.Visual Vino: Petaluma Arts Center pairs art and wine

Reminding that “art” and “artisanal” share some etymological DNA, the Petaluma Arts Center (PAC) has embarked on a new effort that’s a feast for the senses.

Raising a glass (literally) to its 15th anniversary, the center and Petaluma’s Barber Cellars present a monthly Artist Wine Label Series, featuring visual works by PAC member artists adorning the vessels of the winemakers’ flagship varietals.

The project serves as both a fundraiser for the center, as well as a reminder that Petaluma has embraced its identity as the gateway to wine country (long-known as an advocate for both, permit me to disclose that recently I joined another local media colleague as a member of the center’s board).

The original artwork and line of limited edition labeled bottles are available exclusively via monthly online auctions through 2023, with the proceeds benefiting the center’s myriad community art programs.

“I am thrilled to launch this historic collaboration with Barber Cellars, a perfect pairing of art and wine and a showcase for creative catalysts all around us,” says Carin Jacobs, PAC executive director. “What an ideal kickoff to PAC’s anniversary year and a documentation of local artisanal talent.”

CHEERS Petaluma Arts Center executive director Carin Jacobs, left, and artist Lisa Lightman toast the launch of the wine label project at Barber Cellars.

The first artist featured is Lisa Lightman, whose abstract “Botanical Fourteen” (oil, oil stick, collage on paper) captures the verdant spirit of local flora and pairs well with the dry-farmed, organically grown zinfandel from the Barbers’ own estate.

Lightman’s original, framed painting, as well as a bottle of the “Mr. Beast” 2020 Zinfandel featuring the work on its label signed by the artist, is now available in a collectible package at petalumaartscenter.org/wine-label-auction. The auction concludes on Jan. 30.

Her work, which Lightman donated to the project, is on view at Barber Cellars Tasting Room, 112 Washington St., Petaluma, through January. Meanwhile, single bottles and cases of the collectible wine edition can be purchased online through Barber Cellars later in January at barbercellars.com.

“Having moved to Petaluma two years ago, I still consider myself a newcomer,” said Lightman, who was previously in San Francisco, where she was the director of community programs for San Francisco Superior Court. She began making art in earnest in her 30s while taking adult education classes, which helped her discover her expressive aesthetic.

“One class changed everything,” she recalls in her artist bio. “Draw whatever you want, however you want. I leaned toward abstraction. It was liberating to make art that was generated by the myriad of emotions that floated on the surface of my life at that time.”

Since then, her art has “evolved slowly,” but her presence in the community has emerged relatively quickly—she recently became both PAC artist member and board member.

“The willingness to see colors and shapes in a landscape or on a kitchen counter, or feel a mood or emotion, all rendered through paints, pencils and other materials, are only a few of the infinite filters that land on the surface,” writes Lightman in her bio. “I understand that each mark or color choice, or the final painting, is recognized as a moment in time not to be matched by any other moment in time.”

It’s perhaps the relationship of Lightman’s work to time that fostered her selection as the wine label project’s inaugural artist—wine, after all, is time in a bottle. And like art, it likewise appreciates with time but can be appreciated any time.

“My primary pull, as an artist, is to leave an emotional mark, an image or shape that is mysterious and curious, brings joy and beauty,” said Lightman. “I create art that generates, for me, a feeling of wonder and awe, not unlike life itself.”

She adds, “This collaboration, a positive project for all involved, brings me closer to the community I now call home.”

For more information, visit petalumaartscenter.org.

Daedalus Howellhttps://daedalushowell.com
Daedalus Howell is the editor of the North Bay Bohemian, Pacific Sun and The Healdsburg Tribune. He blogs independently at Daedalus Howell Wrote Here (link in bio).


  1. I love this artwork and it works well as a wine label. Cheers to the Petaluma Art Center!

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