Keep the ‘Valley’ in Sonoma Valley Museum of Art
EDITOR: I have followed with fascination the proposed plans to change the name of the Sonoma Valley Museum of Art (“Sonoma Museum to Drop ‘Valley’ from Name,” March 6.), or as it is also characterized as “rebranding.” As a lifelong artist and educator, as well as former board and exhibitions committee member, I feel a personal connection to the institution and its values expressed over the extraordinary life that it has had in our town so far.
To be clear, the Sonoma Valley Museum of Art indicates exactly where it is located and there should be no doubt about that. Any confusion that might have existed in mixing the Sonoma Valley Museum of Art and the Sonoma County Museum no longer exists as an argument, since the latter is now officially, “The Museums of Sonoma County.” Thus, an internet search will no longer confuse the two.
The strength of any museum is in its programming, not its name, and it is my belief that money on “rebranding” could be better focused on funding dynamic exhibits, curators and facilities maintenance. The general public is drawn to shows that pique their interest and have relevance to their lives.
We are fortunate to have considerable funding for the Art Rewards the Student program for all fourth and fifth graders, which involves every student in those grades and culminates in a yearly exhibit of their work which every family is invited to attend and has been ongoing for years. This program has positively impacted hundreds of families in our community.
I would take issue with last week’s letter (“The Only Way?” April 20) regarding the public polling for recognition of the museum’s existence. The cultural diversity of exhibits has touched all aspects of our community and generations of students from all of the Valley’s schools have exhibited there annually, as well as having visited numerous illuminating exhibits and classes. It would appear that any polling regarding museum awareness must have missed a large part of this demographic.
I am proud to have been a part of the museum – it is our window to a larger world of cultural enrichment. I look forward to its continued vitality in our community, and cast my opinion herewith for the retention of its current name. Art lives in Sonoma Valley!
What’s in a name? Everything!
EDITOR: Sonoma Valley Museum of Art’s mission is, “Building community through art” – it’s a wonderful, encompassing statement.
The sense of community and its participation is a great goal to strive for and achieve. One of the best examples of this has to be the first “Day of the Dead” exhibition at SVMA. The attendance was overwhelming and record-breaking, a beautiful thing to witness. The exhibit had brought all of Sonoma Valley together in a way that had never been seen before.
The name Sonoma Valley Museum of Art evokes exactly that: an inviting and welcoming message to all residents of the Valley.
Keep the name and build community. Thank you!
Manuel R. Merjil
Forest for the trees
EDITOR: The City of Sonoma invites everyone to help us celebrate Arbor Day in Sonoma on Friday, April 27, at 11 a.m., in the Plaza amphitheater. Sonoma Mayor Madolyn Agrimonti will welcome all, 1st District Supervisor Susan Gorin and state Senator Bill Dodd will also speak. Please join us for a day of speeches, awards, plantings, walks, music, poetry and song. This is a completely no cost event brought to you by the City of Sonoma Community Services and Environmental Commission. We are looking forward to seeing everyone there.