Staff

We look forward to seeing you at the Museum!

Laura Rafaty
Executive Director
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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
Operations Director
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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. 

 

 

 

 

Jonathan “JON” Fetzer
Museum Gallery & Store Manager
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Jonathan “JON” Fetzer leads our gallery team as Museum Gallery & Store Manager. JON is a multi-disciplinary visual artist. musician and producer who received his B.A. in Music Industry Business. A local guy who attended New Tech High, he has worked in several talent agencies as well as a Box Office and House Manager for the Blue Note in Napa. As a musician, he has worked at many festivals and events, and his work earned a feature in the Napa RegisterHe recently garnered even more fans at SXSW Online tonight – the virtual version of this prestigious and popular festival. Please come say Hi to JON at our front desk when you next visit our galleries and our Museum Store.

 

 

 

 

Kathleen Stewart
Registrar
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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.”

 

 

 

Dawson Dillard
Museum Gallery Assistant
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Dawson Dillard, Gallery Assistant, recently moved to Napa Valley from Nevada and as he was exploring the area, he ended up visiting the museum. He had a great time and bought a very stylish pair of modern artwork socks. We had an opening for a gallery assistant and the rest was kismet. He has experience in retail sales, fulfillment, and fine art framing. He’s also looking forward to studying the art of mixology. In his spare time, he enjoys photography, with a primary focus on cars. He has a keen appreciation for art and loves meeting new people.

 

 

 

 

Cindy Taylor
Administrator & Events Coordinator
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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
Facilities Manager

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.