It's likely that very few Napans took note of the passing of Elizabeth Shari Kadar on Feb. 11 last (see Register obituary, March 11, 2018). Though she died at her home in Santa Rosa at age 91, Shari lived in Napa for many decades, raised her children here, and launched her artistic career at Napa Valley College.
She was a consummate artist, dedicated to making beautiful objects and sharing them with others. In addition to her years of teaching at the college, Shari contributed sculptural works that are still on display in downtown Napa. "The Immigrants," on the First Street Plaza next to Allegria restaurant, depicts a family huddled in hope and anguish as they enter their adopted homeland.
Shari loved to relate the story of how the original wax mold for the piece, depicting tall, European figures was changed by the sunshine in her car into the more rounded, regionally appropriate figures of the final casting. "Who am I," she asked, "to argue with mother nature?"
Another of her works, "The Teenager," sits on First St. between Oenotri and Norman Rose restaurants. This universal figure depicts, in abstract lines, the hunched shoulders and pocketed hands of eternally disgruntled youth. Both pieces were placed in 1975. There have been many showings of her sculpture and paintings over the years, including one at Robert Mondavi winery.
While the artist eventually passes away, her legacy continues to grow, and to affect new generations of those who appreciate that marvelous realm where art and life intersect, and generate new possibilities.