Did you know that an estimated 45,000–50,000 people attended the 2023 Napa Lighted Art Festival this year? Learn more about the Lighted Art Festival and the Public Art program in our recent interview with Katrina Gregory, the City of Napa’s Recreation & Public Art Manager.
How long have you been working with the Public Art program, and how would you describe your involvement?
I got involved with the City of Napa’s public art program in early 2018. My involvement includes being the staff liaison for the Public Art Steering Committee (PASC). The PASC helps make annual recommendations to the City Council on how to use Public Art Funds for new public art projects, consistent with the Public Art Master Plan. Based on those recommendations, I’m the project manager of all permanent public art projects on public property. My team and I have the pleasure of developing the scope of work and goals for each project, creating the Call For Artists and outreach process, facilitating the jury process which selects the artists/artworks and managing the installation of the artwork. We also are involved with numerous temporary public art programs which include the Napa Art Walk, the community gallery at the Senior Center and special events like Napa Lighted Art Festival.
What has been your favorite project?
One of my favorite projects that we are currently working on is the Fuller Park Playable Art project. I’m excited to demonstrate how public art can go beyond traditional concepts and have tremendous value for a community. This project will be our first one-of-kind playable art installation. We believe the project will be inspiring and inclusive—all while creating amazing play value through adventure, self-discovery and challenge for children with different (physical and mental) capabilities all playing together. Our goal is for it to become a landmark for the community and that it would draw families to Fuller Park.
What are some projects coming down the pipeline?
The projects in the pipeline for the next one to two years include completing the Roundabout Gateway, Soscol Medians, Fuller Park Playable Art, Highway 29 undercrossing mural and 2nd & Main Street pavement artwork. In addition, we are working on a temporary mural on the perimeter fencing around the vacant lot at First & Main Street that will be installed this Spring. We are also starting the planning for the Napa Dia de los Muertos and the 2024 Napa Lighted Art Festival.
Why do you think the Public Art Ordinance is important?
I believe the Public Art Ordinance is important because public art creates cultural, social and economic value for a community. Public art adds meaning to our community by turning “spaces” into “places,” ultimately forming a community identity. It reflects our past, present and future—all while inspiring and challenging us. Public art is also free, inclusive and accessible. The Public Art Ordinance is a mechanism and process to fund projects to support all of these important efforts.