Robert Sain, di Rosa

Robert Sain, executive director of di Rosa.

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“I have always loved art museums,” said Robert Sain, executive director of the di Rosa nonprofit contemporary art center.

“For me, museums are about the power of ideas,” and where inspiration, awe and wonder intersect.

Museums are also places where people of all different walks of life can come together “and that’s important now more than ever,” said Sain.

Sain has been the executive director at di Rosa since 2016.

1. What was your first job?

I got my start in art museums by starting the first development department at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis.

2. What’s the worst job you ever had?

Getting up at 4 a.m. as a kid to help a milkman. I grew up in Atlanta.

3. What’s a common question you get about di Rosa?

I encounter two completely parallel universes. One is deep and abiding affection for the place. And the other is they don’t know about it.

4. What’s your favorite artwork at di Rosa?

Boy that’s a hard one. I would say one piece that is just extraordinary is by Paul Kos. It’s based on Chartres Cathedral outside of Paris. It’s a multimedia art installation. But you don’t realize it at first.

5. What’s your favorite museum outside of Napa Valley?

There are so many. In the Bay Area, SF MOMA and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts and the Contemporary Jewish Museum are all doing extraordinary work. Plus the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive. And you’ve got the Legion of Honor.

The Bay Area has a depth of museums. It’s increasingly become one of the epicenters for the visual arts. We’re lucky to be in their backyard.

6. The sheep sculptures in the di Rosa parking lot are gone. What happened?

The poor sheep had been out there for decades. They were metal and they were just not bearing the weather very well. They are still here but they are in better pastures now.

We’ll look at some other approaches for that space.

7. What’s on your to-do list?

Increase di Rosa’s engagement with the community.

8. What is one thing you hope to accomplish in your lifetime that you haven’t yet?

Time travel.

9. If you could change one thing about your business, what would it be?

To make di Rosa more visible throughout the Bay Area.

10. What’s something people might be surprised to know about you?

I love sappy French songs.

Sain can be reached at 707 226-5991. The di Rosa is open to the public Wednesday to Sunday, 10 a.m. to to 4 p.m. For more info visit


Business Editor

Jennifer Huffman is the business editor and a general assignment reporter for the Napa Valley Register. I cover a wide variety of topics for the newspaper. I've been with the Register since 2005.