ARS LONGA VITA BREVIS
(Life is Brief But Art Endures)
Alan Shepp’s mosaic fountain reflects the Napa Valley’s role in the epic of the American West. The work of art seeks to capture the essence of the whole Napa Valley story, its glories and its tragedies.
Alan Shepp’s mosaic fountain
The mosaic captures “The Glories” of the Valley’s development, from the days of the Nappa Indians through the Spanish conquest, and on to the eras of Mexican and American domination. The development of agriculture featured at different times, cattle, wheat, prunes, grapes and wines, brought to market by horse, train and boat. The Hispanic, American and Chinese communities all played vital roles in this development. These glories survive in our institutions, laws, culture and historic buildings.
The “Tragedies” include the elimination of the Nappa tribe of Wintum Indians by smallpox and harassment. Actions of some residents led to the burning of Napa’s Chinatown and support of Klu Klux Klan measures directed against African-American, Chinese, Catholic and Jewish peoples. These tragedies lie forgotten in dusty books.
By bringing the past to life Alan Shepp has helped to create a more hopeful future.
The Living River
The mosaics beneath the waterfall reflect the flora and fauna living in the Napa River. The several varieties of fish and fowl survive within the environs of sunken boats, wagon wheels and other vestiges of land based civilization.
The Riparian Habitat
The mosaics located on the Riverbend Plaza reflect the map of the downtown reach of the Napa River and native animals inhabiting its banks.