Shop windows along First Street in downtown Napa have been transformed from within, in the third annual exhibition called Art on First.
This year's exhibition launched Nov. 21 with the unveiling of more than a dozen windows, which had been shrouded in brown paper as area artists worked to create site-specific installations in each.
A partnership between Arts Council Napa Valley, the Downtown Napa Property Based Improvement District and the City of Napa Tourism Improvement District, the Art on First program pays artists a stipend of $300 (see comments section below) to create special displays for windows on First Street that would otherwise be empty.
Artists range from the prominent — internationally-known sculptor Gordon Huether, who "personally funds his own installations," according to the Arts Council website — to a group of Vintage High School students whose window pays tribute to the power of literature and language.
Napa artist Jason Jobes' creation, titled Multicanus Vigeo, appears at first to be another tribute, with images of local musicians and workers. But it's also an expression of Jobes' vision for the city, as he writes in his artist's statement:
I believe an ideal town of Napa would encourage local businesses, musical venues and cultural street events without stringent restrictions and politically-driven opposition ... Multicanus Vigeo” is an allegory of this ideal: a surreal giant lotus flower lives in a self-sustaining organic environment, proudly exhibiting visions of culturally expressive Napa residents and local events on each of its petals.
The latest crop of Art on First installations will remain on display until November, 2013.
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