Rob Ceballos, Hess Art Museum Director

In the quiet that graces early mornings at the Hess Art Museum, you’ll often find Museum Director Rob Ceballos leading elementary kids on an art tour, listening closely as they innocently do what kids do, simply relating what they see, offering ideas about what an artist might have been thinking when facing a blank canvas.

With adults, it’s often a different experience. “I’m sometimes asked to explain, to relate what it all means,” he says. “Kids are not so timid. They are pure and wondrous, very insightful about art.”

After 25 years with Hess, child-like inspiration keeps things fresh for a Museum Director who is an artist himself.

Rob grew up in Napa, studying art at UC Davis. An interest in culinary arts led him to first join the Hess kitchen alongside the culinary team that provides hospitality for the winery’s trade partners. At a Napa art show featuring UC Davis students, Donald Hess encountered one of Rob’s paintings, purchased it, and was surprised to learn the artist was actually a Hess employee.

A move from kitchen to tasting room led Rob to eventually lead the Visitor Center as head of hospitality, and over time, it became clear he was uniquely qualified to oversee the museum. He provides training, educational programming and coordinates artist relationships. Rob also plays an integral role in maintaining the historic winery grounds and beautiful gardens.