Yountville’s seal proclaims the town to be “The Heart of the Napa Valley,” and starting next year, a new art campaign could drive home that motto more literally than ever.
Slated to run from January to March in 2023, Find Your Heart in Yountville will be a gallery show featuring an array of artworks sharing the heart as their common theme, in tribute to the town’s prominent place in the Napa Valley. The exhibition is intended to become a post-Christmas attraction for the wine country town of some 2,800 people, as well as a part of the countywide Napa Valley Mustard Celebration that was revived this winter after a 12-year hiatus.
To promote the heart-shaped exhibit, Yountville art and parks leaders plan to use a heart-shaped promotion - one that literally fits in the hand.
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Patti Wessman, a glass artist based in Napa, would create at least 100 of the small trinkets, in line with the theme of the Yountville gallery show. The baubles would then be hidden beside various sculptures along the downtown Art Walk, and the finder of one special, mustard-yellow heart would bring it to the Community Center on Washington Street in exchange for a small reward, according to Samantha Holland, the town’s parks and recreation director. (All finders of the hearts would be allowed to hold on to them as keepsakes.)
An outline of Find Your Heart in Yountville emerged this week at the town Arts Commission meeting, as the advisory team laid out plans for the exhibit and its promotion. The event is part of a program request that may be included in Yountville’s annual budget, which will go through staff and Town Council review before taking effect July 1.
Find Your Heart’s exhibit would be opened to artists working in a variety of media, including painting, glass, textiles and photography. The show would likely stay open between eight and 12 weeks, according to Ronda Schaer, a member of the Arts Commission and co-creator of the proposal.
“Our mission is to bring art to the community,” she said during a Wednesday interview. “It’s something the community can participate in, as well as people visiting from the valley or anywhere.
Yountville would co-promote its art festival with the Napa Valley Mustard Celebration, a collection of wine country events in February and March that largely overlaps the exhibition’s schedule, according to Schaer.
A collection of art, film and photography shows, the Mustard Celebration is named for the bright yellow blossoms that bloom from January and March in Napa Valley vineyards, unofficially heralding the coming of spring. This year’s revived celebration is a successor to the Napa Valley Mustard Festival, which ran for 17 years before folding after the 2010 event.
The glass hearts that promote Find Your Heart in Yountville also are meant to call attention to the Art Walk, whose outdoor installations on town streets will double as hiding places for the souvenirs, Schaer added. The open-air gallery includes more than 30 artworks along Washington and Yount streets, including a rotation of sculptures the town offers for sale at prices up to $45,000.
Holland estimated the heart trinket giveaway would cost Yountville up to $450, enough for at least 100 glass hearts in addition to other advertising for Find Your Heart and the Mustard Celebration.
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