The di Rosa Embraces Community after a Brush with Disaster

di Rosa Center for Contemporary Art Esecutive Director Bob Sain (Photo: Cy Musiker/KQED)

Just one arts venue suffered damage in Napa Valley: the Nuns Fire burned right into the sculpture meadow at the di Rosa Center for Contemporary Art just south of the city of Napa.  

“You can see it literally made a ring around the di Suvero," Executive Director Robert Sain says with a relieved laugh during a tour of the grounds a few days ago. He was pointing to a colorful metal sculpture on a hillside by Mark di Suvero. "But we’re fortunate the fire literally made a circle around it, heat damage we need to fix, but structurally it’s fine.”

The sculpture gardens are mostly undamaged at the di Rosa Center for Contemporary Art in Napa
The sculpture gardens are mostly undamaged at the di Rosa Center for Contemporary Art in Napa (Photo: Courtesy of the di Rosa Center for Contemporary Art)

The fire came just as the di Rosa was about to mount a major new show called Be Not Still, a response the Trump Presidency, featuring work inspired by issues of surveillance, white supremacy and citizenship. That show is now scheduled to open Jan. 27, while the di Rosa cleans up smoke damage. (Every piece in the di Rosa residence gallery needs cleaning.)

In the meantime, the museum is offering programs to help heal the community. “There’s something special that happens when there’s a communal sense of participation," Sain told me. "When friends and families and strangers come together, to make their art and share their stories."

So the di Rosa is offering a free open studio for kids and adults every Saturday through the end of the year. And the di Rosa remains a gorgeous place, with delightful modern sculptures scattered around a lake and views of nearby vineyards. Details here.

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