Firefighters at the Luther Burbank Center for the Arts in Santa Rosa, California on October 9. Photo: Christopher Chung/Press Democrat.

Arts Organizations in Northern California Threatened as Wildfires Spread

Jerry Brown, California’s governor, has declared a state of emergency as a firestorm envelops Northern California, one of the worst disasters in the state’s history. Eleven people have died, and more than one hundred thousand acres of property have been incinerated by the blaze. Robin Scher of Artnews writes that a number of arts institutions are doing what they can to keep safe.

The Napa Valley’s Hess Collection has closed to the public, as did the Di Rosa Center for Contemporary Art, which tweeted that “fire fighters are on site & galleries are ok.” Another Napa landmark, Norman and Norah Stone’s sculpture sanctuary, Stonescape—with works by artists such as Martin Kippenberger, Jeff Koons, and Cindy Sherman—has not suffered any damage, according to a representative for the site. Oliver Ranch in nearby Sonoma County, a sculpture garden with pieces by Richard Serra, Ursula Von Rydingsvard, and Bruce Nauman, among other artists, also reports that nothing has been harmed.

But in Santa Rosa, the classrooms and east side of the Luther Burbank Center for the Arts have been destroyed, said Sopan Deb in the New York Times. Its staff, however, is safe, and the center’s “main building appears to have minimal damage,” reported the California Highway Patrol.