Arts + Culture
Napa’s di Rosa Center for Contemporary Art
WRITTEN BY Layne Randolph


Published On: November 15, 2021
Photos Courtesy of DI ROSA CENTER for Contemporary Art

Almost thirty years ago, Rene di Rosa envisioned Mark di Suvero’s thirty-foot tall sculpture “For Veronica” taking center stage at the di Rosa Center for Contemporary Art. He planned to place it on a Carneros hillside, visible from every direction so that the massive piece would identify di Rosa as an art center, not a winery. But Napa County at the time was not able to approve the location for the 30-foot sculpture, and Rene placed it in di Rosa’s Sculpture Meadow at the back of the property instead.

Happily, Rene’s original plan came to fruition earlier this year when the county finally approved it, and sculptor di Suvero enthusiastically coordinated the move of the 9,000-pound sculpture to its preferred place of prominence.

Veronica di Rosa first saw and fell in love with the sculpture (initially titled “Erk Through Able Last”) at Socrates Sculpture Park in New York. It was renamed “For Veronica” in honor of Rene’s wife, and it now stands in homage to the di Rosas – whose legacy lives on with the di Rosa Center for Contemporary Art. The Center is located almost exactly on the Napa-Sonoma county line, across from the grandiose Domaine Carneros winery.

The di Rosa center features two galleries, a sculpture park, and a 35-acre lake. Gallery 1 highlights new exhibitions and installations every few months. A recent show, “Fort Phooey: Wiley in the Studio,” recreated the iconic artist William T. Wiley’s art studio, which was a meeting place for generations of Bay Area artists. Densely layered with words, images, and objects, his studio was an immersive experience.

“Being in the studio was like entering into a Wiley artwork,” explained Executive Director Kate Eilertsen.

A highly anticipated show comes to Gallery 1 from November 19 to February 20, with artist Oliver Lee Jackson’s exhibition “Oliver Lee Jackson: Any Eyes,” a selection of Jackson’s works in painting, sculpture, and mixed media. Eighty-sixyear-old Jackson has exhibited his works in museums and galleries for over five decades, including recent National Gallery of Art exhibitions in Washington, D.C., and the Saint Louis Art Museum.

The expansive Gallery 2 at di Rosa currently features “The Incorrect Museum: Vignettes from the di Rosa Collection.” The exhibition includes favorite artworks from di Rosa’s vast collection of Northern California art.

Beyond the galleries, the sprawling di Rosa estate is an oasis for art and nature lovers. The stunning 217-acre property has become a highly sought-after locale for private events. Flanked by vineyards in every direction, the scenic location is available for weddings, corporate events, and private rentals. In the extraordinary Sculpture Meadow, guests revel in the artwork dotted across the landscape, bring picnics, relax in the shady Olive Grove, go birding, or find a nook to read a favorite book.

The di Rosa Center for Contemporary Art is located at 5200 Sonoma Highway, Napa.