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Sharon Austin named winner of

Biennial Open Art Exhibition 

Sharon Austin has been selected as the first place winner for the 12th Biennial Open Art exhibition sponsored by the Associates of the Ontario Museum of History & Art.


Her work, “Painted Face,” was selected as the winner among about 60 works entered in the contest.   

The other works received awards:

Second place:  Hannah Raykhenberg: “I Will Bury You in Flowers #2”

Third Place: Juan Varela: “Our Lady of the Angels”

Honorable mentions:  Sarah Arnold: “Echo Park Tree”; Chris Keung: “On the Verge”; Stephen Rybacki: “Unoccupied”; Lisa Tomceszyn: “Salt Marsh Daylight.”

City Council Liaison Awards: Dan Frembling: “Running Free”


Steve Thomas Photography/Conservation Award: Leah Knecht: “Double Exposure.”

This year’s juror was Jennifer Kane, an artist, arts organizer, and teacher from Los Angeles, who currently resides in Joshua Tree. She serves as the Executive Director of Arts Connection, the Arts Council of San Bernardino County. 


The Ontario Open Art Exhibition gives regional artists of all ages and skills the opportunity to display their artwork and a chance to win a cash prize. 


The Museum Associates is a non-profit organization that actively supports educational programs and community events at the museum through volunteer staffing, fundraising, and membership.

Meet Director Marissa Kucheck 

Marissa Kucheck is the director of the Ontario Museum of History & Art, bringing an extensive background in the arts and in museum management to Ontario.


Marissa joined the museum staff coming to Ontario from her previous position in the Cultural Arts Division of the city of South Gate. 

And while she is a native Southern Californian – she attended high school in Irvine – her college education came many miles away.  She received a bachelor’s degree in art history and a minor in urban studies from McGill University in Montreal, Canada, and a master’s degree in art history and museum studies from the University of Michigan.

“I was pleased to find that the city, like me, has its own Canadian connection, with George Chaffey," said Marissa, whose mother is Canadian. 

Marissa brings a wealth of experience having worked at the Huntington Library, the Bronx Museum of the Arts, the Brooklyn Museum and the Orange County Museum of Art. She is an alumnus of Arts for LA’s ACTIVATE program, holds a certificate in community teaching artistry from Cal State Los Angeles, and has completed the 2021 Rautenberg New Leaders Project. 

She says she is up to the challenge of using the museum’s strategic plan to build greater interest and growth while overcoming the hardships produced by the Covid epidemic.  

Melissa said among the challenges facing the museum are construction improvements underway to upgrade facilities in the 1930s former City Hall, as well as developing programs to reach out to new communities in Ontario and adjacent cities. 


“It’s a very exacting time for the museum and the city,” she said.  “But it is just a matter of taking each challenge one piece at a time.  I think we are very much ready for the future.” 


Sharon Austin, "Painted Face"

Museum Programs



A Dia de Los Muertos:

Recuerdos de Sabores / Colorful Memories

Oct. 5 to Nov. 19

This year will be the museum’s 25th Día de Los Muertos exhibition. The holiday is a multi-day celebration filled with many traditions, 

including the creation of altars, known as ofrendas. The 25th exhibition will focus on the practices that make the celebration sweet and savory. Featured artists will exhibit works of art highlighting cuisines that remind them of cherished moments with their departed family or friends. 


Built on Water


Learn how water shapes our lives!  The new permanent exhibition, "Built on Water: Ontario and Inland Southern California" explores the history, present and future of water in Ontario and the surrounding region. Experience our new mobile app, listen to the voices of our community’s water guardians, and  see the power of nature through historic photos. 


Gem of the Foothills



This shares the story of Ontario's founding, 

people and organizations. Explore its roots, beginning with the Tongva and the Californio rancheros to the city’s founding by George Chaffey. Learn why citrus and grapes dominated the landscape or how the airport became a logistical anchor for the Inland Empire. Discover why Ontario is the “Gem of the Foothills.” 



                         First Thursdays

At the Museum

Oct. 5, 5 to 8 p.m. 

Explore First Thursdays at the Museum and discover exhibitions and art activities, as well as enjoy food and drinks from local eateries – 

with extended hours, every first Thursday. Food will be available for purchase from pop-up vendors. 


Dia de Los Muertos:

Recuerdos de Sabores / Colorful Memories

Oct. 7, noon to 3 p.m. 

Celebrate the 25th year of the Museum’s exhibition. The reception will be filled with 

flavorful memories, wonderful artwork, small dishes related to the Day of the Dead holiday and artmaking activities. Join exhibiting artists and 

Museum staff in celebrating this milestone. 


Community Events:

Ontario Arts Festival

Oct. 21,  10 a.m. to 5 p.m. 


The Museum and the Chaffey Community 

Museum of Art will host the fifth annual Ontario Arts Festival. This one-day event will feature artwork for purchase from local artists, free 

entry to museums, food trucks and a beer garden! Information: e-mail or (909) 395-2510. 

First Thursdays:

Paint in the Dark - Dia de Los Muertos

Nov. 2. 6 to 8 p.m. 

Celebrate Día de los Muertos by creating your own glow-in-the-dark calavera painting. Experiment with neon paint in a UV setting with Artist Mario Solorzano. Space is limited; reservations suggested. 

In the Vault:

Ontario and the Armed Forces

Nov. 4, 1 to 2 p.m. 


Veterans Day is a day to commemorate the service of all U.S. veterans. Explore the lives of local soldiers and the support civilians provided through some of the hidden gems found in the Museum’s collection. 

Ontario Art Walk:

An Evening at the Museum

Nov. 18, 6 to 9 p.m. 

Visit the Museum, shop artisan vendors and support local businesses as the Downtown Ontario Arts District hosts open studios, gallery 

exhibitions, and extended store hours. Interested in participating as a vendor? To learn more about the Ontario Art Walk and becoming a 

vendor, visit 






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