Sacramento concluded its third annual mural festival this weekend and left with it a new trail of colors and artistic creations throughout the city.
The brain child of David Sobon, Wide Open Walls was created with the intent of uniting the community through the celebration of art. The 10-day event brought together local, national, and international artists tasked with painting large murals on Sacramento’s skyline, alley, and street-side buildings in the Midtown and Greater Sacramento areas.
According to their website, Wide Open Walls aims to create public art that “encourages a sense of pride and identity; provides community gathering spaces; generates impactful, measurable economic growth for our region; and promotes greater cultural understanding and appreciation amongst diverse groups.”
Perhaps the most notable part of the festival is its ambition. From August 9-19, 45 artists painted 35 murals in the triple digits Sacramento heat. The previous year brought local artists like Raphael Delgado, who created a towering and unique rendition of the golden state bear, and international muralists and street artists like Phlegm.
As impressive as 2017 was, the 2018 roster managed to rival it.
China-based artist Lin Fei Fei, Los Angeles artist Camille Rose Garcia, and the Mexico-based artist Paola Delfin came together to plaster four different walls of one of Sacramento’s newest music venues the Holy Diver. Local tattooer Brent Patten, who can be found tattooing his artwork at Forever Tattoo, created a Sacramento tribute mural on So-Cal Speed Shop in North Sacramento.
And it’s hard to drive across 16th Street now without catching a glimpse of Obey creator Shepard Fairey’s addition to the Sacramento art scene: a 15-story mural of Johnny Cash’s 1968 performance at Folsom Prison. Shepard Fairey is currently working closely with American Civics to bring attention to incarceration reform and hopes the mural will inspire new conversation around the issue.
This year’s Wide Open Walls festival celebrated art with more than just murals. The opening block party hosted in North Sacramento brought in Del Paso vendors selling snacks, craft cocktails, jewelry, and their own art pieces while numerous local bands took the stage. The week was brought to a finale with another block party right in the heart of Downtown Sacramento, just a block from the Capitol grounds. Local Johnny Cash-tribute band Cash Prophets and multi-talented artist The Philharmonik opened to a roaring crowd while Christian Martin and Shepard Fairey played original DJ sets.
Wide Open Walls plans to host the festival again next August. Until then, take a stroll through midtown and see the city of murals or peek into some local galleries and find some smaller-scale yet no less significant pieces from the artists themselves.
For maps identifying mural locations and walking/biking tours available for Sacramentans and tourists alike, visit wow916.com/map. And check out all the Instagram buzz at #wideopenwalls916 and @wideopenwalls.