Napa City Planners Support Proposed Huether Artwork For Hotel Property | Local news


The Napa City Planning Commission has recommended approval for a vineyard-inspired public artwork near the city’s First Street roundabout.

The proposed artwork is that of local planning commissioner and artist Gordon Huether. Due to the conflict of interest, Huether recused himself by leaving the boardroom while the committee discussed and voted on the matter at Thursday’s meeting.

The remaining commissioners voted 4-0 to recommend that Napa City Council approve an artistic structure design review permit and added a signage requirement telling people not to climb on the structure.

The artwork – titled “From Our Vineyard” – is expected to accompany a planned 54-room expansion to the Embassy Suites hotel, located at 1075 California Blvd. in Napa. The Embassy Suites hotel addition has yet to grow, although it was approved by the city in 2020.

The piece is “inspired by the ubiquity of the vineyards for which our beloved Napa County is known”, according to the project request.

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The room’s abstract structure consists of several 21-foot-long Corten steel beams – a reference to the alloy often used in vineyards as an anchor end post in a row of vines – which will age up to a rusty color after being exposed to the elements for several years.

Atop this structure will be a mirror-finished stainless steel sphere, five feet in diameter, “a metaphor for a grape, the fruit of our labor.”

The curators all said they liked the design of the artwork, although some curators questioned the safety of the artwork if people decided to climb on it. They discussed the possibility of installing signage or hedges on the grass to deter potential climbers.

Although the commission ultimately voted to add the signage, the details of the signage were left to the discretion of the artist and owner.

Commissioner Bob Massaro said the steel sphere reminded him of the reflective Chicago Cloud Gate public artwork, also known as “The Bean.” But, he said, he was concerned that the sunlight would reflect off the shiny surface of the sphere and hit the conductors.

“This time of year, going down Browns Valley and First Street, you can barely see in the morning,” Massaro said.

Darcy Tunt, representing Huether’s studio, said the studio often uses stainless steel and has never faced a challenge so far with glare becoming a safety concern.

Commission chairman Paul Kelley said he liked the idea of ​​leaving the artist with a sign describing the artwork, which could include telling people not to climb it. He said people intending to climb it won’t necessarily be deterred by signage or hedges.

“Lots of artwork here, which is wonderful, I don’t think I’ve seen anyone climb on it, and I know some are small and some are bigger.” Kelley said. “With this play, I think if anyone did that, it could be minors walking by on the sidewalk or maybe people who partied too much; in which case I don’t know if the signage is really a deterrent for that.

Do you remember Helgeland? This Napa store was very popular in the late 60’s and early 70’s. It was owned by a woman named Hazelle Robison. Take a look at Old Helgeland and what the storefront looks like now.






You can reach Edward Booth at (707) 256-2213.


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