diRosa Receives NEH Grant to Restore Sculpture Damaged by Wildfires

Sculpture on Nature Trail
Ned Kahn, Wind House, 2003, stainless steel and aluminum. Collection of di Rosa Center for Contemporary Art.

A wind-animated sculpture damaged by the 2017 wildfires in the Napa area will be restored with a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. The sculpture by environmental artist Ned Kahn is located on a nature hike at di Rosa Center for Contemporary Art, which received the $10,000 Preservation Assistance Grant recently.

This is the first NEH grant that di Rosa has been awarded.

The grant will allow di Rosa, which houses much of Northern California's artists' work in its collection, to restore Wind House (2003), a site-specific outdoor kinetic sculpture by Kahn, a Sebastopol-based artist. Kahn is an internationally renowned environmental artist and sculptor — known for his work harnessing natural elements such as fire and light, fog, sand, water and wind — augmenting visibility and creating new ways to experience the world. Ironically, the wind-animated sculpture, which creates a gossamer suggestion of a building completely permeated by the atmosphere, was damaged by the 2017 Northern California wildfires.

One of five sculptures by Kahn in the di Rosa collection, Wind House is the terminal point for di Rosa’s art and nature hike, a three-mile, 650 ft. elevation tour, which is on hiatus to allow for art and trail conservation work following the fires. “The restoration of this work will serve as a public testament to di Rosa’s commitment to collections stewardship, a beacon of resilience for a community in recovery and allow visitors to experience the piece as originally intended,” said Executive Director Robert Sain.

di Rosa has contracted Preservation Arts to complete the restoration work, which is scheduled for June 3-7, 2019. Preservation Arts has been working with Robin Bernhard, exhibitions and collections manager at di Rosa, on an immense project to conserve work affected by the fires since early 2018. More than 250 works have received treatment to date.

The public can learn more about the process through an online blog on di Rosa’s website.

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