Whilst Sonoma County can’t get its SMART train to budge (the Sonoma Marin Area Rail Transit initiative remains something of a ghost train having failed to meet its 2016 launch date), the Napa Valley Wine Train continues to chug along (yes, that’s a double entendre) – and now it’s even more RAD thanks to a local arts initiative.

Albeit, “RAD” is a relative notion – or at least an acronym – in this case. The venerable Wine Train has partnered with the Napa Valley Vine Trail and members of the local arts community to create the valley’s first art district, known as the Rail Arts District Napa. Or, RAD Napa, which is a boon since Napa technically hasn’t been “rad” since the 80s, when its last skater uttered the phrase “Napa is totally radical, dude.”

With an initial fund of $100,000 contributed by the Napa Valley Wine Train and Napa Valley Vine Trail, RAD Napa is improving the “Cross Town Commuter Path” in the heart of downtown Napa by adding a variety of murals, sculptures, and landscaping along a 1.7 mile section of this trail that runs parallel to the Napa Valley Wine Train tracks. There will also be a Napa Community Quake Mosaic, a public art installation that will honor and memorialize those affected by the earthquake that devastated the downtown in 2014.

“We are thrilled to partner with The Napa Valley Vine Trail and the community to be a part of Napa Valley’s first art district,” said Scott Goldie, a partner of Brooks Street, the company that owns Napa Valley Wine Train. “We look forward to supporting and adding momentum to this new artistic vision for downtown Napa.”

Internationally-recognized artists BEZT and Natalia Rak of Poland began the first mural on January 12, painting on the buildings of The Napa Valley Register and Napa Auto Parts.

“Adding art to the trail allows us to provide inspirational and experiential opportunities for members of the community,” said Chuck McMinn, the Napa Valley Vine Trail founder.  “This project will create a world-class art destination in Napa.”

As if the Hess Collection and di Rosa wasn’t enough. But, hey, at least McMinn’s on the right, er, track.

You can be too by attending the first meeting at the Napa Valley Wine Train station on Tuesday, January 31, 2017 from 5-7 p.m. to learn more and participate in developing the plans for the full 1.7 miles of the trail. Contact RAD Napa at info@radnapa.org, call the Napa Valley Vine Trail at (707) 252-3547, extension 500 or visit http://www.radnapa.org.

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