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Alan Shepp's Mosaic Fountain

The Stunning Ars Longa Vita Brevis


Local multimedia artist Alan Shepp creates large-scale sculpture and public art that has been exhibited from Italy to Singapore, Egypt, England, Israel and throughout the U.S.

His stunning Ars Longa Vita Brevis (Life is Brief But Art Endures), a beautiful tile fountain on Riverbend Plaza behind the historic brick structures of Napa River Inn, draws visitors from around the world.

The fountain's vibrant vitreous-glass mosaic illustrates the history of Napa County, from homesteaders and plows bringing fruit to market to the Hispanic, American and Chinese laborers key to the area's development. A waterfall tumbles over depictions of the Napa River's inhabitants, including salmon, turtles, a beaver and sunken boats, and tiles known as The Living River flow from the fountain throughout the plaza.

The fountain is particularly spectacular at night, when the tiles twinkle with reflective light and give it a completely different look than daylight does. Day or night, it makes for a lovely stop along the Napa River Trail - the perfect place to see some of the flora and fauna depicted in the fountain.

Like what you see? Shepp's commissions can be found in many northern California locales. He and his wife Diane, also an artist, keep their studio right in Napa.