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Arts In the City

Wide Open Walls: A Warm Engagement to Local Arts

Come Thursday, Sacramento’s vibrant art scene will project itself throughout the city as Wide Open Walls. Formerly known as Sacramento Mural Festival, this year’s celebration is being recognized as “the largest mural festival on the West Coast,” with more than 50 artists coming together between Aug. 10-20.

Presented by Visit Sacramento and produced by David Sobon, Wide Open Walls will feature more than 20 artists representing the Sacramento community. Additionally, artists from Spain, China, Italy, Germany, Russia and a few cities from across the United States will join the celebration.

As part of the festival’s expansion, this year’s murals will unravel beyond the city’s central grid, as Natomas, Del Paso Heights, the River District, Broadway, Oak Park, South Sacramento and Power Inn Road will each have a mural of its own. In addition, four local non-profit organizations will each have a mural of its own, bringing awareness to their respective cause.

Mike Testa, CEO of Visit Sacramento, believes Wide Open Walls will prove to be a mass visual example of the city’s potential to attract attention where it is due.

“Our arts community has flown under the radar,” said Testa. “And the reality is we’ve got some incredibly talented artists in this market, and we’ve seen that through Art Hotel and Art Street, and even smaller studios like Beatnik.”

Ultimately, Testa believes Sacramento has great restaurants, hotels and food, “but it’s art that really communicates the personality of a city.”

And for those individuals eager to engage with local artists in the mist of their craft, Wide Open Walls will provide the ideal situations to get personal.

From gallery openings, First Friday and Second Saturday celebrations, to artists’ receptions, panels and public mural tours, each day will offer a new opportunity to discover an artist’s work. With two official tours throughout the festival, bicyclists, runners and walkers will have a unique opportunity to explore the mural landscape in an active environment.

Each addition to the festival’s landscape provides an opportunity to discuss Sacramento’s narrative in a new light, a goal Testa and his team are eager to talk about.

“If you can bring them in for one thing, they’re going to be exposed to many things,” said Testa. “One of the great things, again, about the mural fest is that it will allow us to create these art tours that we haven’t had before, and while they’re here, they’re exposed to so many different pieces of Sacramento.”

For more information on Wide Open Walls, such as daily schedules, artists’ information and future updates, visit WOW916.com.

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About the author

Cesar Alexander

Cesar Alexander

Cesar Alexander is assistant editor for Sacramento Press. A native to California, he enjoys writing and discovering the varieties of art, live music, nature and everyday wonders Sacramento has to offer.

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