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Yountville placeholder art

This rendering shows the design of a sculpture by the Gilroy artist Richard Starks that will adorn vacant pads within the Yountville Art Walk, which can display up to 33 outdoor artworks at a time.

One artist will craft decorative pieces to fill gaps in the Yountville Art Walk. Soon, other artists may be asked to put a final decorative touch on those placeholding sculptures.

The resort town has agreed to acquire three to five pieces based on a design by the Gilroy artist Richard Starks, which will stand in at vacant pads in Yountville’s outdoor gallery on downtown Washington and Yount streets. Yountville’s next step will be to recruit artists to individualize each Starks-designed piece, according to Samantha Holland, town parks and recreation director.

“We don’t want three to five of the same sculpture in town,” she said recently. “The (next) call would be for an artist to paint them, or otherwise make each one an individual sculpture.”

First proposed in September, the plan won approval from the Yountville Arts Commission in November. The design by Starks includes a curved, open-center heart mounted on a vertical pedestal.

Stand-in sculptures are meant to give visual flair to vacant Art Walk locations while the town awaits the installation of new pieces, relieving pressure to choose less worthy sculptures to avoid empty slots. The installations also can occupy sites where trees or other obstructions prevent the location of some art displays but not others.

Yountville would display only as many copies of the placeholder artwork as it needs to fill out the Art Walk, which has 33 locations, while storing the others in the town corporation yard. Five sculpture sites are currently open, said Holland.

Funding for the sculptural fill-ins will come from a town program requiring those seeking commercial building permits to pay 1 percent of the project cost into a public art fund managed by the Arts Commission. Developers also can choose to install outdoor art at their project sites.

Similar to official Art Walk installations, the placeholder sculptures may be offered for sale to the public, possibly at events such as the Art, Sip & Stroll hosted in Yountville every April.

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City of Napa/Town of Yountville Reporter

Howard Yune covers the city of Napa and the town of Yountville. He has been a reporter and photographer for the Register since 2011, and previously wrote for the Marysville Appeal-Democrat, Anaheim Bulletin and Coos Bay (Oregon) World.