In 1998, Gerd Koch, a resident of Ventura and a 60-year veteran of the Southern California art community, helped to transform the 22,000 square feet of what was once the art therapy unit of the old Camarillo State Hospital (now CSUCI) into a thriving independent, non-profit working artist studio complex and art galleries. Koch’s solid reputation as an artist and teacher helped in recruiting respected artists for Studio Channel Islands Art Centerªs first exhibitions.

Koch arrived in Ojai in 1952, founded an art commune and became known for his abstract impressionist works. When promoting Studio Channel Islands, he used his extensive contacts in the art world and has curated critically acclaimed exhibitions for our galleries as well as served as judge for our juried shows. He brought the work of internationally recognized artists to Studio Channel Islands Art Center.

Gerd travels extensively in order to continually experience the riches of the artistic capitals of the world. By putting together informal worldwide tours in which he acts as historian and guide, Gerd consistently makes a point of traveling with other people who are willing to watch, listen, and learn; thereby sharing the world with anyone willing to join him.

In 2011 and 2012, the Gerd Koch and Carole Milton Grants for Professional Artists of Ventura County gave four $3,000 grants to visual artists in the community. This groundbreaking program is the only grant of its kind in intended for Ventura County professional visual artists, funded by proceeds from the sale of Gerd and Carol’s works of art.

In September 2013, Gerd Koch and his partner Carole Milton will be showing their works at the Gallery in a joint solo show titled Together.

Gerd Koch is listed in Whoªs Who of American Artists, Whoªs Who of American Educators and Whoªs Who in America and was recently awarded with the Art Star Award for Lifetime Achievement by the Ventura County Arts Council.