What would the world look like without art? This is the question that our class was asked at the start of the day. My first thought was, “I’m going to need another cup of coffee.” Then I really had to think about it – much like most of our class did. How important is art really? It didn’t take long to realize that art is of paramount importance bringing an increased quality of life to all, whether we want to acknowledge its presence or not. It is all around us – both in organized form as well as raw and in nature. As a class, we then discovered that right under our noses there were people working every day to enrich our community with art – at Arts Council Napa Valley.
The day went on to educate and help us reflect upon different ways art is expressed in our community. From the fine art galleries at di Rosa to the public art scene in Napa County with its politics, and from the Community Arts Center “Cinderella” story to the long-established Lincoln Theater in Yountville – it seems the goal of the arts in Napa County is to engage the community and enrich their lives. The arts community, as represented by our presenters, has done that in a big way.
A highlight of the morning was when Miki, our di Rosa docent, led us in a group conversation about a painting. Simple at first glance, the story of the painting and its painter took on a complex range of possibilities through the guided conversation. Three questions were asked: what’s going on in this, what do you see that makes you say that, and what more do you see. Answers came, were confirmed to the group and became fuel to the conversation’s fire. By the end of our group discussion, I felt like a cultured critic of fine art – a description I have never used for myself.
A highlight of the midday was getting to know the differences between the Community Arts Center and a more established venue like Lincoln Theater. The stories of their beginnings and the shows that they put on are quite different, while their missions seem aligned. Both venues bring the community together to celebrate and showcase performing arts, all while supporting their fellow nonprofits when they can in their search for event venues. The last highlight of the day was getting into groups at Lincoln Theater and working through community issues focusing on the arts for an “out of the box” solution. It was eye opening experience being in the driver seat for that type of planning.
I doubt any of us will look at art ever again without thinking about our LNV Arts Day experience.
“Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.” – Thomas Merton
Miki @ di Rosa:
Public Art Talk:
Our arts leaders @ Lincoln Theater: https://goo.gl/photos/9K1ckTSLhgzZU7rh8
Submitted by members of Class 30.
8 hours with the Napa Valley Health & Human Services Agency: What I learned
Not having spent much time on Napa County’s Health & Human Services Agency south campus, I realized how little I knew about the programs, support and resources available to the individuals, families and neighborhoods in our larger community. The stated mission of the agency is to, “foster a partnership of clients, community members and staff to create leadership, vision and advocacy for the evolving health and human service needs of the people of Napa County,” Without providing an exhaustive list, the following is a brief sampling of the services provided, programs offered and populations served by the Agency: Alcohol and Drug Services, Child Welfare, Older Adults, Mental Health, Public Health and Employment.
After spending a day with a variety of dedicated individuals who assist and advocate for the above mentioned populations, here is what I learned:
Adult Protective Services are not only provided to those who are being abused or neglected. They are also for those who are neglecting themselves.
Public Conservatorship can happen to once strong and vital individuals who through a series of circumstances that are often no fault of their own, they are now in need of assistance in organizing and maintaining their finances on a long term basis.
There are specific neighborhoods in Napa that due to specific social determinants, like lack of access to good education and poor living conditions, have statistically been shown to shorten the life span of the individuals living in those areas.
Homelessness is a not homogeneous issue. Each homeless individual or family have their own reasons for coming into the system. We need to change our perceptions of the homeless individuals living and working in our county if we want to work together to eradicate homelessness.
When we focus on the strengths of our county’s individuals, families and neighborhoods and choose to involve ourselves in helping to create solutions to assist the most vulnerable members of our society, we honor each other as human beings and can begin to work together as a whole community, with shared motivations and concerns.
Submitted by Heather of Class 30.
On September 18th Class 29 of Leadership Napa Valley had the pleasure of learning about “Leading Through Collaboration” with John Glaser. John helped us understand how to create a community of problem solvers and how to understand different sides of any problem. We also learned how a group of problem solvers needs to have people filling different roles while working together toward a common goal. We worked in small groups on solving a simulated problem that involved the roles of two different groups with two very distinct interest.
The simulation, facilitated by John Glaser, encouraged our LNV class to think about the common interest and build on them to arrive at a common solution. It is easy for groups to approach a conflict with only their problems in mind. It is the duty of each side to understand what the interest of each other are and solve the most urgent and important matters first.
The conflict simulation was put forth as follows: one group took on the role of University officials who were concerned about the financial well-being of a book store. This concern was tied to the book store’s sustainability along with the potential future inability of students to get their books for the upcoming school year. The University officials were prepared to take control and remove students from management if nothing was done.
The other group was an alliance of students that operated the book store and wanted to make books and materials affordable to all university students. However, as we learned more details about the problem we realized that the student group was not doing a good job at managing the bookstore which gave rise to their current problems. We found that if the bookstore lost any more money the book store would close down. The common interest then from both sides was not to allow this to happen.
Our solution was to reorganize the student group with the help of the University officials and make the bookstore sustainable once again. In this way there was no need to remove students from the book store’s management and would achieve the solution both sides wanted.
We also had the pleasure of meeting Suzanne Shiff who is the Practicum Coordinator for Leadership Napa Valley. Suzanne introduced us to our group which we will be working with for the next several months. Suzanne shared her experiences and best practices when working within our practicum groups. She shared examples of previous classes and how they were successfully collaborating along with what not to do.
This day was a very productive one because after learning about collaboration and conflict resolution, we were introduced to our practicum group. We will take all the learnings from our conflict resolution simulation to our practicum group and apply them there. Wish us luck!
Submitted by David Avina and Danielle Barreca, members of Class 29.
What decisions we make as a community will impact our long term, and that was evident during Class 29’s Business Day education. While we had the opportunity to step into the shoes of business owners during the simulation, the reality of those decisions was experienced during our tour of the historic Borreo building. As Mr. Holcomb described his vision to further the vibrancy we all know in Downtown Napa, creating that successful and exciting environment for locals and tourists to enjoy does not come without its risks. We heard similar stories of relentlessness and elbow grease from Chef Ken Frank and Indra Fortney. These local leaders tapped into personal experiences to propel themselves forward and created avenues because they wouldn’t take no for an answer.
We learned how local businesses aren’t just focused on profit — rather, how can innovation translate into success for the entire community? How does each business fit into the overall puzzle? And once all those pieces come together, how do they form a cohesive picture woven into Napa’s overall fabric?
Success doesn’t happen by chance. It’s when leadership collides with resiliency and a North Star highlights the right path.
Submitted by Kristi Jourdan, Lisa Blackmon, and Melinda Adams, members of Class 29.
Leadership Napa Valley is thrilled to introduce the new students of Class 29. For the next nine months, Class 29 will embark on a special journey together, learning leadership skills, teamwork and experience – the many different pieces that make Napa County such a special place to live. Congratulations on being selected!
Melinda Adams, Heather Alfaro, David Avina, Danielle Barreca, Lisa Blackmon, Kristine Blasky, Keely Dervin, Brian Dodd, Kelly Dressler, Holly Finkelstein, Catherine George, James Gunther, Elizabeth Hawkins, Jocelyn Hoar, Alisa Jacobo, Lucas LeGate, Elizabeth Mercer, Catherine Miller, Donald Moore, John Moreno, Jennifer Olsen, Rodolfo Perez-Arroyo, David Schloss, Chris Shoop, Eva Simonsson, Anya Stubbs, Daniel Vermillion, Sarah Wallin, Douglas Wilson, and Vincent Xeus.
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