Janet Scherr is a Brooklyn native but, California has been her home since 1971. She graduated from the Wagner Paraprofessional Program at AJU as a crisis counselor. She currently holds a license in Cosmetology and is a Zumba instructor. Janet serves on the Board at Cedars Sanai Hospital. In 1998, Janet and her husband Ray lent their name to what is now known as the Janet and Ray Scherr Forum which led Janet to serve on the Board of TOArts. They reside in Westlake Village. She is a mom to Lauren and Jason and has four wonderful grandchildren.
How long have you lived in the Conejo Valley?
Residing in Ventura County since 1992, I feel blessed to live in this community with my family close by. When we moved to Ventura, my daughter Lauren was twenty-two years old and attending University of Arizona. Our son Jason was attending Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. Both my kids are now married, and I am a proud grandma to three beautiful granddaughters and one handsome grandson.
My husband and I just celebrated our 50th wedding anniversary back in February, before our world was changed by COVID. It was a wonderful celebration with family and friends. Hopefully soon we will be able to have parties and see loved ones again.
How did you get involved in community service/the arts?
My husband and I met in 1964 in Brooklyn, New York as neighbors across the street when we were 16 and 15 years old. We shared the love for music, cars and being together. My husband gave guitar lessons at the time we got married, and we were both traveling into Manhattan for work. Not long into our first year of marriage, we were offered the opportunity to move to California. We left New York and called San Francisco our new home for a few years. After relocating to San Diego for a year, we finally settled into life in Los Angeles.
Along the way we realized that family was the most important part of our lives as well as community. With all the moves we made for work, having roots was so important to us. With Ray’s music background, It was so natural for us to get involved and be part of what is now called BAPAC.
We wanted to pay it forward and support the arts as well as the local community to have their dreams fulfilled and see live theatre. Having a performance center close to home is where the heart lives and art survives.
What’s your favorite performance at BAPAC?
This is the beauty of BAPAC, it has so much to offer, it is not just a concert venue. It has a variety of shows, plays for adults as well as for kids, traveling theater, National Geographic Series, Speaker Series, Comedians, Ballet, etc. I don’t have a favorite; they are all so wonderful. I did not go to the theatre or see shows as a child, so seeing thousands of children coming to this venue brings it full circle.
What piece of art (book, music, movie, performance etc.) most influenced the person you are today?
My mother had a good spirit and taught us to have a positive outlook, to be kind, caring and realize everyone is going through something, could make a difference in someone’s day. Now as an adult, I have enjoyed so many performances, which continues to inspire me. Since I listened to Motown on the radio growing up, I discovered my love for dancing. I love to dance because it brings a sense of freedom and joy, which can easily be spread. It is what I share with others and enjoy when I am in my Zumba dance class. It makes me feel empowered to teach, listen to music, and dance with people who share the same passion as me.
What would be the title of your autobiography?
If I were to have written my autobiography, I would title it “The Life of a Dancing Queen!”
If you could go back to one historical event to witness it, what would it be and why?
I wish I can go back in time to experience the summer of Woodstock, because it embodies everything that I love: all these feelings, the music, the freedom, the joy, and the love of my generation.