Q: What has di Rosa been doing to remove barriers to access?
di Rosa has made strides in removing barriers to access for audiences since opening to the public in 1997. Upon first opening, paid access was by appointment and tour only, during limited hours. Access increased in 2012 when a successful community advocacy campaign resulted in Napa Planning Commission’s unanimous vote to lift restrictions on visitor access and events, allowing di Rosa to expand public hours 40% including weekends, and add busses for school and group tours.
In 2017 a “no reservations” policy was announced, providing visitors the flexibility to drop in and visit both galleries without an appointment or tour. In 2018 access again increased when the organization announced a new admission structure that included free admission for youth 17 and under, discounts for educators, and free admission for college and university faculty. First Responders were provided free admission during fire season in 2018 and 2019.
In 2019 a seasonal Site Walk Weekends launched Fridays through Sundays further removing restrictions for guests to access di Rosa’s entire campus without a guide. A First Wednesdays program began, providing city of Napa and city of Sonoma residents free admission to di Rosa the first Wednesday of each month. Free admission was also offered for select family programs such as Short Stories and Making Art with Everyone / haciendo arte con todos.
In addition to reducing barriers through increased site access and admission incentives, Spanish bilingual programming and content was developed. These have been offered regularly both on and off site. Funding was dedicated to provide free admission and subsidized transportation for Title I schools (schools with 40% free or reduced lunch) to increase access to all schools. Increased attendance was seen the same year.
Q: How does di Rosa serve the local community?
di Rosa collaborates with a variety of partnering organizations in Napa, Sonoma, and the greater Bay Area to create opportunities to find new and meaningful ways for people of all ages to explore concepts and creativity. Access to a diverse array of visual arts programming is a key consideration for di Rosa education. di Rosa’s civic engagement programs are often bilingual, free, offered with transportation, or at locations that are convenient to the widest possible audience.
To learn about di Rosa’s current community partners, click HERE
Q: How does this relate to di Rosa’s exhibition plans?
We recognize the importance of increasing the visibility of BIPOC artists at di Rosa and are committed to showcasing the work of emerging and mid-career artists in tandem with our collection. We are planning a major exhibition of works from the di Rosa collection in Gallery 2 in early 2021. We are also developing a companion exhibition of works by emerging BIPOC Bay Area artists in Gallery 1. More details will be announced about both exhibitions this summer.
Q: What about the history of di Rosa?
di Rosa was founded by Rene and Veronica di Rosa as an Art Preserve in the Carneros area of Napa Valley. Like so many art collectors of their generation, the di Rosas were both affluent and white. The di Rosas amassed an eclectic collection of work by Northern California artists from the 1960s to the mid 2000s. Opening the di Rosa Preserve fulfilled their dream of sharing their love of Northern California art with the broader public. The di Rosa collection includes work by BIPOC and LGBTQ artists, as well as socially engaged works, alongside works by predominantly White male artists. Rene di Rosa seemed to enjoy the provocative shock value of certain works in the collection — whether sexually charged, or politically evocative. Works with overt racist overtones have been de-installed in recent years as part of ongoing critical conversations about our institutional responsibility to work toward equity and inclusion.
For a full historic timeline of di Rosa, click HERE
Q: Why are you changing the mission statement now?
Even before the protests ignited over the death of George Floyd, we recognized that di Rosa’s mission statement – adopted in 2015 – does not reflect the totality of what our organization is and does. A working group of Board, staff, and community leaders is actively engaged on this topic and will soon recommend new language for our Board to adopt.
There are several reasons why now is the right time to update our mission. The confluence of COVID19, our extended closure, and calls for racial justice across the country have made this a moment for di Rosa’s board to reflect on our work and our role in the community in anticipation of our reopening in 2021.
Q: Is di Rosa following the best practices that are being implemented by other arts organizations?
di Rosa is staying abreast of best practices for diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility under the leadership of Andrea Saenz Williams, Director of Education & Civic Engagement and Hugo Corro, Manager of Education & Civic Engagement. di Rosa staff at all levels of the organization participate in local and national museum and cultural groups that are engaged in conversations about the important work of diversity and equity. These groups include but are not limited to Museums As Sites for Social Action, Museum Education Rountable, Forum for Leadership in Art Museum Education, National Arts Education Association, American Alliance of Museums, Cultural Connections, California Alliance of Museums, Arts Council Napa Valley, and the Arts and Culture Committee of Napa County.
Q: What is the role of docents and volunteers?
di Rosa’s current docents and volunteers began to participate in regular training and conversations about diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility in late 2019. In addition, recent efforts have been made to recruit a more diverse docent and volunteer base, in particular to work with school groups that visit di Rosa. This includes Spanish speaking docents. More efforts will be made going forward to reach out to the Black community for docent and volunteer opportunities.