California - Napa: Hatt Mill Building - Ars Longa Vita Brevis
Ars Longa Vita Brevis (Life is Brief But Art Endures) is a series of mosaics at the Hatt Mill Building, designed by Napa artist Alan Shepp.
The upper fountain mosaic reflects the Napa Valley's role in the epic of the American West, capturing the essence of the whole Napa Valley story, its glories and its tragedies. The lower fountain mosaic reflects the flora and fauna living in the Napa River. The several varieties of fish and fowl survive within the environs of sunken boats, wagon wheels and other vestiges of land based civilization.
The circular mosaics on the plaza depict some of the native fish, fauna and animals living in the Napa river or its riparian habitat. The mosaics located on the Riverbend Plaza reflect the map of the downtown reach of the Napa River and native animals inhabiting its banks.
The Hatt Mill Building, also known as the Napa Milling Building, located at a bend in the Napa River at 500 Main Street, was built by Captain Albert Hatt, a German sailor and Napa merchant, over 40 years with bricks made from Napa River clay. The original 1884 building was used as a warehouse and for the sale of merchandise. The second floor housed a roller-skating rink. The 1886 two-story addition was designated a U.S. government bonded warehouse for the storage of spirits and wines. The second floor contains Hatt Hall, a meeting place for secret socieities and alter used as a National Guard Armory and for social events.
In 1912, the Keig family converted the complex to the Napa Mill, a regional granary, mill and purveyor of agricultural supplies. Restoration began in 1995 and is today occupied by the Napa River Inn, the first luxury hotel in downtown Napa and the Hatt Market, which includes restaurants, cafes and shops.
National Register #77000316 (1977)