The City of Napa is announcing that its Make it in Napa initiative, which was released to the public in 2021, is gaining a new name: Napa Makes.
Locals may be familiar with the name “Napa Makes,” which was conceived as a community-driven and family-friendly annual event highlighting local artists and craftspeople. The event ran for two consecutive years at The Oxbow School before the COVID-19 pandemic hit in 2020. Founders Liz Murray, Jordan Felling and Emma K. Morris launched the event with a keen interest to create a platform for Bay Area creatives to promote their craft, as well as offer a unique shopping experience to enliven the local Napa community while inviting new supporters to The Oxbow School campus. The Oxbow School was an ideal venue partner for this creative event; Jordan Felling is an Oxbow Alumna (2001), a former Admission Director and now a Trustee. Curator Emma K. Morris worked with her broad network of creative contacts to convene local artisans that were making things the public wouldn’t necessarily expect to find at your typical craft fair, pairing them with community and family-friendly happenings like story time from the Napa Bookmine and a workshop with the Napa Quake Mosaic.
After the two successful events showcasing everything from handmade pottery to poetry to hand-carved cheeseboards and live music, the trio agreed to go on hiatus to allow time for career expansion, weddings, and babies – and then the pandemic dragged on. While the event went dormant, the spirit of it is still very much alive in the community – which is why, when the City of Napa approached the trio about using the name Napa Makes, they agreed to pass it on.
In 2021, the City of Napa was awarded a federal grant from the Chamber of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) to advance the City’s local manufacturing and creative sectors. Engaging two nonprofit consultants and developers, Artspace and PlaceMade, the EDA grant allowed for “The City of Napa’s Creative Space and Local Manufacturing Action Plan” report (“Action Plan”). From March to November 2021, the aim was to develop an Action Plan to make Napa a place where the manufacturing, maker, and creative sectors and their workforce can thrive. While the initiative was originally named “Make it in Napa”, this new phase of work to implement the Action Plan and opportunity to carry forward the Napa Makes name have led to this rebranding.
“As we move forward with implementing the Action Plan, we wanted an identity that was clear in its intention and really captured the energy of these creative sectors in our community. After some heartfelt conversations with Jordan, Liz, and Emma, they could see that their original intention with Napa Makes is very much part of the work the City is doing. We are so grateful to be able to carry that name forward with this exciting initiative,” said Jennifer Owen, City of Napa’s Economic Development Project Coordinator. Owen joined the City in May of this year and has been working on taking the initiative forward.
The Napa Makes initiative has a broad reach, and the community can expect to see the name on upcoming public events and exciting new projects. To be kept up-to-date with Napa Makes, contact Jennifer Owen at [email protected].