We are often asked, “what does NAMBA stand for?” and most people assume it’s an acronym. In fact, Namba is the last name of our beloved donors, Ben and Julia Campbell Namba. The Namba family have generously provided financial support to the nonprofit since it’s inception. Their motivation was to fill a void in our community for dedicated performing arts space as a place to nurture local talent and provide a safe environment for our youth to hone their artistic skills.
On June 30, 2019, Namba completed it’s first 5 year lease at the 47 So. Oak Street location. Namba’s origins date to November 2013 when local dancers performed at an art studio under the direction of Pamela Pilkenton in her rendition of “The Nutcracker”. In the audience, sat one woman whom thought it was ridiculous that Ventura had no dedicated venue for such performances and felt compelled to help these talented dancers find a proper home among Ventura’s arts community. The woman, Julia Campbell Namba, forged a relationship with Pam Pilkenton to create a nonprofit organization known as the Aloft Dancetheatre, Inc., a 501c3 corporation. This newly formed entity entered into a lease on a retail storefront and began the renovation process to convert the store into the beautiful, intimate Namba Performing Arts Space, which opened on March 27, 2015.
Over the years, Namba has presented hundreds of Music, Dance, Theater, Comedy, Civic and Community events. Thousands of students have passed through the doors for dance, acting, music and performing arts classes or workshops. All of the history has largely been supported by the huge hearts, filled with generosity, of Ben and Julia Campbell Namba.
Julia is a significant supporter of Ventura’s Arts Scene and is deeply committed to preserving Performing Arts in the community. The “Namba” name emblazoned on the studio space is one way Julia honors her husband, Ben, who lives with Alzheimer Disease and shares her appreciation for the arts.
Namba’s legacy is — and always will be — Ben’s legacy.
On March 20, 2019, the 501c3 nonprofit corporation filed with California’s Secretary of State a legal name change to the “Namba Performing Arts Space”.
FedID# 47-1474338 | California Corp. #3694016