Wine Country Insider: Art Walking Tours

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by Courtney Cochran

When it comes to inspiration, wine country is about as alluring as it gets.  And so it is that wine country art - especially the kind you can meander amongst, on walking tours - takes on especially vivid expression. Whether it's made or just displayed in this lovely setting, it's more than worth a gander. Please allow us to steer you towards some rewarding walks.  

Napa: West End
Encompassing an approximately 6-block area in this once sleepy wine country seat, Napa's West End is a neighborhood offering arts of various intriguing sorts. From traditional art galleries - First Street's Quent Cordair comes to mind with its substantial collection of romantic realistic works - to tasting room installations to a fully restored, circa-1937 Art Deco theater, the Uptown, Napa's West End offers much to see on a stroll. Chris Isaak and Rusted Root are among the top-notch performances that can be seen at the Uptown, along with its colorful (original!) neon marquee. Or, come Saturday night, stop into Ceja Vineyards' tasting room for a rotating selection of artworks in addition to pours, then dance the night away via the spot's free salsa lessons.  

Need some mementos? Pick these up at the West End Napa gift store inside the contemporary Avia Hotel building. It's also where the neighborhood "living room" can be found, natch. The area is couched in the western portion of downtown Napa, approximately from School to Randolph streets and from First to Third streets.

napaArtWalk.jpgNapa ARTwalk Momentum: Art that Moves (Us)
Arts Council Napa Valley (ACNV) and the Napa Community Redevelopment Agency have announced the return of the Napa ARTwalk interactive public sculpture exhibition and tour in downtown Napa. The second ARTwalk, titled "Momentum: Art that Moves (Us)," launched on October 19th 2011 and will be on exhibition through April, 2013 in downtown Napa. 

Art works - which hew to a new theme each exhibition - are selected with the help of CaFE ( and a panel of local art administrators, artists, and city officials.  The cost is free, and exhibits can be accessed throughout the day, 365 days a year, at visitors' leisure.  Download a map here, and for more information, call 707-257-2117.
yountvilleArtWalk.jpgCarneros: di Rosa Preserve
Considered the most significant collection of Bay Area art in the world, the di Rosa sits on 200 acres of spectacular vineyard property, with art works spanning three buildings as well as the grounds themselves.  Strike out on the property situated around the bucolic Winery Lake to take in some 2,000 works by an estimated 800 artists; visits to the permanent collection, Sculpture Meadow and Historic Residence are by tour only, while drop-in guests can access the Gatehouse Gallery - encompassing highlights of the collection and rotating exhibits - with a small donation. A non-profit public trust since 2,000, di Rosa is a must-see spot on any wine country art walk itinerary.  
Visiting hours vary by season; 5200 Sonoma Highway, Napa, CA 94559 * 707-226-5991

Yountville: Art Walk

Encompassing some 30 pieces of outdoor sculpture, the Yountville Art walk - sponsored by the town of Yountville - is a self-guided tour accessed via downloadable map.  A portion of each sculpture sale goes into the Yountville Arts fund, which continues to support arts related activities and events including a new literary program for community members.  With downtown Yountville already offering various galleries - including the expertly-curated gallery-tasting room, Ma(i)sonry - the art walk is an easily accessible extension of the town's growing art scene.  

A permanent piece especially worth seeing is the 26-foot-tall bronze sculpture, "Chaos Pamplona," by renown artist Jedd Novatt. Installed between the community center and the Bardessono Hotel, it's the perfect visual aperitif to your tasting or dining outing.
Click Here for more info.

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