The philosophy of Happy Valley School, now known as Besant Hill School of Happy Valley, is drawn from the vision of our founders, who believed that the environment which encourages the fullest development of student potential is one that affords the opportunity to explore creative as well as intellectual abilities. We believe in working together in a spirit of cooperation, not conformity, seeking to cultivate and express what is excellent in each. Intellectual curiosity and a spirit of inquiry are the activating factors in the educational process, while active participation in school community builds caring and responsible individuals, promoting lives of integrity, awareness, and purpose.
The history of the Beatrice Wood Center for the Arts is largely the story of Happy Valley. When Annie Besant, a supporter of progressive movements, from female suffrage to Indian independence, first saw the land which is now called Happy Valley, she envisioned that it would be a center for people who would usher in a new world. Besant’s vision contributed to Ojai’s development during the 20th century as a spiritual center and art community.
Beatrice Wood moved to Ojai in 1947 and was an important part of its fledgling art community. Today, Ojai enjoys its reputation as an art center, with many talented artists residing there.
The Beatrice Wood Center for the Arts fulfills much of Annie Besant’s original vision, as a place where arts and education are paramount. It is closely affiliated to the Besant Hill School (formerly the Happy Valley School) that will benefit from and contribute to its activities.
Aside from a regular exhibition schedule, there are artist workshops and performances. The Beatrice Wood Center for the Arts presents a continuum joining the artists, writers and others who shaped Happy Valley and the Happy Valley School (now called the Besant Hill School) and those who are working today, as well as a bridge between the International Art World and the local community.
Beatrice Wood is both the heart and inspiration for the Center.