the beach where she can recharge her batteries and gain a creative perspective on her business.

Natalia Staneva, Executive Director, New West Symphony

Chamber of Commerce Nonprofit of the Year

“Be yourself and continue to improve, learn and expose yourself to new ideas and new opportunities. By doing so, you can create the environment that makes you most happy.” 

A world-class professional orchestra and resident company of the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza, the New West Symphony presents six Masterpiece Series concerts annually and provides educational opportunities for the communities it serves. As executive director since 2011, Natalia Staneva takes pride in the organization’s mission.

“Specifically, I’m proud of our artistic programs and community collaborations,” notably a YouTube competition for young soloists, a world premiere outreach performance and the Harmony Project, with philanthropists Sandra and Jordan Laby. The project serves 160+ at-risk youth. “All artistic and education initiatives take time and a lot of nurturing and I’m proud of my team and board of directors for their superb job in making them happen,” Natalia says.

Natalia’s passion for student outreach began early on. “I wanted to be a teacher,” she says. “I would gather the neighborhood kids and sit them down for lessons. When I entered music school, I performed for them and taught them how to play piano. I was my sister’s first music teacher and she grew up to earn a doctorate degree in music performance.”

Leading NWS to new heights, Natalia looks forward to expanding programs and outreach and creating new projects.

“When our organization succeeds, I feel that I succeed,” she says. In addition to excelling professionally, Natalia believes in life-work balance.

“I just became a new, first-time mother, so I am trying to live the right balance every day.”