NAPA -- Arts Council Napa Valley and Visit Napa Valley, the county's official tourism promoter, formed a strategic partnership to establish the region as a "cultural destination."

As part of the agreement, effective July 1, Visit Napa Valley will take ownership and responsibility for day-to-day maintenance of, the cultural tourism website developed by the council in partnership with the tourism group and funding from county of Napa Special Projects Grants.

[caption id="attachment_48826" align="alignleft" width="180"] Clay Gregory[/caption]

"This move is smart for both organizations," said Clay Gregory, chief executive officer and president of Visit Napa Valley. "We have in-house digital marketing expertise, so taking on the day-to-day maintenance of makes sense. And as we continue to invest in marketing programs that help us achieve our vision of establishing the Napa Valley as a cultural destination to attract a very desirable demographic, we will have direct control of the website to ensure its success while also helping the search engine optimization of our main website,"

The council will consult on an ongoing basis to ensure content on the site accurately represents the region's cultural experience so it will be an effective planning tool for guests and locals interested in the arts. Visit Napa Valley's digital marketing team will manage technical aspects and marketing for the site.

Other elements of the agreement formalize the Art Council's role in co-producing Napa Valley Arts in April. It's a showcase of the arts in the region’s wineries. More than 75 Napa Valley wineries have art collections and exhibits available for public viewing year round and during April, special events and installations.

Both organizations also will continue to partner with the Napa Valley Museum to produce Napa Valley Collects, an annual exhibit featuring works from the area’s private collections.

"Formalizing our close, collaborative relationship with Visit Napa Valley in this agreement is a strategic move for Arts Council Napa Valley," said Olivia Everett, chief executive officer of the Arts Council. "Part of our mission is to promote cultural tourism to make our arts community more sustainable, and Visit Napa Valley has proven itself as a reliable, effective marketing partner for the arts."

Visit Napa Valley, which was instrumental in getting a countywide tourism business improvement district passed in 2010, operates on an annual budget of about $5 million. Much of it is generated from the district, a countywide area in which hotels pay a 2 percent assessment.

"This allows us to focus our internal resources on what we do best -- advocating for the arts in Napa County, connecting arts organizations with businesses for mutual benefit, and providing relevant, engaging content that tells the story that our region is worthy of extended cultural exploration," Ms. Everett said.

Although the formal agreement does not take effect for five more months, the two organizations already are actively partnering on developing Napa Valley Arts in April and Napa Valley Collects 2014, and in shaping the website to improve its performance.