cover photo open studios 2017

Artist Beverly Wilson’s art is on the cover of the 2017 Open Studios guide.

Where did our summer go?

Despite the calendar’s daily reality check, I’m holding fast to these gloriously warm temperatures, luxuriously long days and a backyard overflowing with lusciously ripe, heirloom tomatoes!

Rather than bemoan my upcoming losses, I’m looking forward to many positive fall arts happenings right around the corner. Below are three, of numerous, events that flaunt and celebrate the arts and artists in Napa Valley during the next few months.

— I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention one of my favorite year-round places to “chill” — the Napa County Library. On Tuesday, Sept. 12, beginning at 4 p.m., the newly-revamped children’s library will hold its grand opening celebration that includes a ribbon cutting, music, refreshments, the unveiling of community-designed library cards, and a reading by Napa County’s just-appointed poet laureate, Jeremy Benson. For information, email ann.davis@countyofnapa.org.

I recently took an unplanned tour of this brightly-lit, welcoming space, and bumped into librarian Ann L. Davis, children’s services supervisor. She led me to a wall with four large, framed paintings on loan from Jessel Miller. The watercolors’ themes originate from Miller’s children’s book series, and the works are stunning! (Miller will be donating 300 of her books as gifts at the opening.)

Along the same wall is an oil painted mural finished in 2003 composed of a 6-feet-high, 18-feet-long set of 6 by 9 side-by-side canvases painted by artist/illustrator Cathryn Trachok. Fifty-four favorite children’s books are depicted in a lush forest including three “mysterious illustrations” not named (to be solved by young viewers). Check out this magnificent painting during your next library jaunt!

— Viewing artworks created by our “village” of local/national talent – in their studios – is an annual privilege. The 30th Open Studios Napa Valley will be held during the last two weekends of September and features 71 artists in over 43 locations. There will also be live demonstrations in many of these studios covering a range of media including drawing, painting, photography, ceramics, glass, fiber, printmaking, jewelry design and sculpture.

What I’ve always enjoyed about Open Studios — in addition to the art — is the eclectic settings in which art is created. I’ve viewed uniquely-designed gardens and patios leading to garage studios, vineyards surrounding art workshops and even a few kitchens that morph into artists’ studios. And it’s a terrific opportunity to explore new neighborhoods and meet gifted artists.

Volunteers provide plenty of location signs, but best to plan out your self-guided routes in advance. For dates, times, maps and a downloadable catalog, visit openstudiosnapavalley.com.

— The 7th annual Napa Valley Film Festival, Nov. 8-12, consistently offers up a tasty palate of more than 100 independent films in sync with a mix of culinary, wine and celebrity events. With screenings and coordinated activities taking place during four days — in multiple venues throughout Napa Valley — planning and realization of this multi-pronged festival requires heroic dedication by co-directors Marc and Brenda Lhormer and their staff.

A few juicy bits and pieces of festival highlights have been released to-date (such as actor Dennis Quaid and his band, The Sharks, playing at the Blue Note). Make sure you join the mailing list at nvff.org to stay on top of festival information. You might even be inspired to sign up as a volunteer.

I’ll definitely miss summer. But as you can see, our fall season has its own pleasures. There are so many remarkable opportunities for exploring and appreciating the arts in the weeks ahead that before I know it, my favorite tomatoes will be beckoning once again!

Evy Warshawski is a partner in E & M Presents, bringing Sing-Along MOANA to the Napa Valley College Performing Arts Center on Sept. 16. Tickets and information at eandmpresents.org.

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