Editor's note


hey say art comes from within—a cliché, perhaps, but a spot on description of the illustrator Simms Taback (page 43), who recently moved west from upstate New York. Somewhere in that 75-year-old shell there’s an inner little rascal mixing watercolors and whispering instructions, someone with a firm grip on the waggish ways of childhood, Alfalfa with a silver cowlick. And the bearded artist, working away in his little backyard Ventura studio so he can be closer to his children and grandchildren, is merely a conduit for youth. To be sure, Taback has applied himself seriously to commercial artistry over the years. But his work suggests something beyond technical skill. Something that comes from within.

My wife and I recently bumped into Simms outside a downtown Ventura restaurant. There was eye contact and had a flash of mutual recognition—and then I laughed a little. No good reason. I just laughed. Simms has a certain impish charm, as if he’s secretly up to something and having quite a lot of fun. And that playful nature comes screaming through his illustrations. “He’s cute,” my wife said as we walked inside to take our table. She’s better than I am at one-word descriptions.

I’ve learned all about the world of nonprofit philanthropy because of my wife. She founded a local cancer assistance organization around the time we met, so I’ve seen how transforming good intent into effective change is fraught with complexities. But that’s not the reason I was skeptical when Julie Giove contacted me about Reins of H.O.P.E. (page 30), a new nonprofit she’s started in Ojai. No, it was the very nature of what her organization offers: Equine Assisted Psychotherapy. Now, I’ll be honest. Having never heard of such a thing, I couldn’t resist the Freudian image of a bespectacled horse analyzing a patient… “Tell me again about your relationship with your father.” Of course it’s not like that at all. There’s actually nothing ludicrous about EAP. It is widely practiced outside of Ventura County and it’s proven to be quite effective. Ojai, with its unique bucolic/progressive character, seems an ideal place for it to flourish locally.

We wish Julie and Marie Ortiz, the Equine Specialist she’s partnered with on Reins of H.O.P.E., much success. And we welcome all of you to drop a line if you have something you’d like to share. As always, thanks to our contributors and sponsors for breathing life into another issue.

Matt Katz, Editor


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