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Di Rosa Center for Contemporary Art in Napa. Photo: Israel Valencia.

Di Rosa Center for Contemporary Art to Deaccession Artworks to Stay Afloat

The Rene and Veronica di Rosa Foundation in Napa, California, has revealed plans to sell most of its 1,600-work collection in order to raise funds for its endowment. The foundation runs the Di Rosa Center for Contemporary Art, formerly the di Rosa Preserve, which was founded by Napa vintner Rene di Rosa in 2000 to support Bay Area and Northern California artists.

The deaccessioning of works is part of a programming shift that will help curb the center’s deficit and allow it to focus more on large-scale thematic exhibitions, educational programming, and community partnerships. The foundation’s board also officially declared that the organization and the center are non-collecting entities—the foundation hasn’t acquired a new artwork since Rene di Rosa’s death in 2010. Among the artists whose work is included in its current collection are Robert Arneson, Joan Brown, Bruce Conner, Jay DeFeo, Viola Frey, Robert Hudson, David Ireland, Paul Kos, Peter Saul, and William T. Wiley.

“The decision to reduce and focus the collection is necessary to keep di Rosa Center for Contemporary Art’s doors open and to allow both organizations to thrive and serve our community,” Brenda Mixson, president of the foundation’s board of directors, said. “As non-collecting entities, our emphasis will be on commissioning and supporting working artists and expanding the artistic experiences available for visitors.”

The center’s executive director, Robert Sain, will work with the di Rosa Foundation’s collections committee and Graham W. J. Beal, the former director, president, and CEO of the Detroit Institute of Arts and a friend of Rene di Rosa, to determine which artworks will make up the legacy collection that the center will continue to care for and exhibit.

Sain said: “The foundation board’s decision comes after a prolonged and in-depth analysis of our own history and vision as well as the broader cultural landscape of Northern California. We will continue to collaborate with the artists of the region and present their work, and we look forward to continuing to serve the broadest community possible through thoughtful exhibitions and inclusive education programs that engage people from all walks of life in ideas that matter.”

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