Creating Community

The Topa Institute is a retreat center & land sanctuary set atop a tranquil, awe-inspiring ridge in the Upper Ojai Valley. We host creative workshops, classes, and gatherings facilitated by leading teachers, artists, and culture makers in their fields. 

What We Do

Topa Institute envisions a thriving, peaceful planet filled with creativity, connection, and care. We honor global traditions of perennial wisdom that create peace, healing, art, and learning.

The Institute joins together three deeply interconnected areas of programming: Arts & Culture, Nature Connection, and Holistic Education. Each unit advances our collective mission, engaging timeless practices of community building and deep listening.

Our Work

For over 45 years, our founding organizations have developed innovative cultural, environmental, and community-building programs and practices, now offered through our three areas of focus.

Arts & Culture

The arts & culture department fosters a creative community hungry to uncover and reveal the alchemy of unsung and underrepresented cultures through a variety of artistic and scholarly pursuits. Through our concerts, performances, and site-specific exhibitions, as well as workshops, classes, and residential opportunities, we offer immersive experiences in arts and culture in a stunning location.

Nature Connection

The 36-acre land sanctuary located in the Upper Ojai Valley, California — the historical home of Indigenous people devoted to creative practices in art, agriculture, and wisdom. At Topa Institute we honor and continue this work through our land-based offers such as permaculture, nature immersion, and Indigenous wisdom.

Holistic Education

The holistic education department is our center for our unique combination of social-emotional and environmental education practices. Combining deep listening practices and nature-based activities, our program’s purpose is to forge genuine, trusting relationships between people and nature. Learn more about council trainings, rites of passage programs marking life transitions, and team-building workshops.


Songs of Sustenance

Together with our facilitators, Arnaé Batson and Maggie Wheeler, we will embark on a vocal journey to investigate the vibrational power of song, including pieces that have been sung through the ages during times of struggle, resistance, and triumph. 

December 10, 2023

Bright Knights

Welcome to the universe of Omnia — the nearly infinite playspace where light and shadow collide! Be your own character, take on the trials, and complete the training to partake in the live-action adventure that is Bright Knights. Join Arise & Shine Center and Topa Institute for Bright Knights — a multi-age hero’s journey class for kids ages 5 to 14. Parents are welcome to drop off and pick up, or stay for tea/coffee and explore the ridge during the program. 


JANUARY 13, 2024

Council Training for Educators

Join fellow educators at Topa Institute’s land sanctuary to experience the practice of “Council” and learn how you can bring the benefits of Council to your school.