We look forward to seeing you at the Museum!
Laura Rafaty is an experienced nonprofit arts leader, producer and writer, and also brings decades of both nonprofit and for-profit business and legal experience to her position as Executive Director. A veteran of local nonprofits including the Napa Valley Performing Arts Center at Lincoln Theater, Friends of the Cameo Cinema, and the Napa Valley Opera House, as well as nonprofits in New York and Palo Alto, she is a Tony-nominated theatrical producer and the founder of the theatrical nonprofit: NapaShakes. Her “Up the Valley” column is well-remembered, and its humor can be found in her text for our “Dangerous Games” exhibition. Laura lives in Saint Helena with two Tibetan Spaniels, is notorious for emailing the staff at all hours, and can usually be spotted at museum events with a signature glass of Scotch in her hand.
Chris Carmichael joins our team to run operations at our Museum, bringing many years of experience in sales, hospitality, event management, marketing, brand strategy and team building to the position. He spent decades in the wine industry, including at Alpha Omega, Terra Valentine, Rombauer and Signorello, and also gained a strong financial background with positions at Morgan Stanley and Charles Schwab. He lives in Angwin with his wife and two teenage daughters where they are apparently an athletic bunch. Chris, no shrinking violet, subscribes to a “if you’re hurt, rub dirt on it” philosophy, which will come in handy in the rough and tumble world of nonprofit arts management.
Jeff Rodgers is the Museum’s Deputy Director, bringing deep expertise with museums and education to the role. Jeff served as Executive Director at the Berkshire Museum as well as taking leading roles at the South Florida Museum and American Museum of Natural History. In addition to his passions for art, history, and science education, he’s an avid avocational paleontologist and astronomer. If you can’t find him in the Museum’s galleries, he’s probably outside in our Meadow gazing at the stars and helping us to plan our Observatory and STEM education projects!
Kathleen Stewart, Collections Registrar, brings with her a degree in Fine Arts with an emphasis in Printmaking as well as a minor in Art History and Museum Studies from Southern Oregon University, Ashland, Oregon. Kathleen says it best: “Combining a lifelong love and appreciation Fine Art, History, Science, and Museums prepares me well for the research, preservation, and care of artifacts. Working as a printmaker for several years in Oregon, making copper plate etchings, gives me an understanding of the craft of art disciplines. I look forward to continuing working in Collections as a Registrar as I have been volunteering in Collections and the Gallery for the past several years.”
Administrator & Events Coordinator
Cindy Taylor returns to our team in a new role, building on her years of experience as the museum’s Finance Manager. As Administrator of the Museum, she’ll help keep things humming in the back office. But her exceptional work organizing events like our popular “Top Drink” festival led us to recruit her for a return engagement serving front and center as coordinator of our own events, opening and celebrations, as well as museum rentals. Cindy is a graduate of Napa Valley College and lives in Napa.
Gone, but not forgotten.
Tom Ewing was our much-cherished Facilities Manager, who kept things running smoothly, particularly our pesky pond pump, on which he lavished much attention. He was himself a gifted artist and photographer, but was mechanically minded such that he could repair practically anything at the Museum. He also collected and restored vintage trucks – you may have seen him around town driving his 1948 F1 Ford. Tom lived nearby in Yountville. He retired from us in 2021 and passed away on December 16, 2021.